The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has issued an interim final rule supporting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s eviction moratorium.
The agency’s guidance requires debt collectors to provide written notice to tenants of their rights under the eviction moratorium and prohibits debt collectors from misrepresenting tenants’ eligibility for protection from eviction under the moratorium, authorities noted. The CDC established the eviction moratorium to protect the public health and reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Per the CFPB, debt collectors evicting tenants who may have rights under the moratorium without providing notice of the moratorium or misrepresent tenants’ rights under the moratorium can be prosecuted by federal agencies and state attorneys general for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Additionally, officials indicated violators are also subject to private lawsuits by tenants.
“With COVID-19 killing hundreds of Americans every day, kicking families out into the street during this pandemic may literally be a death sentence,” CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio said. “No one should be evicted from their home without understanding their rights, and we will hold accountable those debt collectors who move forward with illegal evictions. We encourage debt collectors to work with tenants and landlords to find solutions that work for everyone.”
The National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU) noted while the rule applies to third-party debt collectors, it could impact credit unions that work with third-party collectors. Last month, the CDC extended its Public Health Service Act order to cease residential evictions through June 30, as the CFPB and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced investigations into illegal eviction practices.