ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

January 14, 2021

During the U.S. House of Representatives’ debate on Tuesday, January 12, before a majority of that body voted to impeach the President for a second time, many legislators called for unity and an effort to move beyond the horror perpetrated by white terrorists at the U.S. Capitol. It is not time to move on. It will not be time to move on until the United States confronts its history of white supremacy. This country must acknowledge and correct the decades of discriminatory actions and policies that continue to keep our communities segregated and people of color in substandard housing at risk of eviction, foreclosure, and housing discrimination.

Our work toward overturning those actions and policies continues. Please join us.

Since the pandemic began on March 10, landlords have taken steps to move tenants out:

  • Landlords have filed 2,969 new summary process (eviction) cases in court.
  • Courts have issued 785 executions—Once a court issues an execution order, the landlord can hire a state marshal to remove the tenant and their belongings from the unit.

What’s happened since January 7, 2020:

Connecticut residents can register for an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine: At present, Connecticut residents 65 and over as well as people with high-risk health conditions, among others, qualify to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Appointments can be made on-line or by calling 860-972-4993 (Hartford HealthCare) or 860-679-4400 (UConn Health). Patients who are 65 and over along with other qualified residents will be seen regardless of whether they have ever used either health care system. No one will receive a vaccine unless they have an appointment. Vaccination clinics are currently being held in Wethersfield, Norwich, Shelton, and Hartford with more sites to be added soon.  For people who are not over the age of 65 or who do not have high-risk health conditions, it is still possible to register to receive notice when you become eligible for a vaccination.

EVICTIONS

Best practices for creating a new rental assistance program:  The National Low Income Housing Coalition has issued best practices for creating a new rental assistance program with the $237 million new rental assistance funding Connecticut is scheduled to receive. Among the recommendations are to create a simple and accessible application process, determine what emergency rental assistance will cover, determine landlord requirements, and identify and partner with key organizations to get the word out about the program.

The public costs of COVID-19 related evictions could top $1.2 billion in Connecticut: The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates that the public costs of eviction related homelessness could go as high as $1.2 billion or as low as $628 million. The public costs of eviction related homelessness include shelter costs, inpatient medical care, and hospital emergency department costs among others.

Connecticut Right to Counsel: In late December, a petition was launched by Central CT DSA that calls on Connecticut legislators to propose and pass Right to Counsel legislation guaranteeing the right to no-cost legal counsel to all residential tenants facing eviction proceedings. In its first 10 days, the petition received over 500 signatures, with the campaign now including 23 endorsing organizations, including the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel, the CT AFL-CIO, the Connecticut Legal Rights Project, and the Connecticut Fair Housing Center. Watch the launch event here. Read, sign and share the petition here.

The Governor extended Connecticut’s eviction moratorium to February 9, 2021: Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 9T extending Connecticut’s eviction moratorium to February 9, 2021, the day the Governor’s emergency powers are set to expire. Landlords are only permitted to start an eviction action if a tenant:

a) owes rent that was due on or before February 29, 2020;

b) owes six or more months’ worth of rent that was due on or after March 1, 2020;

c) created a serious nuisance; or

d) has a lease that expired and the landlord has a bona fide intention to use the unit as the landlord’s primary residence;

Congress extended federal CDC eviction moratorium through January 31: The CDC has extended the federal moratorium on evictions though January 31, 2021. Tenants not covered by the Connecticut moratorium may still qualify for the federal CDC moratorium if they cannot pay their full rent or other housing payments because someone in their household lost income or has very expensive out-of-pocket medical bills. However, the CDC moratorium’s protection is not automatic. To invoke the protection of the CDC moratorium, all the adults in the household must complete and sign CDC declarations and give them to the landlord. Tenants should begin by carefully reading the CDC moratorium’s eligibility requirements. If every person over 18 in the household meets the requirements, then each of those people should fill out a CDC declaration and give it to the landlord. There are also two online platforms that can help tenants sign the declaration electronically and email it to their landlord. If the tenant already has an eviction court case, the tenant should also give copies of the declarations to the court. A summary of both the Connecticut and CDC moratoriums is available in English and Spanish.

Responding to Eviction Papers: Tenants should not ignore eviction papers, filing deadlines, or notices about remote court events. Courts are entering Default Judgments against tenants who fail to file forms on time or attend remote court events. Once a Default Judgment is entered against a tenant, the landlord can ask the court for an execution. An execution gives the landlord permission to hire a marshal to remove the tenant. Learn more about the eviction court process.

Remote Court Dates: Courts are scheduling remote trials, hearings, and mediations. Tenants should receive a notice from the court when a court date is scheduled. Tenants can also confirm if they have an upcoming court date by looking up their case on the Judicial website or contact the clerk’s office. Once on their case page, they can also sign up for email alerts about their case. If a court date is scheduled, tenants must attend either by video or phone—even if they have already given their landlord a CDC declaration. Tenant should make sure to send their email address and phone number to the email address listed on the court notice so that the court can send them a link to join the meeting via video or phone.

Rental assistance for people without legal status: The State’s rental assistance program for people without legal status is still open. To access this assistance, tenants should contact Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI) at 1-203-612-5464 or rentalassist@cirict.org. More program information is available here, and a Spanish-language webinar is available here

Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program over: On December 3, 2020 DOH closed the TRHAP program. If you or someone you know was pre-qualified for the program and have not completed a full application, email trhapinfo@ct.gov to determine what you should do next. If you were pre-qualified for the program but you have not completed a full application, and your landlord is still threatening you with eviction, write to trhapinfo@ct.gov.

211: Additional government assistance may be available through programs administered by local organizations and municipalities. Tenants may call 2-1-1 to confirm what rent and housing assistance is available in their area.

Researchers estimate 1,500 deaths and 17,000 infections were prevented by Connecticut’s eviction moratorium: The researchers who authored two recent studies that evaluated the effect  of the pandemic on tenants have applied their research to infection rates in states with eviction moratoria. The eviction moratorium in place between March and September in Connecticut which prohibited most landlords from doing anything to begin an eviction case is estimated to have saved 1,500 lives and prevented approximately 17,000 coronavirus infections.

MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE

HUD, USDA, VA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac extend foreclosure moratorium:  HUD has extended the foreclosure moratorium for FHA loans through February 28, 2021. The moratorium prohibits lenders from filing foreclosure actions or moving foreclosures forward that have already been filed. The USDA and the VA have taken similar steps to extend their moratoria through February 28, 2021. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have extended their foreclosure moratoria through January 31, 2021. The moratoriums do not apply to properties that are vacant or abandoned.

No foreclosure moratorium on mortgages that are not “federally-backed” or non-mortgage foreclosures: Homeowners whose mortgages are not “federally-backed” or who owe condominium fees, real estate taxes, or other real estate related taxes are not protected from foreclosure. See our website for more information.

Homeowners have until February 28, 2021 to request a forbearance on FHA and USDA loans—Homeowners can still request forbearances if they are unable to pay the mortgage as the result of a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ability to request a forbearance ends on February 28, 2021.

Judicial Branch is scheduling remote hearings in foreclosure cases:  Since the week of September 14, the Judicial Branch has been scheduling hearings in foreclosure cases where an execution has been requested, a hearing or status conference if necessary, and, in some circumstances, where the foreclosure has not proceeded as quickly as the court would like. If a hearing has been scheduled, the homeowner is supposed to receive notice from court staff providing instructions on how to participate in a remote hearing either by video or phone. On December 17, 2020, the Center sent the Judicial Branch a letter reporting that self-represented parties in some larger judicial districts were being provided with only a few days’ notice by regular mail – for instance, being mailed a letter on Friday of a Monday morning hearing. The Judicial Branch recently reported that self-represented parties should now be receiving two weeks’ notice of any remote hearing.

Affidavit required for foreclosure filings:  On September 24, the Judicial Branch issued a Standing Order that prohibits any foreclosure action from being filed or moving forward unless the bank or mortgage company files an affidavit stating that the loan is not a federally backed mortgage, is vacant, or is not in forbearance. If the affidavit is not filed with the Court, then the case may be dismissed.

What should homeowners do?

Foreclosure advice: The Center is holding Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions. Homeowners facing foreclosure can sign up for advice sessions over video or phone, and get some individualized questions answered in a way that they could at our in-person clinics or through the Judicial Branch’s Volunteer Attorney Program that we regularly staff during non-pandemic times. The program has been used by dozens of homeowners from across the state since it began last summer. Homeowners can sign up, answer a few short questions, and be set up with an appointment. These Sessions are in addition to the considerable number of videos and materials available at www.ctfairhousing.org

T-MAP program is shut down:  The T-MAP program is no longer accepting applications.

UTILITIES

Utilities must continue to offer payment plans to customers:  Utilities must now extend the availability of the 24-month COVID-19 payment plans until February 9, 2021. Any customer can call their utility company to set up a payment arrangement. COVID-19 payment plans are:

  • Available to any customer requesting financial assistance, without demonstrating financial need;
  • Require no initial or down payment;
  • Can be up to 24 months in length;
  • No fees or interest in the calculation of the monthly payment amount;
  • Facilitate the repayment of past due balances in addition to the customer’s current monthly bill.

Importantly, any customer enrolled in a COVID-19 Payment Plan who is current with their payment terms cannot be disconnected even after the shut-off moratoriums have concluded.

Outreach:

  • Public Official Outreach: Center staff continue to participate in Facebook Live, community Zoom meetings, and tele-townhalls with legislative officials. If you would like our assistance reaching your constituency, please contact our outreach coordinator rrattray@ctfairhousing.org
  • Staff continue to hold fair housing trainings and COVID-19 eviction and foreclosure prevention resource workshops via Zoom with social service agencies, direct service providers, community groups, and invested stakeholders. If your agency would find a short resource webinar or fair housing training helpful during this crisis please contact Rashida Rattray, the Center’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, at rrattray@ctfairhousing.org

Resources for tenants and homeowners:

More COVID-19 resources can be found on our website.

VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR FAIR HOUSING RIGHTS IN ENGLISH, SPANISH, MANDARIN, VIETNAMESE, FARSI, RUSSIAN, ITALIAN, KREYOL, ARABIC, KHMER, AND TAGALOG.

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

January 7, 2021

Yesterday’s images from Washington shook many of us. A sitting President urged his followers to storm the place where a peaceful transfer of power was taking place. This assault on democracy is something that happens somewhere else in the world, but it should not happen here. Many staff at the Center contrasted the armed and helmeted police who used tear gas and violence to intimidate, injure, and arrest Black Lives Matters protesters in May, with the selfie-taking, lax, and limited response by law enforcement to yesterday’s violent terrorists. The day made clear that white privilege extends to people who want to overturn a fair election, but not people who want to protest the killing of Black men, women, and children.

When the new year began, there was hope that 2021 would be different. Our work to make that difference begins right now. Please join the Center in our efforts.

Since the pandemic began on March 10, landlords have taken steps to move tenants out:

  • Landlords have filed 2,866 new summary process (eviction) cases in court.
  • Courts have issued 674 executions—Once a court issues an execution order, the landlord can hire a state marshal to remove the tenant and their belongings from the unit.

What happened since December 22, 2020:

The Governor extended Connecticut’s eviction moratorium to February 9, 2021: Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 9T extending Connecticut’s eviction moratorium to February 9, 2021, the day the Governor’s emergency powers are set to expire. Landlords are only permitted to start an eviction action if a tenant:

a) owes rent that was due on or before February 29, 2020;

b) owes six or more months’ worth of rent that was due on or after March 1, 2020;

c) created a serious nuisance; or

d) has a lease that expired and the landlord has a bona fide intention to use the unit as the landlord’s primary residence;

Congress extended federal CDC eviction moratorium until January 31: The CDC has extended the federal moratorium on evictions until January 31, 2021. To invoke the protection of the CDC moratorium, tenants must complete and sign a declaration and give a copy to their landlord. that the declaration now states that the moratorium expires January 31 and includes the following new language: “Even if you have provided a declaration to your landlord, the Order does not prevent your landlord from seeking a hearing, if authorized by State or local law and in accordance with State or local court procedure, to challenge the truthfulness of your declaration.”

What should tenants do?

