Seal of the Federal Trade Commission in downtown Washington, DC on December 26, 2014. (Shutterstock)
The acting heads of the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have sent joint notification letters to the nation’s largest apartment landlords, which collectively own more than 2 million units, reminding them of their obligations under the ongoing national eviction moratorium put in place as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The moratorium, which was recently extended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) until June 30, 2021, prohibits evictions in certain circumstances in order to keep people in their homes and prevent the spread of the disease.
“With millions of families nationwide at risk of eviction, it’s vital that landlords and the debt collectors who work on their behalf understand and abide by their obligations,” said Acting FTC Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter. “We are continuing to monitor this area and will act as needed to protect renters.”
“Landlords should ensure that [Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)]-covered debt collectors working on their behalf, which may include attorneys, notify tenants of their rights under federal law. Nearly nine million households are at risk of eviction due to the economic effects of COVID-19, but no one should lose their home without understanding their rights,” said CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio. “We will hold accountable debt collectors who move forward with illegal evictions.”
In the letter, FTC Acting Chairwoman Rebeca Kelly Slaughter and CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio urge landlords to make sure that they and their debt collectors are complying with the FTC Act and the FDCPA. The CFPB recently enacted an interim final rule requiring debt collectors to give tenants written notice of their rights under the CDC’s moratorium and prohibiting debt collectors from misrepresenting tenants’ eligibility for eviction protection. The letter outlines these requirements and provides sample language for notice to tenants facing eviction.
Acting Chairwoman Slaughter and Acting Director Uejio recently issued a joint statement making clear that the agencies are monitoring eviction practices for compliance with the law. The FTC also issued guidance about the moratorium for both landlords and tenants.