Tenants may not be covered by the Connecticut moratorium for various reasons, including that

  • their landlord filed an eviction case before the Connecticut moratorium began on April 10, 2020;
  • (2) they owe rent that was due on or before February 29, 2020;
  • (3) they owe six or more months’ worth of rent due on or after March 1, 2020; or
  • (4) their lease has expired and the landlord has a bona fide intention to use the unit as the landlord’s primary residence.
  • CDC Moratorium: Tenants not covered by the Connecticut moratorium may still qualify for the federal CDC moratorium if they cannot pay their full rent or other housing payments because someone in their household lost income or has very expensive out-of-pocket medical bills. However, the CDC moratorium’s protection is not automatic, and it only extends through January 31, 2020. Tenants should begin by carefully reading the requirements a tenant must meet to qualify for the CDC moratorium. If every person over 18 in the household meets the requirements, then each of those people should fill out a CDC declaration and give each declaration to the landlord. There are also two online platforms that can help tenants sign the declaration electronically and email it to their landlord. If the tenant already has an eviction court case, the tenant should also give copies of the declarations to the court. A summary of both the Connecticut and CDC moratoriums is available in English and Spanish.
  • Remote Court Dates: Courts are scheduling remote trials, hearings, and mediations. Tenants should receive a notice from the court when a court date is scheduled. Tenants can also confirm if they have an upcoming court date by looking up their case on the Judicial website. Once on their case page, they can also sign up for email alerts about their case. If a court date is scheduled, tenants must attend either by video or phone—even if they have already given their landlord a CDC declaration. Tenant should make sure to send their email address and phone number to the email address listed on the court notice so that the court can send them a link to join the meeting via video or phone.
  • Responding to Eviction Papers: Tenants should not ignore eviction papers, filing deadlines, or notices about remote court events. Courts have begun entering Default Judgments against tenants who fail to file forms on time or attend remote court events. Once a Default Judgment is entered against a tenant, the landlord can ask the court for an execution. An execution gives the landlord permission to hire a marshal to remove the tenant. Learn more about the eviction court process.

TRHAP program over: On December 3, 2020 DOH closed the TRHAP program. If you or someone you know was pre-qualified for the program and have not completed a full application, email trhapinfo@ct.gov to determine what you should do next. If you were pre-qualified for the program but you have not completed a full application, and your landlord is still threatening you with eviction, write to trhapinfo@ct.gov.

Call to action successful:  On Tuesday, January 5, the Connecticut Fair Housing Center sponsored a call to action that asked the State Legislature and Governor Lamont to extend the eviction moratorium until the end of the pandemic and to provide additional rental relief in the form of payments of rental arrears and future rent obligations to tenants whose ability to pay rent has been affected by COVID-19. The Center’s website and Facebook page include all of the Center’s demands. Through its call to action, the Center reached 2,422 people on Facebook, had 4,301 Twitter impressions, and increased our website views by 192. Follow us on Facebook ctfairhousing or on Twitter @ctfairhousing for more information about the future of this effort.

Researchers estimate 1,500 deaths and 17,000 infections were prevented by Connecticut’s eviction moratorium: The researchers who authored two recent studies that evaluated the effect  of the pandemic on tenants have applied their research to infection rates in states with eviction moratoria. The eviction moratorium in place between March and September in Connecticut which prohibited most landlords from doing anything to begin an eviction case is estimated to have saved 1,500 lives and prevented approximately 17,000 coronavirus infections.

More than 66,000 evictions estimated for Connecticut in connection with COVID-19 pandemic:  The National Low Income Housing Coalition has complied information from several sources that have estimated the number of evictions each state can expect as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. From a low of 66,273 estimated by the Federal Reserve to a high of 133,000 estimated by Stout Risius Ross, a global consulting firm, Connecticut is expected to triple the number of eviction filings compared to previous yearly totals.

211: Additional government assistance may be available through programs administered by local organizations and municipalities. Tenants may call 2-1-1 to confirm what rent and housing assistance is available in their area.

Mortgage Foreclosure

HUD, USDA, VA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac extend foreclosure moratorium:  HUD has extended the foreclosure moratorium for FHA loans through February 28, 2021. The moratorium prohibits lenders from filing foreclosure actions or moving foreclosures forward that have already been filed. The USDA and the VA have taken similar steps to extend their moratoriums through February 28, 2021. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have extended their foreclosure moratoriums through January 31, 2021. The moratoriums do not apply to properties that are vacant or abandoned.

No foreclosure moratorium on mortgages that are not “federally-backed” or non-mortgage foreclosures: On the other hand, homeowners whose mortgages are not “federally-backed” or who owe condominium fees, real estate taxes, or other real estate related taxes are not protected from foreclosure. See our website for more information.

Homeowners have until February 28, 2021 to request a forbearance on FHA and USDA loansHomeowners can still request forbearances if they have a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ability to request a forbearance ends on February 28, 2021.

Judicial Branch is scheduling remote hearings in foreclosure cases:  Since the week of September 14, the Judicial Branch has been scheduling hearings in foreclosure cases where an execution has been requested, a hearing or status conference if necessary, and, in some circumstances, where the foreclosure has not proceeded as quickly as the court would like. If a hearing has been scheduled, the homeowner is supposed to receive notice from court staff providing instructions on how to participate in a remote hearing either by video or phone. In some Judicial Districts, courts are providing only a few days’ notice to homeowners of a foreclosure judgment hearing. On December 17, 2020, the Center sent the Judicial Branch a letter asking that self-represented parties be provided at least one week actual notice prior to any remote hearing. The Judicial Branch is investigating the problems with notice raised by the Center.

Affidavit required for foreclosure filings:  On September 24, the Judicial Branch issued a Standing Order that prohibits any foreclosure action from being filed or moving forward unless the bank or mortgage company files an affidavit stating that the loan is not a federally backed mortgage, is vacant, or is not in forbearance. If the affidavit is not filed with the Court, then the case may be dismissed.

What should homeowners do?

Foreclosure advice: The Center is holding Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions. Homeowners facing foreclosure can sign up for advice sessions over video or phone, and get some individualized questions answered in a way that they could at our in-person clinics or through the Judicial Branch’s Volunteer Attorney Program that we regularly staff during non-pandemic times. The program has been used by dozens of homeowners from across the state since it began this summer. Homeowners can sign up, answer a few short questions, and be set up with an appointment. These Sessions are in addition to the considerable number of videos and materials available at www.ctfairhousing.org.

T-MAP program is shut down:  https://www.chfa.org/homeowners/state-of-connecticut-temporary-mortgage-assistance-program-t-map/

Black homeowners face delays in getting home insurance claims paid: Black homeowners attempting to use homeowners insurance for repairs to their homes report facing delays in receiving compensation. Many say their claims are significantly discounted while white homeowners are able to get their claims approved quickly. Contractors report seeing differential treatment between Black and white homeowners. However, claims of differential treatment are difficult to prove because insurance companies are not required to give a reason for a denial and do not reveal information about denial rates.

Utilities must continue to offer payment plans to customers:  Utilities must now extend the availability of the 24-month COVID-19 payment plans until February 9, 2021. Any customer can call their utility company to set up a payment arrangement. COVID-19 payment plans are:

Importantly, any customer enrolled in a COVID-19 Payment Plan who is current with their payment terms cannot be disconnected even after the shut-off moratoriums have concluded.

We have heard of the following issues: 

  • Court mediators in summary process eviction cases have scrutinized Notices to Quit to ensure that they have the required CDC declaration information;
  • Tenants infected with COVID-19 face being forced out of isolation through their landlords use of a court-issued execution.
  • Local health departments believe they have no ability to do anything to stop the spread of the virus in an eviction case;
  • The attorney for the State Marshal Commission believes that they cannot stop an eviction that has been authorized by a court even if the eviction would spread COVID-19;
  • State marshals report they have removed tenants who are COVID+ from their homes;
  • A state marshal reports that he did not know about the CDC declaration;
  • Clerks’ offices do not allow self-represented tenants to file emergency applications with the court electronically, even if the tenant has COVID-19;
  • Attorneys and tenants are experiencing wait times of over half an hour when they call Superior Court Clerks’ Offices;
  • Landlords and tenants report that they did not know about the TRHAP program, which is now closed until at least December 31;
  • Tenants participating in remote mediations are agreeing to stipulated judgments they do not understand because they cannot read the written agreement on their phones;
  • Tenants who are unable to access the Teams platform used for remote hearings and mediations can only participate by audio;
  • Tenants who are only able to participate by audio are not able to see what is happening and do not know what to do once they connect;
  • Tenants who do not have access to a phone or computer are not given an in-person option, so they are unable to attend.
  • Tenants do not know how to install the Teams app;
  • Tenants do not have enough space on their phones to download the Teams app;
  • Downloading the Teams app takes a very long time, and often the program closes before the full download occurs;
  • Tenants are given only 5 days’ notice of a remote hearing;
  • Tenants are not receiving mail in a timely manner, so they only receive notice of the hearing after they’ve already missed it;
  • Hearing and mediation notices are not translated for people with limited English proficiency;
  • Tenants receive notice of the remote hearing, but the notice does not include the date and time of the hearing;
  • Tenants who receive notice of hearings and mediations do not understand that they must give the court their email address to receive access to the hearing;
  • Tenants in receipt of a court event notice send in their email address as instructed but never receive an email with the link to link to join the meeting via video or phone;
  • Hearing notice emails that include the phrase “do not delete” are deleted once the hearing is accepted;
  • Judges are not asking court personnel if tenants were ever contacted by the Court regarding notice of the hearing;
  • Judges are not determining if the landlord has received a CDC declaration;
  • Mediators are not determining if the landlord has received a CDC declaration;
  • Tenants who have given their landlord a CDC declaration are challenged by landlords who say the declaration is untruthful;
  • When an attorney for the landlord did not show up, the Court called him and allowed him to join the remote hearing late. No calls are made to tenants who do not appear on time;
  • Some marshals refuse to let lawyers and tenants into courthouses to file documents;
  • Some courts fail to provide a means for lawyers and the public to observe hearings.

Outreach:

  • Center staff continue to participate in Facebook Live, community Zoom meetings, and tele-townhalls with legislative officials. If you would like our assistance reaching your constituency, please contact our outreach coordinator rrattray@ctfairhousing.org.
  • Staff continue to hold fair housing trainings and COVID-19 eviction and foreclosure prevention resource workshops via Zoom with social service agencies, direct service providers, community groups, and invested stakeholders. If your agency would find a short resource webinar or fair housing training helpful during this crisis please contact Rashida Rattray, the Center’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, at rrattray@ctfairhousing.org

Resources for tenants and homeowners:

More COVID-19 resources can be found on our website.

VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR FAIR HOUSING RIGHTS IN ENGLISH, SPANISH, MANDARIN, VIETNAMESE, FARSI, RUSSIAN, ITALIAN, KREYOL, ARABIC, KHMER, AND TAGALOG.

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

December 23, 2020

Since the pandemic began on March 10, landlords have taken steps to move tenants out:

  • Landlords have filed 2,639 new summary process (eviction) cases in court.
  • Courts have issued 646 executions—Once a court issues an execution order, the landlord can hire a state marshal to remove the tenant and their belongings from the unit.

What happened since December 17, 2020:

The Governor extended Connecticut’s eviction moratorium to February 9, 2021: According to reports in the Hartford Courant and Connecticut Mirror, Connecticut’s eviction moratorium has been extended to February 9, 2021, the day the Governor’s emergency powers are set to expire. The Emergency Order has not been published yet, but it is expected to include all the current exceptions. Currently, landlords are permitted to start an eviction action if a tenant:

a) owes rent that was due on or before February 29, 2020;

b) owes six or more months’ worth of rent that was due on or after March 1, 2020;

c) created a serious nuisance; or

d) has a lease that expired, and the landlord has a bona fide intention to use the unit as the landlord’s primary residence;

Congress extends federal CDC eviction moratorium until January 31: On December 21, both houses of Congress passed a new economic stimulus package that extended the CDC’s federal eviction moratorium to January 31. In addition, the stimulus bill contains emergency housing assistance including:

  • $25 billion for emergency rental assistance. Connecticut is expected to get approximately $237 million;
  • The emergency rental assistance funds can be used for both rental arrears, future rent, and utility payments;
  • The assistance can be for 12 months, although funds can only be given in 3 month increments;
  • 10% of the rental assistance funds (about $20 million for Connecticut) can be used for case management or other services which keep a family stably housed.

Advocates Request Courts Stay Executions: Because of the grave effects of evicting tenants and former homeowners from their homes in the middle of a second COVID-19 spike, the Center joined with the Housing Clinic at Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization, part of Yale Law School, to ask the Judicial Branch to stay post-foreclosure and post-eviction executions –physical removals from home – through February 9, the current end of the Governor’s emergency powers. The Judicial Branch has not yet responded.

Researchers estimate 1,500 deaths and 17,000 infections were prevented by Connecticut’s eviction moratorium: The researchers who authored two recent studies that evaluated the effect  of the pandemic on tenants have applied their research to infection rates in states with eviction moratoria. The eviction moratorium in place between March and September in Connecticut which prohibited most landlords from doing anything to begin an eviction case is estimated to have saved 1,500 lives and prevented approximately 17,000 coronavirus infections.

TRHAP program closed: On December 3, DOH closed the TRHAP program to new applications from tenants and landlords in need of assistance. It is not expected to open again before December 31, 2020.

What should tenants do?

Tenants may not be covered by the Connecticut moratorium for various reasons, including that (1) their landlord filed an eviction case before the Connecticut moratorium began on April 10, 2020; (2) they owe rent that was due on or before February 29, 2020; (3) they owe six or more months’ worth of rent due on or after March 1, 2020; or (4) their lease has expired and the landlord has a bona fide intention to use the unit as the landlord’s primary residence.

  • CDC Moratorium: Tenants not covered by the Connecticut moratorium may still qualify for the federal CDC moratorium if they cannot pay their full rent or other housing payments because someone in their household lost income or has very expensive out-of-pocket medical bills. However, the CDC moratorium’s protection is not automatic, and it only extends through January 31, 2020. Tenants should begin by carefully reading the requirements a tenant must meet to qualify for the CDC moratorium. If every person over 18 in the household meets the requirements, then each of those people should fill out a CDC declaration and give each declaration to the landlord. There are also online platforms here and here that can help tenants sign the declaration electronically and email it to their landlord. If the tenant already has an eviction court case, the tenant should also give copies of the declarations to the court. A summary of both the Connecticut and CDC moratoriums is available in English and Spanish here.
  • Remote Court Dates: Courts are scheduling remote trials, hearings, and mediations. Tenants should receive a notice from the court when a court date is scheduled. Tenants can also confirm if they have an upcoming court date by looking up their case on the Judicial website. Once on their case page, they can also sign up for email alerts about their case. If a court date is scheduled, tenants must attend either by video or phone—even if they have already given their landlord a CDC declaration. Tenant should make sure to send their email address and phone number to the email address listed on the court notice so that the court can send them a link to join the meeting via video or phone.
  • Responding to Eviction Papers: Tenants should not ignore eviction papers, filing deadlines, or notices about remote court events. Courts have begun entering Default Judgments against tenants who fail to file forms on time or attend remote court events. Once a Default Judgment is entered against a tenant, the landlord can ask the court for an execution. An execution gives the landlord permission to hire a marshal to remove the tenant. Learn more about the eviction court process here.

Assistance for people without legal status: The State’s rental assistance program for people without legal status is still open. To access this assistance, tenants should contact Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI) at 1-203-612-5464 or rentalassist@cirict.org. More program information is available here, and a Spanish-language webinar is available here

211: Additional government assistance may be available through programs administered by local organizations and municipalities. Tenants may call 2-1-1 to confirm what rent and housing assistance is available in their area.

Mortgage Foreclosure

HUD, USDA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac extend foreclosure moratorium:  HUD has extended the foreclosure moratorium for FHA loans through February 28, 2021. The moratorium prohibits lenders from filing foreclosure actions or moving foreclosures forward that have already been filed. The USDA has taken a similar step to through February 28, 2021. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have extended their foreclosure moratoriums through January 31, 2021. The moratoriums do not apply to properties that are vacant or abandoned.

Homeowners have until February 28, 2021 to request a forbearance on FHA loans—Homeowners can still request forbearances if they are unable to pay the mortgage as the result of a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ability to request a forbearance ends on February 28, 2021.

Judicial Branch is scheduling remote hearings in foreclosure cases:  Since the week of September 14, the Judicial Branch has been scheduling hearings in foreclosure cases where an execution has been requested, a hearing or status conference if necessary, and, in some circumstances, where the foreclosure has not proceeded as quickly as the court would like. If a hearing has been scheduled, the homeowner is supposed to receive notice from court staff providing instructions on how to participate in a remote hearing either by video or phone. In some Judicial Districts, courts are providing only a few days’ notice to homeowners of a foreclosure judgment hearing. On December 17, 2020, the Center sent the Judicial Branch a letter asking that self-represented parties be provided at least one week actual notice prior to any remote hearing. The Judicial Branch is investigating the problems with notice raised by the Center.

Affidavit required for foreclosure filings:  On September 24, the Judicial Branch issued a Standing Order that prohibits any foreclosure action from being filed or moving forward unless the bank or mortgage company files an affidavit stating that the loan is not a federally backed mortgage, is vacant, or is not in forbearance. If the affidavit is not filed with the Court, then the case may be dismissed.

What should homeowners do?

Foreclosure advice: The Center is holding Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions. Homeowners facing foreclosure can sign up for advice sessions over video or phone, and get some individualized questions answered in a way that they could at our in-person clinics or through the Judicial Branch’s Volunteer Attorney Program that we regularly staff during non-pandemic times. The program has been used by dozens of homeowners from across the state since it began this summer. Homeowners can sign up, answer a few short questions, and be set up with an appointment. These Sessions are in addition to the considerable number of videos and materials available at www.ctfairhousing.org.

Apply for T-MAP online:  The number of successful applications for the State’s TMAP program remains low. TMAP now has an on-line application in English. It has not yet been translated into Spanish. To apply for assistance by telephone, call 1-860-785-3111. For more information about the program, click here

Social inequities explain difference in infection rates: According to several recently published studies, Black and Hispanic patients with COVID-19 were no more likely than white patients to be hospitalized even though people of color are infected at much higher rates than whites. The higher infection rates are attributed to Black and Hispanic communities and households being more crowded as well as people working jobs requiring frequent contact with others and relying on public transportation. Access to health care is poorer for people of color than among white Americans, and rates of underlying conditions are much higher.

Survey on the campaign for affordable housing:  The Partnership for Strong Communities is working on a strategic planning process for their HOMEConnecticut campaign for affordable housing in Connecticut. They would like feedback from advocates, tenants, concerned citizens, and those who work in housing through the use of a short, narrowly tailored survey. Your thoughts will inform the Partnership’s work to establish key goals and strategies of the campaign. 

Utilities must continue to offer payment plans to customers:  Utilities must now extend the availability of the 24-month COVID-19 payment plans until February 9, 2021. Any customer can call their utility company to set up a payment arrangement. COVID-19 payment plans are:

Importantly, any customer enrolled in a COVID-19 Payment Plan who is current with their payment terms cannot be disconnected even after the shut-off moratoriums have concluded.

We have heard of the following issues: 

  • Court mediators in summary process eviction cases have scrutinized Notices to Quit to ensure that they have the required CDC declaration information;
  • Tenants infected with COVID-19 face being forced out of isolation through their landlords use of a court-issued execution.
  • Local health departments believe they have no ability to do anything to stop the spread of the virus in an eviction case;
  • The attorney for the State Marshal Commission believes that they cannot stop an eviction that has been authorized by a court even if the eviction would spread COVID-19;
  • State marshals report they have removed tenants who are COVID+ from their homes;
  • A state marshal reports that he did not know about the CDC declaration;
  • Clerks’ offices do not allow self-represented tenants to file emergency applications with the court electronically, even if the tenant has COVID-19;
  • Attorneys and tenants are experiencing wait times of over half an hour when they call Superior Court Clerks’ Offices;
  • Landlords and tenants report that they did not know about the TRHAP program, which is now closed until at least December 31;
  • Tenants participating in remote mediations are agreeing to stipulated judgments they do not understand because they cannot read the written agreement on their phones;
  • Tenants who are unable to access the Teams platform used for remote hearings and mediations can only participate by audio;
  • Tenants who are only able to participate by audio are not able to see what is happening and do not know what to do once they connect;
  • Tenants who do not have access to a phone or computer are not given an in-person option, so they are unable to attend.
  • Tenants do not know how to install the Teams app;
  • Tenants do not have enough space on their phones to download the Teams app;
  • Downloading the Teams app takes a very long time, and often the program closes before the full download occurs;
  • Tenants are given only 5 days’ notice of a remote hearing;
  • Tenants are not receiving mail in a timely manner, so they only receive notice of the hearing after they’ve already missed it;
  • Hearing and mediation notices are not translated for people with limited English proficiency;
  • Tenants receive notice of the remote hearing, but the notice does not include the date and time of the hearing;
  • Tenants who receive notice of hearings and mediations do not understand that they must give the court their email address to receive access to the hearing;
  • Tenants in receipt of a court event notice send in their email address as instructed but never receive an email with the link to link to join the meeting via video or phone;
  • Hearing notice emails that include the phrase “do not delete” are deleted once the hearing is accepted;
  • Judges are not asking court personnel if tenants were ever contacted by the Court regarding notice of the hearing;
  • Judges are not determining if the landlord has received a CDC declaration;
  • Mediators are not determining if the landlord has received a CDC declaration;
  • Tenants who have given their landlord a CDC declaration are challenged by landlords who say the declaration is untruthful;
  • When an attorney for the landlord did not show up, the Court called him and allowed him to join the remote hearing late. No calls are made to tenants who do not appear on time;
  • Some marshals refuse to let lawyers and tenants into courthouses to file documents;
  • Some courts fail to provide a means for lawyers and the public to observe hearings.

Outreach:

  • Center staff continue to participate in Facebook Live, community Zoom meetings, and tele-townhalls with legislative officials. If you would like our assistance reaching your constituency, please contact our outreach coordinator rrattray@ctfairhousing.org.
  • Staff continue to hold fair housing trainings and COVID-19 eviction and foreclosure prevention resource workshops via Zoom with social service agencies, direct service providers, community groups, and invested stakeholders. If your agency would find a short resource webinar or fair housing training helpful during this crisis please contact Rashida Rattray, the Center’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, at rrattray@ctfairhousing.org

Resources for tenants and homeowners:

  • here for more information on the Connecticut and federal CDC moratoriums. 
  • here to understand current rights for homeowners in Spanish and English.
  • here to understand how fair housing can protect you during the COVID-19 crisis. (Our guidance is now available in 11 languages.)
  • The Rent Recalculation Request tool can be accessed here in Spanish and English.
  • To sign up for our weekly update fill out the form here.

More COVID-19 resources can be found on our website here.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR FAIR HOUSING RIGHTS IN ENGLISH, SPANISH, MANDARIN, VIETNAMESE, FARSI, RUSSIAN, ITALIAN, KREYOL, ARABIC, KHMER, AND TAGALOG, CLICK HERE.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER @CTFAIRHOUSING FOR UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE DAY.

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

December 18, 2020

The Governor extended Connecticut’s eviction moratorium to February 9, 2021:  According to a report in the Hartford Courant, Connecticut’s eviction moratorium has been extended to February 9, 2021, the day the Governor’s emergency powers are set to expire. The Emergency Order has not been published yet, but it is expected to include all the current exceptions. Currently, landlords are permitted to start an eviction action if a tenant:

a) owes rent that was due on or before February 29, 2020;

b) owes six or more months’ worth of rent that was due on or after March 1, 2020;

c) has created a serious nuisance; or

d) has a lease that expired, and the landlord has a bona fide intention to use the unit as the landlord’s primary residence.

The Legislature goes into session on January 6, 2021 and it has the power to extend the moratorium until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. The New York State legislature has already done this. Stay tuned for more information about the Center’s efforts to ask legislators to help tenants facing eviction.

The last weekly update of the year will be published on Tuesday, December 22, 2020. We will resume publication during the first week in January 2021.

COVID-19 resources can be found on our website here.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR FAIR HOUSING RIGHTS IN ENGLISH, SPANISH, MANDARIN, VIETNAMESE, FARSI, RUSSIAN, ITALIAN, KREYOL, ARABIC, KHMER, AND TAGALOG, CLICK HERE.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER @CTFAIRHOUSING FOR UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE DAY.

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

December 10, 2020 

The Connecticut Fair Housing Center makes a commitment to fight on because too many people depend on us and our ability to fight for them. Neither the outcome of an election nor the spread of a deadly virus alters the fact that discrimination continues, and people are on the brink of losing their homes. Your support is needed now more than ever as we must fight on.  

Since the pandemic began on March 10, landlords have taken steps to move tenants out: 

  • Landlords have filed 2,540 new summary process (eviction) cases in court. 
  • Courts have issued 564 Executions—Once a court issues an Execution, the landlord can hire a marshal to remove the tenant and their belongings from the unit. 

What happened since December 3, 2020: 

Stratford tenant gets time to move: On the morning of December 4, a marshal was scheduled to forcibly remove a Stratford tenant from her home, even though she was sick with Covid-19. With the marshal waiting to move the tenant out, the Center went to court to seek emergency relief. Meanwhile, community members, tenant organizers, and allies gathered outside the tenant’s home, calling for the state to halt the eviction of people with COVID-19. The judge ordered the marshal not to force our client out while the parties tried to resolve the issue. Our client had been paying some money to the landlord since she lost hours at her job and then was laid off, but she had not been able to pay the full rent. Our client had not found any information about TRHAP or the CDC moratorium until speaking with the Center, and her unemployment application had still not been approved. On December 9, the tenant and landlord reached an agreement that gives our client through the end of January to secure new housing. 

Advocates request an extension to the eviction moratorium: On December 4, a coalition of Connecticut housing advocates wrote to Governor Lamont asking him to extend the state’s eviction moratorium through at least March 1, 2021 and dedicate at least an additional $100 million to the state’s emergency rental assistance program. A recent study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition predicts that between 66,000 and 133,000 Connecticut households are at risk of eviction, with families of color disproportionately likely to face eviction. 

TRHAP program closed: On December 3, DOH closed the TRHAP program to new applications from tenants and landlords in need of assistance. It is not expected to open again before December 31, 2020. 

Looming eviction epidemic likely to disproportionately affect people of color: While it has been clear for some time that COVID-19 disproportionately harms communities of color, the looming epidemic of evictions is also likely to burden nonwhite people most heavily. Prior to the pandemic, studies of various cities found that 80 percent of those facing eviction were from nonwhite households. In fact, Black households were more than twice as likely as white households to be evicted. But by far the most vulnerable are Black women, one out of five of whom report having experienced eviction and who, in many states, face eviction filings at double the rate of white renters.  

Yale study finds COVID-19 afflicts children of color at higher rates than white children: Similar to trends seen in adults, COVID-19 disproportionately impacts Black and Hispanic children, according to a new study from researchers at Yale University. The study which looked at more than 250 cases from hospitals in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, found that nearly three-quarters of all children hospitalized with serious cases of the virus were Black or Hispanic. Of those cases, 51% were Hispanic, while 23% were Black, researchers discovered. 

Media reporting on end of eviction moratorium:  Several media sites in Connecticut have begun calling the public’s attention to the end of eviction moratorium and the advocates who are calling on Governor Malloy to extend the moratorium. NBC CT reported on the potential for thousands of evictions starting on January 1, WTNH gave tenants a report on what the end of the eviction moratorium could mean for them, and Telemundo interviewed a local resident, ULA, and the Center on the impact of the moratorium’s expiration on Latinx and undocumented communities. 

Studies show impact of eviction on COVID-19 infection and mortality rates:  Two recently published studies evaluated the recent pandemic and its effect on tenants. In the first, covering the period March 13 – September 3, researchers found: 

  • After 10 weeks, states lifting their eviction moratoriums had infection rates at 1.6 times the rate of states that did not lift their moratoriums; 
  • After 16 weeks. states lifting their eviction moratoriums had infection rates at 2 times the rate of states that did not lift their moratoriums; 
  • After 7 weeks, states lifting their eviction moratoriums had mortality rates at 1.6 times the rate of states that did not lift their moratoriums; 
  • After 16 weeks, states lifting their eviction moratoriums had mortality rates at 5.4 times the rate of states that did not lift their moratoriums. 

In the second study, researchers analyzed the public health and social science research on infectious diseases, COVID-19, and eviction outcomes and concluded that eviction during the pandemic increases health inequity among people of color. Eviction moratoria and supportive measures (like rent relief and legal counsel) are critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19.   

Modifications to Connecticut’s eviction moratorium hurts tenants: On October 20, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 9H. Instead of ensuring that the eviction moratorium covers most tenants, the latest order places limits on the reach of the eviction moratorium at a time when the number of COVID-19 cases are increasing to levels not seen since early in the pandemic. There is a high risk that tenants and landlords will be confused about the reach of existing protections, and that some landlords will resort to intimidation to get tenants out.   

  • What Executive Order 9H does:   
  • Extends the Connecticut eviction moratorium to December 31, 2020 for some tenants; 
  • Requires landlords to serve a CDC declaration in both English and Spanish with any Notice to Quit permitted by E.O. 9H, except Notices to Quit for serious nuisance; 
  • Requires that any Notice to Quit or Complaint for a rental arrearage equal to or greater than six months’ worth of rent due on or after March 1, 2020 state the amount of the rent arrearage, the months for which rent was unpaid, and the amount unpaid for each of those months;  
  • Requires that any Notice to Quit for rent due on or before February 29, 2020 specify and recite the period of nonpayment; and 
  • Requires that any Notice to Quit based upon the bona fide intention by the landlord to use the unit for the landlord’s principal residence state that reason and specify the lease’s expiration date. 
  • What Executive Order 9H does NOT do: 
  • It does not prohibit landlords from starting an eviction court case if the tenant a) owes rent that was due on or before February 29, 2020; b) owes six or more months’ worth of rent that was due on or after March 1, 2020; c) has created a serious nuisance; or d) has a lease that expired and the landlord has a bona fide intention to use the unit as the landlord’s primary residence; 
  • It does not stop the courts from holding court proceedings and issuing Executions in cases that were filed before the Connecticut moratorium began, and in cases that are not covered by the Connecticut moratorium. 

What should tenants do? 

Tenants may not be covered by the Connecticut moratorium for various reasons, including that (1) their landlord filed an eviction case before the Connecticut moratorium began on April 10, 2020; (2) they owe rent that was due on or before February 29, 2020; (3) they owe six or more months’ worth of rent due on or after March 1, 2020; or (4) their lease has expired and the landlord has a bona fide intention to use the unit as the landlord’s primary residence.  

  • CDC Moratorium: Tenants not covered by the Connecticut moratorium may still qualify for the federal CDC moratorium if they cannot pay their full rent or other housing payments because someone in their household lost income or has very expensive out-of-pocket medical bills. However, the CDC moratorium’s protection is not automatic and it only extends through December 31, 2020. Tenants should begin by carefully reading the requirements a tenant must meet to qualify for the CDC moratorium. If every person over 18 in the household meets the requirements, then each of those people should fill out a CDC declaration and give each declaration to the landlord. Information about the declaration and how to create one is also available in Spanish. In addition, there are online forms here and here that can generate the CDC declaration. A summary of both the Connecticut and CDC moratoriums is available here
  • Remote Court Dates: Courts are scheduling remote trials, hearings, and mediations. Tenants should receive a notice from the court when a court date is scheduled. Tenants can also confirm if they have an upcoming court date by looking up their case on the Judicial website. Once on their case page, they can also sign up for email alerts about their case. If a court date is scheduled, tenants must attend either by video or phone—even if they have already given their landlord a CDC declaration. Tenant should make sure to send their email address and phone number to the email address listed on the court notice so that the court can send them a link to join the meeting via video or phone.  
  • Responding to Eviction Papers: Tenants should not ignore eviction papers, filing deadlines, or notices about remote court events. Courts have begun entering Default Judgments against tenants who fail to file forms on time or attend remote court events. Once a Default Judgment is entered, the landlord can ask the court for an Execution. An Execution gives the landlord permission to hire a marshal to remove the tenant. Learn more about the eviction court process here

Assistance for people without legal status: The State’s rental assistance program for people without legal status is still open. To access this assistance, tenants should contact Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI) at 1-203-612-5464 or rentalassist@cirict.org. More program information is available here, and a Spanish-language webinar is available here.   

211: Additional government assistance may be available through programs administered by local organizations and municipalities. Tenants may call 2-1-1 to confirm what rent and housing assistance is available in their area. 

Mortgage Foreclosure 

Homeowners have until December 31, 2020 to request a forbearance on FHA loans—Homeowners can still request forbearances if they are unable to pay the mortgage as the result of a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as of now, the ability to request such a forbearance ends on December 31.  

Delinquencies at 80% of the Great Recession peak: A report from Black Knight shows that 90-day delinquencies in September were within 80% of their Great Recession peak. These delinquencies are particularly high among FHA borrowers, who are disproportionately Black and Latinx, and FHA delinquencies overall are particularly high in Fairfield and New Haven Counties. 

Affidavit required for foreclosure filings:  On September 24, the Judicial Branch issued a Standing Order that prohibits any foreclosure action from being filed or moving forward unless the bank or mortgage company files an affidavit stating that the loan is not a federally backed mortgage, is vacant, or is not in forbearance. If the affidavit is not filed with the Court, then the case may be dismissed.  

Judicial Branch is scheduling remote hearings in foreclosure cases:  Since the week of September 14, the Judicial Branch has been scheduling hearings in foreclosure cases where an Execution has been requested, a hearing or status conference if necessary, and, in some circumstances, where the foreclosure has not proceeded as quickly as the court would like. If a hearing has been scheduled, the homeowner is supposed to receive notice from court staff providing instructions on how to participate in a remote hearing either by video or phone. In some Judicial Districts, courts are providing only a few days’ notice to homeowners of a foreclosure judgment hearing.  

What should homeowners do? 

Foreclosure advice: The Center is holding Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions. Homeowners facing foreclosure can sign up for advice sessions over video or phone, and get some individualized questions answered in a way that they could at our in-person clinics or through the Judicial Branch’s Volunteer Attorney Program that we regularly staff during non-pandemic times. The program has been used by dozens of homeowners from across the state since it began this summer. Homeowners can sign up, answer a few short questions, and be set up with an appointment. These Sessions are in addition to the considerable number of videos and materials available at www.ctfairhousing.org

Apply for T-MAP online:  The number of successful applications for the State’s TMAP program remains low. TMAP now has an on-line application in English. It has not yet been translated into Spanish. To apply for assistance by telephone, call 1-860-785-3111. For more information about the program, click here 

Utilities must continue to offer payment plans to customers:  Utilities must now extend the availability of the 24-month COVID-19 payment plans until February 9, 2021. Any customer can call their utility company to set up a payment arrangement. COVID-19 payment plans are: 

  • Available to any customer requesting financial assistance, without demonstrating financial need; 
  • Require no initial or down payment; 
  • Can be up to 24 months in length; 
  • No fees or interest in the calculation of the monthly payment amount; 
  • Facilitate the repayment of the past due balances in addition to the customer’s current monthly bill. 

Importantly, any customer enrolled in a COVID-19 Payment Plan who is current with their payment terms cannot be disconnected even after the shut-off moratoriums have concluded. 

We have heard of the following problems:   

  • Tenants infected with COVID-19 face being forced out of isolation through their landlords use of a court-issued Execution. 
  • Local health departments believe they have no ability to do anything to stop the spread of the virus in an eviction case; 
  • The attorney for the State Marshal’s office believes that they cannot stop an eviction that has been authorized by a court even if the eviction would spread COVID-19; 
  • State marshals report they have removed tenants who are COVID+ from their homes; 
  • A state marshal reports that he did not know about the CDC declaration; 
  • Clerks’ offices do not allow self-represented tenants to file emergency applications with the court electronically, even if the tenant has COVID-19; 
  • Attorneys and tenants are experiencing wait times of over half an hour when they call Superior Court Clerks’ Offices; 
  • Landlords and tenants report that they did not know about the TRHAP program, which is now closed until at least December 31; 
  • Tenants participating in remote mediations are agreeing to stipulated judgments they do not understand because they cannot read the written agreement on their phones; 
  • Tenants who are unable to access the Teams platform used for remote hearings and mediations can only participate by audio; 
  • Tenants who are only able to participate by audio are not able to see what is happening and do not know what to do once they connect; 
  • Tenants who do not have access to a phone or computer are not given an in-person option, so they are unable to attend. 
  • Tenants do not know how to install the Teams app; 
  • Tenants do not have enough space on their phones to download the Teams app; 
  • Downloading the Teams app takes a very long time, and often the program closes before the full download occurs; 
  • Tenants are given only 5 days’ notice of a remote hearing; 
  • Tenants are not receiving mail in a timely manner, so they only receive notice of the hearing after they’ve already missed it; 
  • Hearing and mediation notices are not translated for people with limited English proficiency; 
  • Tenants receive notice of the remote hearing, but the notice does not include the date and time of the hearing; 
  • Tenants who receive notice of hearings and mediations do not understand that they must give the court their email address to receive access to the hearing; 
  • Tenants in receipt of a court event notice send in their email address as instructed but never receive an email with the link to link to join the meeting via video or phone;  
  • Hearing notice emails that include the phrase “do not delete” are deleted once the hearing is accepted; 
  • Judges are not asking court personnel if tenants were ever contacted by the Court regarding notice of the hearing; 
  • Judges are not determining if the landlord has received a CDC declaration; 
  • Mediators are not determining if the landlord has received a CDC declaration; 
  • Tenants who have given their landlord a CDC declaration are challenged by landlords who say the declaration is untruthful; 
  • When an attorney for the landlord did not show up, the Court called him and allowed him to join the remote hearing late. No calls are made to tenants when they do not appear on time; 
  • Some marshals refuse to let lawyers and tenants into courthouses to file documents; 
  • Some courts fail to provide a means for lawyers and the public to observe hearings. 

Outreach: 

  • Public Official Outreach: Center staff continue to participate in Facebook Live, community Zoom meetings, and tele-townhalls with legislative officials. If you would like our assistance reaching your constituency, please contact our outreach coordinator rrattray@ctfairhousing.org
  • Staff continue to hold fair housing trainings and COVID-19 eviction and foreclosure prevention resource workshops via Zoom with social service agencies, direct service providers, community groups, and invested stakeholders. If your agency would find a short resource webinar or fair housing training helpful during this crisis please contact Rashida Rattray, the Center’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, at rrattray@ctfairhousing.org 

Resources for tenants and homeowners:  

  • Click here for more information on the Connecticut and federal CDC moratoriums.   
  • Click here to understand current rights for homeowners in Spanish and English.  
  • Click here to understand how fair housing can protect you during the COVID-19 crisis. (Our guidance is now available in 11 languages.)  
  • Need to have your subsidized rent recalculated due to income loss? The Rent Recalculation Request tool can be accessed here in Spanish and English. 
  • To sign up for our weekly update fill out the form here.  

More COVID-19 resources can be found on our website here. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR FAIR HOUSING RIGHTS IN ENGLISH, SPANISH, MANDARIN, VIETNAMESE, FARSI, RUSSIAN, ITALIAN, KREYOL, ARABIC, KHMER, AND TAGALOG, CLICK HERE.  

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER @CTFAIRHOUSING FOR UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE DAY. 

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

December 4, 2020—Addendum  

Thank you to everyone who came out or called in support of our client in Stratford. As a result of your presence and voices as well as the advocacy of the Center’s staff, the judge told the state marshal not to take any steps to move our client out until further notice from the court. There is another hearing scheduled for Wednesday, December 9th if the parties cannot resolve this on their own. Additionally, the Department of Housing reached out to Center staff to connect the client with resources.

To give you additional background, the Center was contacted by a woman living in Stratford who had received notice on Tuesday, December 1 that the Court had given her landlord permission to move her out on Friday, December 4th.  

After interviewing the client, our staff found that she: 

  • Never received a Notice to Quit; 
  • Never received a Summary Process complaint; 
  • Never received notice that she could file a CDC declaration; 
  • Was COVID+ and had symptoms of the disease; 
  • Was living with her elderly mother who was also experiencing COVID-19 symptoms; 
  • Had lost her job due to the pandemic; 
  • Had applied for unemployment benefits but had not yet received any money; 
  • Did not know about the TRHAP program which could have helped her pay the rent; 
  • Had been trying to make rent payments since April when she lost her job; 
  • Would have to stay with friends if she was moved out of her apartment and would expose them to the novel coronavirus. 

We called upon state officials to help stop the move out and learned this: 

  • Local health departments believe they have no ability to do anything to stop the spread of the virus in an eviction case; 
  • The attorney for the State Marshal’s office believes that they cannot stop an eviction that has been authorized by a court even if the eviction would spread the virus; 
  • This is not the first time state marshals have moved tenants out who are COVID+; 

Some questions we have been asked include: 

I thought there was an eviction moratorium—The Governor and the CDC have both issued eviction moratoria which will end on December 31, 2020. However, there are several exceptions to the State moratorium and this case may fall into one of those exceptions. In addition, the CDC moratorium does not apply automatically. A tenant must create a declaration and give it to their landlord and the court for it to have any effect. More than 2,320 new eviction cases have been filed since the beginning of the public health emergency. Only 24 CDC declarations have been filed with the court. 

Where would the tenant go if she was moved out today?—The client might have been able to stay with friends. However, she would have been exposing them to the coronavirus. Homeless shelters may not have accepted her because of her COVID+ status. In addition, many shelters are full with waiting lists 3 months long. 

Doesn’t the State have a program to pay rent arrearages?—The State’s TRHAP program currently has at least 12,000 applications for assistance for a program that can serve approximately 10,000. There has been very little publicity about the program and, in this case, the tenant did not know it existed. She applied for assistance on December 3. Since the program will only pay a maximum of $4,000, this may not pay all rent owed. However, the landlord says she wants to live in the apartment. As a result, payment of the rent may not resolve this issue.  

What can you do? 

Call or email: 

Tell them: 

  • Extend the eviction moratorium until the COVID-19 health crisis is over; 
  • Remove the exceptions to the moratorium because people will spread the virus regardless of the reason they are evicted; 
  • Create a rental assistance program that is advertised widely and helps all tenants in danger of losing their housing. 

The Connecticut Fair Housing Center makes a commitment to fight on because too many people depend on us and our ability to fight for them. Neither the outcome of an election nor the spread of a deadly virus alters the fact that discrimination continues, and people are on the brink of losing their homes. Your support is needed now more than ever as we must fight on.  

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

December 3, 2020 

The Connecticut Fair Housing Center makes a commitment to fight on because too many people depend on us and our ability to fight for them. Neither the outcome of an election nor the spread of a deadly virus alters the fact that discrimination continues, and people are on the brink of losing their homes. Your support is needed now more than ever as we must fight on.  

As Connecticut gets closer to the end of the eviction moratoria on December 31, 2020, the number of summary process case filings increases week by week. However, the number of cases filed since the courts fully opened in September do not give a complete picture of the extent of the housing instability faced by Connecticut residents. From now on, this update will include the total number of cases filed and executions issued since the Governor declared a state of emergency on March 10, 2020. 

Since the pandemic began on March 10, landlords have taken steps to move tenants out: 

  • Landlords have filed 2,320 new summary process (eviction) cases in court. 
  • Courts have issued 522 executions—Once a court issues an execution, the landlord can hire a marshal to remove the tenant and their belongings from the unit. 

What happened since November 19, 2020: 

Studies show impact of eviction on COVID-19 infection and mortality rates:  Two recently published studies evaluated the recent pandemic and its effect on tenants. In the first, covering the period March 13 – September 3, researchers found: 

  • After 10 weeks, states lifting their eviction moratoriums had infection rates at 1.6 times the rate of states that did not lift their moratoriums;
  • After 16 weeks. states lifting their eviction moratoriums had infection rates at 2 times the rate of states that did not lift their moratoriums; 
  • After 7 weeks, states lifting their eviction moratoriums had mortality rates at 1.6 times the rate of states that did not lift their moratoriums; 
  • After 16 weeks, states lifting their eviction moratoriums had mortality rates at 5.4 times the rate of states that did not lift their moratoriums. 

In the second study, researchers analyzed the public health and social science research on infectious diseases, COVID-19, and eviction outcomes and concluded that eviction during the pandemic increases health inequity among people of color. Eviction moratoria and supportive measures (like rent relief and legal counsel) are critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19.   

New eviction cases filed in New Haven: The New Haven Independent interviewed three tenants who have had recent eviction cases filed against them because they were “seriously delinquent” on their rent. All three lost their jobs as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic and were unable to pay rent. None of them received assistance from the TRHAP program. Despite the fact that the State has more than $196 million in CARES Act funding left unspent, a spokesperson for the governor’s office said that funding is already nearly all committed to a variety of necessities, including paying for COVID-19 testing, personal protective equipment, and education. Housing does not seem to be a necessity. 

Connecticut House Representative Brandon McGee calls on Connecticut to address housing inequities:  Newly re-appointed co-chair of the Housing Committee, Representative Brandon McGee, wrote in an Op-Ed appearing in the Hartford Courant that “Having a stable space to call home places the rest of life’s necessities in reach, whether it be employment or health care. Kids can’t access a meaningful education when they don’t know where they’ll be sleeping night-to-night and implementing a statewide self-isolation policy can prove challenging when thousands lack a roof over their heads.” He called for universal freezes on mortgage, rent and utility payments for the foreseeable future or the creation of a rent bank that would provide money to those who lost employment due to COVID-19 and are unable to make their living expenses.  

TRHAP is open: Tenants and landlords can apply online at www.chfa.org/trhap. However, the online form is still only available in English. Tenants who need assistance in Spanish and others who cannot apply online should call 1-860-785-3111 or 211. Tenants can check on the status of their application www.chfa.org/homeowners/trhap-submission-status-check. Tenants who are denied assistance may appeal by sending an email to TRHAPAPPEALS@ct.gov

Public Access to Remote Court Proceedings Remains Limited: Since remote housing court proceedings began in September, the Judicial Branch has required that members of the public seeking to observe a proceeding present themselves in person at the courthouse and indicate that they want to observe a particular matter. The clerk, and possibly the judge, will be present in the courtroom while parties and counsel participate remotely. The Judicial Branch is not providing public links to observe proceedings via Microsoft Teams because of concerns regarding cybersecurity. The Judicial Branch is working on a mechanism whereby all matters will be live-streamed, but it is still in the planning stages. 

Modifications to Connecticut’s eviction moratorium hurts tenants: On October 20, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 9H, which changes the eviction moratorium issued just a few weeks ago. Instead of ensuring that the eviction moratorium covers most tenants, the new order places limits on the reach of the eviction moratorium at a time when the number of COVID-19 cases are increasing to levels not seen since early in the pandemic. There is a high risk that tenants and landlords will be confused about the reach of existing protections, and that some landlords will resort to intimidation to get tenants out.   

  • What Executive Order 9H does:   
  1. Extends the Connecticut eviction moratorium to December 31, 2020 for some tenants; 
  1. Requires landlords to serve a CDC declaration in both English and Spanish with any Notice to Quit permitted by E.O. 9H, except Notices to Quit for serious nuisance; 
  1. Requires that any Notice to Quit or Complaint for a rental arrearage equal to or greater than six months’ worth of rent due on or after March 1, 2020 state the amount of the rent arrearage, the months for which rent was unpaid, and the amount unpaid for each of those months;  
  1. Requires that any Notice to Quit for rent due on or before February 29, 2020 specify and recite the period of nonpayment; and 
  1. Requires that any Notice to Quit based upon the bona fide intention by the landlord to use the unit for the landlord’s principal residence state that reason and specify the lease’s expiration date. 
  • What Executive Order 9H does NOT do: 
  1. It does not prohibit landlords from starting an eviction court case if the tenant a) owes rent that was due on or before February 29, 2020; b) owes six or more months’ worth of rent that was due on or after March 1, 2020; c) has created a serious nuisance; or d) has a lease that expired and the landlord has a bona fide intention to use the unit as the landlord’s primary residence; 
  1. It does not stop the courts from holding court proceedings and issuing Executions in cases that were filed before the Connecticut moratorium began, and in cases that are not covered by the Connecticut moratorium. 

What should tenants do? 

Tenants may not be covered by the Connecticut moratorium for various reasons, including that (1) their landlord filed an eviction case before the Connecticut moratorium began on April 10, 2020; (2) they owe rent that was due on or before February 29, 2020; (3) they owe six or more months’ worth of rent due on or after March 1, 2020; or (4) their lease has expired and the landlord has a bona fide intention to use the unit as the landlord’s primary residence.  

  • CDC Moratorium: Tenants not covered by the Connecticut moratorium may still qualify for the federal CDC moratorium if they cannot pay their full rent or other housing payments because someone in their household lost income or has very expensive out-of-pocket medical bills. However, the CDC moratorium’s protection is not automatic. Tenants should begin by carefully reading the requirements a tenant must meet to qualify for the CDC moratorium. If every person over 18 in the household meets the requirements, then each of those people should fill out a CDC declaration and give each declaration to the landlord. Information about the declaration and how to create one is also available in Spanish. In addition, there are online forms here and here that can generate the CDC declaration. A summary of both the Connecticut and CDC moratoriums is available here
  • Remote Court Dates: Courts are scheduling remote trials, hearings, and mediations. Tenants should receive a notice from the court when a court date is scheduled. Tenants can also confirm if they have an upcoming court date by looking up their case on the Judicial website. Once on their case page, they can also sign up for email alerts about their case. If a court date is scheduled, tenants must attend either by video or phone—even if they have already given their landlord a CDC declaration. Tenant should make sure to send their email address and phone number to the email address listed on the court notice so that the court can send them a link to join the meeting via video or phone.  
  • Responding to Eviction Papers: Tenants should not ignore eviction papers, filing deadlines, or notices about remote court events. Courts have begun entering Default Judgments against tenants who fail to file forms on time or attend remote court events. Learn more about the eviction court process here

Assistance for people without legal statusThe State’s rental assistance program for people without legal status is now open. To access this assistance, tenants should contact Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI) at 1-203-612-5464 or rentalassist@cirict.org. More program information is available here.  

211: Additional government assistance may be available through programs administered by local organizations and municipalities. Tenants may call 2-1-1 to confirm what rent and housing assistance is available in their area. 

Mortgage Foreclosure 

FHA loans still far more likely to be in forbearance than others: Recent reports on mortgage delinquencies reveal that 5.2% of all mortgages are in forbearance. FHA and VA loans continue to have the greatest number of active forbearances with 9.2% of those loans in forbearance. 

Delinquencies at 80% of the Great Recession peak: A new report from Black Knight shows that 90-day delinquencies in September were within 80% of their Great Recession peak. These delinquencies are particularly high among FHA borrowers, who are disproportionately Black and Latinx, and FHA delinquencies overall are particularly high in Fairfield and New Haven Counties. 

Affidavit required for foreclosure filings:  On September 24, the Judicial Branch issued a Standing Order that prohibits any foreclosure action from being filed or moving forward unless the bank or mortgage company files an affidavit stating that the loan is not a federally backed mortgage, is vacant, or is not in forbearance. If the affidavit is not filed with the Court, then the case may be dismissed.  

Judicial Branch is scheduling remote hearings in foreclosure cases:  Since the week of September 14, the Judicial Branch has been scheduling hearings in foreclosure cases where an execution has been requested, a hearing or status conference if necessary, and, in some circumstances, where the foreclosure has not proceeded as quickly as the court would like. If a hearing has been scheduled, the homeowner is supposed to receive notice from court staff providing instructions on how to participate in a remote hearing either by video or phone.   

What should homeowners do? 

Foreclosure advice: The Center is holding Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions. Homeowners facing foreclosure can sign up for advice sessions over video or phone, and get some individualized questions answered in a way that they could at our in-person clinics or through the Judicial Branch’s Volunteer Attorney Program that we regularly staff during non-pandemic times. The program has been used by dozens of homeowners from across the state since it began this summer. Homeowners can sign up, answer a few short questions, and be set up with an appointment. These Sessions are in addition to the considerable number of videos and materials available at www.ctfairhousing.org

Apply for T-MAP online:  The number of successful applications for the State’s TMAP program remains low. TMAP now has an on-line application in English. It has not yet been translated into Spanish. To apply for assistance by telephone, call 1-860-785-3111. For more information about the program, click here 

New app to track COVID-19 cases: Connecticut has a new way for people to track the spread of the virus and to know if someone you have been in close contact with has tested positive for COVID-19. COVID Alert CT is a voluntary, anonymous, exposure-notification smartphone app. Users will get an alert if you were in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Knowing about a potential exposure allows you to self-quarantine immediately, get tested, and reduce the potential exposure risk to your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and others. 

Utilities must continue to offer payment plans to customers:  Utilities must now extend the availability of the 24-month COVID-19 payment plans until February 9, 2021. Any customer can call their utility company to set up a payment arrangement. COVID-19 payment plans are: 

  • Available to any customer requesting financial assistance, without demonstrating financial need; 
  • Require no initial or down payment; 
  • Can be up to 24 months in length; 
  • No fees or interest in the calculation of the monthly payment amount; 
  • Facilitate the repayment of the past due balances in addition to the customer’s current monthly bill. 

Importantly, any customer enrolled in a COVID-19 Payment Plan who is current with their payment terms cannot be disconnected even after the shut-off moratoriums have concluded. 

We have heard of the following court access problems:   

  • Tenants infected with COVID-19 face the loss of their housing through the use of an execution. 
  • Attorneys and tenants are experiencing wait times of over half an hour when they call Superior Court Clerks’ Offices. 
  • Tenants participating in remote mediations are agreeing to stipulated judgments they do not understand because they cannot read the written agreement on their phones; 
  • Tenants who are unable to access the Teams platform used for remote hearings and mediations can only participate by audio; 
  • Tenants who are only able to participate by audio are not able to see what is happening and do not know what to do once they connect; 
  • Tenants who do not have access to a phone or computer are not given an in-person option, so they are unable to attend. 
  • Tenants do not know how to install the Teams app; 
  • Tenants do not have enough space on their phones to download the Teams app; 
  • Downloading the Teams app takes a very long time, and often the program closes before the full download occurs; 
  • Tenants are given only 5 days’ notice of a remote hearing; 
  • Tenants are not receiving mail in a timely manner, so they only receive notice of the hearing after they’ve already missed it; 
  • Hearing and mediation notices are not translated for people with limited English proficiency; 
  • Tenants receive notice of the remote hearing, but the notice does not include the date and time of the hearing; 
  • Tenants who receive notice of hearings and mediations do not understand that they must give the court their email address to receive access to the hearing; 
  • Tenants in receipt of a court event notice send in their email address as instructed but never receive an email with the link to link to join the meeting via video or phone;  
  • Hearing notice emails that include the phrase “do not delete” are deleted once the hearing is accepted; 
  • Judges are not asking court personnel if tenants were ever contacted by the Court regarding notice of the hearing; 
  • Judges are not determining if the landlord has received a CDC declaration; 
  • Mediators are not determining if the landlord has received a CDC declaration; 
  • Tenants who have given their landlord a CDC declaration are challenged by landlords who say the declaration is untruthful; 
  • When an attorney for the landlord did not show up, the Court called him and allowed him to join the remote hearing late. No calls are made to tenants when they do not appear on time; 
  • Some marshals refuse to let lawyers and tenants into courthouses to file documents; 
  • Some courts fail to provide a means for lawyers and the public to observe hearings. 

Outreach: 

  • Public Official Outreach: Center staff continue to participate in Facebook Live, community Zoom meetings, and tele-townhalls with legislative officials. If you would like our assistance reaching your constituency, please contact our outreach coordinator rrattray@ctfairhousing.org
  • Staff continue to hold fair housing trainings and COVID-19 eviction and foreclosure prevention resource workshops via Zoom with social service agencies, direct service providers, community groups, and invested stakeholders. If your agency would find a short resource webinar or fair housing training helpful during this crisis please contact Rashida Rattray, the Center’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, at rrattray@ctfairhousing.org 

Resources for tenants and homeowners:  

  • Click here for more information on the Connecticut and federal CDC moratoriums.   
  • Click here to understand current rights for homeowners in Spanish and English.  
  • Click here to understand how fair housing can protect you during the COVID-19 crisis. (Our guidance is now available in 11 languages.)  
  • Need to have your subsidized rent recalculated due to income loss? The Rent Recalculation Request tool can be accessed here in Spanish and English. 
  • To sign up for our weekly update fill out the form here.  

More COVID-19 resources can be found on our website here. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR FAIR HOUSING RIGHTS IN ENGLISH, SPANISH, MANDARIN, VIETNAMESE, FARSI, RUSSIAN, ITALIAN, KREYOL, ARABIC, KHMER, AND TAGALOG, CLICK HERE.  

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER @CTFAIRHOUSING FOR UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE DAY. 

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

November 19, 2020

The Connecticut Fair Housing Center makes a commitment to fight on because too many people depend on us and our ability to fight for them. Neither the outcome of an election nor the spread of a deadly virus alters the fact that discrimination continues, and people are on the brink of losing their homes. Your support is needed now more than ever as we must fight on. #wefighton

What happened since November 12, 2020:

Since September 1, landlords have taken steps to move tenants out:

  • Landlords have filed 795 new summary process (eviction) cases in court.
  • 893 Motions for Default have been filed—A Motion for Default is filed when a tenant misses a court deadline or a court event. If the Motion for Default is granted, the tenant automatically loses the case, and the landlord can ask the court to issue an execution.
  • Landlords have requested 563 executions.
  • Courts have issued 293 executions—Once a court issues an execution, the landlord can hire a marshal to remove the tenant and their belongings from the unit.

TRHAP is Open: Tenants and landlords can apply online at www.chfa.org/trhap. However, the online form is still only available in English. Tenants who need assistance in Spanish and others who cannot apply online should call 1-860-785-3111 or 2-1-1. Tenants can check on the status of their application www.chfa.org/homeowners/trhap-submission-status-check. Tenants who are denied assistance may appeal by sending an email to TRHAPAPPEALS@ct.gov.

The TRHAP program began accepting new applications on Monday, October 26. Since the program began in July, the State has received more than 10,000 calls for assistance. Of that number, more than 1,100 tenants have completed a full application and more than 800 landlords have been paid back rent. Some landlords are refusing to participate in the program because the $4,000 available under TRHAP does not cover all the back rent owed.

Courts Begin Holding Remote Trials: The housing courts are now holding remote trials, despite the technological barriers many tenants face in accessing the courts by video or audio.

Public Access to Remote Court Proceedings Remains Limited: Since remote housing court proceedings began in September, the Judicial Branch has required that members of the public seeking to observe a proceeding present themselves in person at the courthouse and indicate that they want to observe a particular matter. The clerk, and possibly the judge, will be present in the courtroom while parties and counsel participate remotely. The Judicial Branch is not providing public links to observe proceedings via Microsoft Teams because of concerns regarding cybersecurity. The Judicial Branch is working on a mechanism whereby all matters will be live-streamed, but it is still in the planning stages.

Judge asks for an offer of proof when landlord challenges a CDC declaration:  In a case involving a tenant’s use of the CDC declaration to stop an eviction, a Maine judge found that the landlord had to make an “offer of proof” before the court would hold a hearing on the statements contained in a CDC declaration. In so deciding, the judge found that forcing a tenant to testify about the truth of the statements in the declaration without any proof that the statements were false, was inconsistent with the purpose of the CDC moratorium. The lawyer in that case relied on the Supreme Court case of Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154, 171, 98 S. Ct. 2674, 2684, 57 L. Ed. 2d 667 (1978) which held that “To mandate an evidentiary hearing, the challenger’s attack must be more than conclusory and must be supported by more than a mere desire to cross-examine. There must be allegations of deliberate falsehood or of reckless disregard for the truth, and those allegations must be accompanied by an offer of proof.”

Modifications to Connecticut eviction moratorium hurts tenants: On October 20, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 9H, which changes the eviction moratorium issued just a few weeks ago. Instead of ensuring that the eviction moratorium covers most tenants, the new order places limits on the reach of the eviction moratorium at a time when the number of COVID-19 cases are increasing to levels not seen since early in the pandemic. There is a high risk that tenants and landlords will be confused about the reach of existing protections, and that some landlords will resort to intimidation to get tenants out. 

  1. Extends the Connecticut eviction moratorium to December 31, 2020 for some tenants;
  2. Requires landlords to serve a CDC declaration in both English and Spanish with any Notice to Quit permitted by E.O. 9H, except Notices to Quit for serious nuisance;
  3. Requires that any Notice to Quit or Complaint for a rental arrearage equal to or greater than six months’ worth of rent due on or after March 1, 2020 state the amount of the rent arrearage, the months for which rent was unpaid, and the amount unpaid for each of those months;
  4. Requires that any Notice to Quit for rent due on or before February 29, 2020 specify and recite the period of nonpayment; and
  5. Requires that any Notice to Quit based upon the bona fide intention by the landlord to use the unit for the landlord’s principal residence state that reason and specify the lease’s expiration date.

What should tenants do?

Tenants may not be covered by the Connecticut moratorium for various reasons, including that (1) their landlord filed an eviction case before the Connecticut moratorium began on April 10, 2020; (2) they owe rent that was due on or before February 29, 2020; (3) they owe six or more months’ worth of rent due on or after March 1, 2020; or (4) their lease has expired and the landlord has a bona fide intention to use the unit as the landlord’s primary residence.

  • CDC Moratorium: Tenants not covered by the Connecticut moratorium may still qualify for the federal CDC moratorium if they cannot pay their full rent or other housing payments because someone in their household lost income or has very expensive out-of-pocket medical bills. However, the CDC moratorium’s protection is not automatic. Tenants should begin by carefully reading the requirements a tenant must meet to qualify for the CDC moratorium. If every person over 18 in the household meets the requirements, then each of those people should fill out a CDC declaration and give each declaration to the landlord. Information about the declaration and how to create one is also available in Spanish. In addition, there are online forms here and here that can generate the CDC declaration. A summary of both the Connecticut and CDC moratoriums is available here.
  • Remote Court Dates: Courts are scheduling remote trials, hearings, and mediations. Tenants should receive a notice from the court when a court date is scheduled. Tenants can also confirm if they have an upcoming court date by looking up their case on the Judicial website. Once on their case page, they can also sign up for email alerts about their case. If a court date is scheduled, tenants must attend either by video or phone—even if they have already given their landlord a CDC declaration. Tenant should make sure to send their email address and phone number to the email address listed on the court notice so that the court can send them a link to join the meeting via video or phone.
  • Responding to Eviction Papers: Tenants should not ignore eviction papers, filing deadlines, or notices about remote court events. Courts have begun entering Default Judgments against tenants who fail to file forms on time or attend remote court events. Learn more about the eviction court process here.

Assistance for people without legal status: The State’s rental assistance program for people without legal status is now open. To access this assistance, tenants should contact Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI) at 1-203-612-5464 or rentalassist@cirict.org. More program information is available here.

211: Additional government assistance may be available through programs administered by local organizations and municipalities. Tenants may call 2-1-1 to confirm what rent and housing assistance is available in their area.

Mortgage Foreclosure

Delinquencies at 80% of the Great Recession peak: A new report from Black Knight shows that 90-day delinquencies in September were within 80% of their Great Recession peak. These delinquencies are particularly high among FHA borrowers, who are disproportionately Black and Latinx, and FHA delinquencies overall are particularly high in Fairfield and New Haven Counties.

Homeownership makes all the difference in urban areas:  A recent report in CT Mirror, shows how homeownership can turn around deteriorating neighborhoods in urban areas. White residents in Connecticut are twice as likely to own a home than are people of color. Compared to other states, Connecticut has the second-largest gap for homeownership rates between its white and Latinx residents, the largest gap between mixed-race and white residents, and the 15th biggest gap between Black and white residents. Unfortunately, it is likely that racial inequalities in the housing market will increase after the pandemic ends.

Affidavit required for foreclosure filings:  On September 24, the Judicial Branch issued a Standing Order that prohibits any foreclosure action from being filed or moving forward unless the bank or mortgage company files an affidavit stating that the loan is not a federally backed mortgage, is vacant, or is not in forbearance. If the affidavit is not filed with the Court, then the case may be dismissed.

Judicial Branch is scheduling remote hearings in foreclosure cases:  Since the week of September 14, the Judicial Branch has been scheduling hearings in foreclosure cases where an execution has been requested, a hearing or status conference if necessary, and, in some circumstances, where the foreclosure has not proceeded as quickly as the court would like. If a hearing has been scheduled, the homeowner is supposed to receive notice from court staff providing instructions on how to participate in a remote hearing either by video or phone. 

What should homeowners do?

Foreclosure advice: The Center is holding Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions. Homeowners facing foreclosure can sign up for advice sessions over video or phone, and get some individualized questions answered in a way that they could at our in-person clinics or through the Judicial Branch’s Volunteer Attorney Program that we regularly staff during non-pandemic times. The program has been used by dozens of homeowners from across the state since it began this summer. Homeowners can sign up, answer a few short questions, and be set up with an appointment. These Sessions are in addition to the considerable number of videos and materials available at www.ctfairhousing.org.

Apply for T-MAP online:  The number of successful applications for the State’s TMAP program remains low. TMAP now has an on-line application in English. It has not yet been translated into Spanish. To apply for assistance by telephone, call 1-860-785-3111. For more information about the program, click here

New app to track COVID-19 cases: Connecticut has a new way for people to track the spread of the virus and to know if someone you have been in close contact with has tested positive for COVID-19. COVID Alert CT is a voluntary, anonymous, exposure-notification smartphone app. Users will get an alert if you were in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Knowing about a potential exposure allows you to self-quarantine immediately, get tested, and reduce the potential exposure risk to your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and others.

Utilities must continue to offer payment plans to customers:  Utilities must now extend the availability of the 24-month COVID-19 payment plans until February 9, 2021. Any customer can call their utility company to set up a payment arrangement. COVID-19 payment plans are:

Importantly, any customer enrolled in a COVID-19 Payment Plan who is current with their payment terms cannot be disconnected even after the shut-off moratoriums have concluded.

Filing exhibits in remote court proceedings: The Judicial Branch has not provided clear guidance on how self-represented parties can submit exhibits. The Judicial Branch has announced that, starting on November 16, 2020, attorneys without an exemption from electronic services must submit all exhibit documents in Civil and Family matters electronically in PDF format via the Judicial E-Services site. The notice states that electronic submission of exhibits will be optional for self-represented parties, but it does not provide instructions for how else self-represented parties may submit exhibits. Court notices sent to self-represented tenants with upcoming summary process (eviction) trials also fail to provide this information.

We have heard of the following court access problems: 

Outreach:

  • Center staff continue to participate in Facebook Live, community Zoom meetings, and tele-townhalls with legislative officials. If you would like our assistance reaching your constituency, please contact our outreach coordinator rrattray@ctfairhousing.org.

Resources for tenants and homeowners:

  • here for more information on the Connecticut and federal CDC moratoriums. 
  • here to understand current rights for homeowners in Spanish and English.
  • here to understand how fair housing can protect you during the COVID-19 crisis. (Our guidance is now available in 11 languages.)
  • The Rent Recalculation Request tool can be accessed here in Spanish and English.

More COVID-19 resources can be found on our website here.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR FAIR HOUSING RIGHTS IN ENGLISH, SPANISH, MANDARIN, VIETNAMESE, FARSI, RUSSIAN, ITALIAN, KREYOL, ARABIC, KHMER, AND TAGALOG, CLICK HERE.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER @CTFAIRHOUSING FOR UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE DAY.

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

November 12, 2020

The Connecticut Fair Housing Center makes a commitment to fight on because too many people depend on us and our ability to fight for them. Neither the outcome of an election nor the spread of a deadly virus alters the fact that discrimination continues, and people are on the brink of losing their homes. Your support is needed now more than ever as we must fight on. #wefighton

What happened since November 5, 2020:

Since September 1, landlords have taken steps to move tenants out:

  • Motions for Default have been filed—A Motion for Default is filed when a tenant misses a court deadline or a court event. If the Motion for Default is granted, the tenant automatically loses the case, and the landlord can ask the court to issue an execution.

TRHAP program reopens: The TRHAP program began accepting new applications on Monday, October 26. Since the program began in July, the State has received more than 10,000 calls for assistance. Of that number, more than 1,100 tenants have completed a full application and more than 800 landlords have been paid back rent. Some landlords are refusing to participate in the program because the $4,000 available under TRHAP does not pay all the back rent owed.

DOH recommends that tenants apply online at https://www.chfa.org/trhap/. However, the online form is still only available in English. Tenants who need assistance in Spanish and others who cannot apply online should call 1-860-785-3111 or 211.

Connecticut’s eviction crisis is not new:  In an editorial on the website, Connecticut by the Numbers, the Center’s eviction prevention staff along with New Haven Legal Assistance Association’s Deputy Director point out that as of 2016, eviction rates in four Connecticut cities were among the highest in the nation. Those numbers have not gone down. Evictions disproportionately impact Black and Latinx households. Due to decades of discrimination in housing and employment, Black and Latinx households in Connecticut earn lower wages, possess less wealth, and are less likely to own their homes—67% of Latinx households and 61% of Black households rent, compared to only 24% of white households. These numbers will continue to increase due to the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 crisis on communities of color.

Landlord survey reveals few tenants filing CDC declarations:  A survey in which more than 185 landlords participated, representing 26,600 apartments, reveals that landlords are receiving fewer than 1 CDC moratorium declaration per building. The CDC moratorium does not require that landlords or the court inform tenants of the CDC moratorium or the requirement that a tenant must complete a declaration in order to receive its protection.

Modifications to Connecticut eviction moratorium hurts tenants: On October 20, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 9H, which changes the eviction moratorium issued just a few weeks ago. Instead of ensuring that the eviction moratorium covers most tenants, the new order places limits on the reach of the eviction moratorium at a time when the number of COVID-19 cases are increasing to levels not seen since early in the pandemic. There is a high risk that tenants and landlords will be confused about the reach of existing protections, and that some landlords will resort to intimidation to get tenants out.  

  • What Executive Order 9H does
  • Extends the Connecticut eviction moratorium to December 31, 2020 for some tenants;
  • Requires landlords to serve a CDC declaration in both English and Spanish with any Notice to Quit permitted by E.O. 9H, except Notices to Quit for serious nuisance;
  • Requires that any Notice to Quit or Complaint for a rental arrearage equal to or greater than six months’ worth of rent due on or after March 1, 2020 state the amount of the rent arrearage, the months for which rent was unpaid, and the amount unpaid for each of those months;
  • Requires that any Notice to Quit for rent due on or before February 29, 2020 specify and recite the period of nonpayment; and
  • Requires that any Notice to Quit based upon the bona fide intention by the landlord to use the unit for the landlord’s principal residence state that reason and specify the lease’s expiration date.
  • What Executive Order 9H does NOT do:
  • It does not prohibit landlords from starting an eviction court case if the tenant a) owes rent that was due on or before February 29, 2020; b) owes six or more months’ worth of rent that was due on or after March 1, 2020; c) has created a serious nuisance; or d) has a lease that expired and the landlord has a bona fide intention to use the unit as the landlord’s primary residence;
  • It does not stop the courts from holding court proceedings and issuing Executions in cases that were filed before the Connecticut moratorium began, and in cases that are not covered by the Connecticut moratorium.

What should tenants do?

Tenants may not be covered by the Connecticut moratorium for various reasons, including that (1) their landlord filed an eviction case before the Connecticut moratorium began on April 10, 2020; (2) they owe rent that was due on or before February 29, 2020; (3) they owe six or more months’ worth of rent due on or after March 1, 2020; or (4) their lease has expired and the landlord has a bona fide intention to use the unit as the landlord’s primary residence.

  • Tenants not covered by the Connecticut moratorium may still qualify for the federal CDC moratorium if they cannot pay their full rent or other housing payments because someone in their household lost income or has very expensive out-of-pocket medical bills. However, the CDC moratorium’s protection is not automatic. Tenants should begin by carefully reading the requirements a tenant must meet to qualify for the CDC moratorium. If every person over 18 in the household meets the requirements, then each of those people should fill out a CDC declaration and give each declaration to the landlord. Information about the declaration and how to create one is also available in Spanish. In addition, there are online forms here and here that can generate the CDC declaration. A summary of both the Connecticut and CDC moratoriums is available here.
  • : Courts are scheduling remote hearings and mediations. Tenants should receive a notice from the court when a court date is scheduled. Tenants can also confirm if they have an upcoming court date by looking up their case on the Judicial website. Once on their case page, they can also sign up for email alerts about their case. If a court date is scheduled, tenants must attend either by video or phone—even if they have already given their landlord a CDC declaration. Tenant should make sure to send their email address and phone number to the email address listed on the court notice so that the court can send them a link to join the meeting via video or phone.
  • : Tenants should not ignore eviction papers, filing deadlines, or notices about remote court events. Courts have begun entering Default Judgments against tenants who fail to file forms on time or attend remote court events. Learn more about the eviction court process here.

Assistance for undocumented migrants: The State’s rental assistance program for undocumented migrants is now open. To access this assistance, people should contact Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI) at 1-203-612-5464 or rentalassist@cirict.org.

211: Additional government assistance may be available. Tenants may call 2-1-1 to confirm what rent and housing assistance is available in their area.

Mortgage Foreclosure

Data shows Connecticut has the 7th highest number of serious foreclosure delinquencies in the country:  Data collected by CoreLogic reveals that every state had an increase in serious delinquencies, defined as 90 days or more past due including loans in foreclosure. Connecticut’s serious delinquency rate of 5.7% – about 1 of every 17 homeowners with a mortgage – ranks 7th in the country.

Affidavit required for foreclosure filings:  On September 24, the Judicial Branch issued a Standing Order that prohibits any foreclosure action from being filed or moving forward unless the bank or mortgage company files an affidavit stating that the loan is not a federally backed mortgage, is vacant, or is not in forbearance. If the affidavit is not filed with the Court, then the case may be dismissed.

Judicial Branch is scheduling remote hearings in foreclosure cases:  Since the week of September 14, the Judicial Branch has been scheduling hearings in foreclosure cases where an execution has been requested, a hearing or status conference if necessary, and, in some circumstances, where the foreclosure has not proceeded as quickly as the court would like. If a hearing has been scheduled, the homeowner is supposed to receive notice from court staff providing instructions on how to participate in a remote hearing either by video or phone. 

What should homeowners do?

Foreclosure advice: The Center is holding Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions. Homeowners facing foreclosure can sign up for advice sessions over video or phone, and get some individualized questions answered in a way that they could at our in-person clinics or through the Judicial Branch’s Volunteer Attorney Program that we regularly staff during non-pandemic times. The program has been used by dozens of homeowners from across the state since it began this summer. Homeowners can sign up, answer a few short questions, and be set up with an appointment. These Sessions are in addition to the considerable number of videos and materials available at www.ctfairhousing.org.

Apply for T-MAP online:  The number of successful applications for the State’s TMAP program remains low. TMAP now has an on-line application in English. It has not yet been translated into Spanish. To apply for assistance by telephone, call 1-860-785-3111. For more information about the program, click here

Rising COVID-19 infections and hospitalization result in changes: Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 9L which extends all Executive Orders that are unexpired and current to February 9, 2021. This does not apply to the eviction moratorium scheduled to expire on December 31, 2020. The rollback reduces the number of people who can visit most businesses and other public spaces at one time.

Utilities must continue to offer payment plans to delinquent consumers:  The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) did not extend the moratorium on all utility shutoffs. However, PURA did order utility companies to offer payment plans to all customers regardless of hardship. Customers may negotiate payment plans up to 24 months in length.

Connecticut churches ask the Governor to declare racism a public health crisis: On Thursday, November 12, 38 churches and more than 700 congregation members will meet with at least 17 lawmakers to ask for a legislative agenda that addresses racial inequities in housing, education, public safety and health or people of color in Connecticut and for Black residents in particular.

Filing exhibits in remote hearings and trials: The Judicial Branch has not provided clear guidance on how self-represented parties can submit exhibits. The Judicial Branch has announced that, starting on November 16, 2020, attorneys without an exemption from electronic services must submit all exhibit documents in Civil and Family matters electronically in PDF format via the Judicial E-Services site. The notice states that electronic submission of exhibits will be optional for self-represented parties, but it does not provide instructions for how else self-represented may submit exhibits. 

We have heard of the following court access problems: 

Outreach:

  • Center staff continue to participate in Facebook Live, community Zoom meetings, and tele-townhalls with legislative officials. If you would like our assistance reaching your constituency, please contact our outreach coordinator rrattray@ctfairhousing.org.

Resources for tenants and homeowners:

  • here for more information on the Connecticut and federal CDC moratoriums.  
  • here to understand current rights for homeowners in Spanish and English.
  • here to understand how fair housing can protect you during the COVID-19 crisis. (Our guidance is now available in 11 languages.)
  • The Rent Recalculation Request tool can be accessed here in Spanish and English.
  • here.

More COVID-19 resources can be found on our website here.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR FAIR HOUSING RIGHTS IN ENGLISH, SPANISH, MANDARIN, VIETNAMESE, FARSI, RUSSIAN, ITALIAN, KREYOL, ARABIC, KHMER, AND TAGALOG, CLICK HERE.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER @CTFAIRHOUSING FOR UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE DAY.

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

November 6, 2020

The Connecticut Fair Housing Center makes a commitment to fight on because too many people depend on us and our ability to fight for them. The outcome of an election or the spread of a deadly virus does not alter the fact that discrimination continues, and people are on the brink of losing their homes. Your support is needed now more than ever as we must fight on. #wefighton

What happened since October 29, 2020:

Utilities must continue to offer payment plans to delinquent consumers:  The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) did not extend the moratorium on all utility shutoffs. However, PURA did order utility companies to offer payment plans to all customers regardless of hardship. Customers are able to negotiate payment plans up to 24 months in length.

State rolls back to Phase 2: Because of the increase in COVID-19 infections as well as an increase in hospitalizations, Governor Lamont has announced that the State will rollback its business openings to Phase 2 beginning on Friday, November 6. The rollback reduces the number of people who can visit most businesses and other public spaces at one time.

Since September 1, landlords have taken steps to move tenants out:

  • Motions for Default have been filed—A Motion for Default is filed when a tenant misses a court deadline or a court event. If the Motion for Default is granted, the tenant automatically loses the case, and the landlord can ask the court to issue an execution.

TRHAP program reopens: The TRHAP program began accepting new applications on Monday, October 26. Since then, approximately 2,500 submissions have been received. DOH recommends that tenants apply online at https://www.chfa.org/trhap/. However, the online form is still only available in English. Tenants who need assistance in Spanish and others who cannot apply online should call 1-860-785-3111 or 211.

Modifications to Connecticut eviction moratorium hurts tenants: On October 20, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 9H, which changes the eviction moratorium issued just a few weeks ago. Instead of ensuring that the eviction moratorium covers most tenants, the new order places limits on the reach of the eviction moratorium at a time when the number of COVID-19 cases are increasing to levels not seen since early in the pandemic. There is a high risk that tenants and landlords will be confused about the reach of existing protections, and that some landlords will resort to intimidation to get tenants out.   

CDC declaration in both English and Spanish with any Notice to Quit permitted by E.O. 9H, except Notices to Quit for serious nuisance; owes rent that was due on or before February 29, 2020; b) owes six or more months’ worth of rent that was due on or after March 1, 2020; c) has created a serious nuisance; or d) has a lease that expired and the landlord has a bona fide intention to use the unit as the landlord’s primary residence.

What should tenants do?

Tenants may not be covered by the Connecticut moratorium for various reasons, including that (1) their landlord filed an eviction case before the Connecticut moratorium began on April 10, 2020; (2) they owe rent that was due on or before February 29, 2020; (3) they owe six or more months’ worth of rent due on or after March 1, 2020; or (4) their lease has expired and the landlord has a bona fide intention to use the unit as the landlord’s primary residence.

  • : Tenants not covered by the Connecticut moratorium may still qualify for the federal CDC moratorium if they cannot pay their full rent or other housing payments because someone in their household lost income or has very expensive out-of-pocket medical bills. However, the CDC moratorium’s protection is not automatic. Tenants should begin by carefully reading the requirements a tenant must meet to qualify for the CDC moratorium. If every person over 18 in the household meets the requirements, then each of those people should fill out a CDC declaration and give each declaration to the landlord. Information about the declaration and how to create one is also available in Spanish. In addition, there are online forms here and here that can generate the CDC declaration. A summary of both the Connecticut and CDC moratoriums is available here.
  • : Courts are scheduling remote hearings and mediations. If a tenant receives notice of a remote hearing or mediation, the tenant must attend either by video or phone, even if they have already given their landlord a CDC declaration. The tenant should make sure to send their email address and phone number to the email address listed on the notice so that the court can send them the meeting invitation.
  • : Tenants should not ignore eviction papers, filing deadlines, or notices about remote court events. Courts have begun entering Default Judgments against tenants who fail to file forms on time or attend remote court events. Learn more about the eviction court process here.

Assistance for people without legal status: The State’s rental assistance program for people without legal status is now open. To access this assistance, people should contact Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI) at 1-203-612-5464 or rentalassist@cirict.org.

211: Additional government assistance may be available. Tenants may call 211 to confirm what rent and housing assistance is available in their area.

Mortgage Foreclosure

Foreclosure risk is growing:  A recent blog post from LISC, shows that seven months into the pandemic, there are more than 1 million households that are past due on their mortgage payments and not protected by a forbearance program. They are at near-term risk of foreclosure. Another 4 million households are in forbearance on their loans, and so are able to forestall their payments and avoid immediate loss. But they will be facing a significant financial burden to begin catching later this year or next and may ultimately find themselves unable to pay. The loss of wealth to these households—especially in communities of color, where many homeowners never fully recovered from the last economic downturn—could impact generations to come.

Affidavit required for foreclosure filings:  On September 24, the Judicial Branch issued a Standing Order that prohibits any foreclosure action from being filed or moving forward unless the bank or mortgage company files an affidavit stating that the loan is not a federally backed mortgage, is vacant, or is not in forbearance. If the affidavit is not filed with the Court, then the case may be dismissed.

Judicial Branch is scheduling hearings in foreclosure cases:  Since the week of September 14, the Judicial Branch has been scheduling hearings in foreclosure cases where an execution has been requested, a hearing or status conference if necessary, and, in some circumstances, where the foreclosure has not proceeded as quickly as the court would like. If a hearing has been scheduled, the homeowner is supposed to receive notice from court staff providing instructions on how to participate in a remote hearing either by video or phone. 

What should homeowners do?

Foreclosure advice: The Center is holding Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions. Homeowners facing foreclosure can sign up for advice sessions over video or phone, and get some individualized questions answered in a way that they could at our in-person clinics or through the Judicial Branch’s Volunteer Attorney Program that we regularly staff during non-pandemic times. The program has been used by dozens of homeowners from across the state since it began this summer. Homeowners can sign up, answer a few short questions, and be set up with an appointment. These Sessions are in addition to the considerable amount of videos and materials available at www.ctfairhousing.org.

Apply for T-MAP online:  The number of successful applications for the State’s TMAP program remains low. TMAP now has an on-line application in English. It has not yet been translated into Spanish. To apply for assistance by telephone, call 1-860-785-3111. For more information about the program, click here

Nationwide, landlords seek to overturn CDC moratoriumFederal lawsuits filed in Georgia and Ohio are the first of more to come as landlords seek to overturn an order by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent homelessness and COVID-19 spread by halting many evictions through Dec. 31. Fortunately, the Federal Court judge in Georgia denied the request to halt the implementation of the CDC moratorium citing research from the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Eviction Lab demonstrating that the CDC moratorium will halt the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Trump son-in-law moves to evict hundreds of tenants:  A real estate management company owned in part by the President’s son-in-law has filed hundreds of eviction cases in court seeking to remove low and moderate income tenants from their homes for non-payment of rent. While Maryland, where the housing is located, prevents landlords from removing tenants from their homes, tenants are being threatened with additional fees and costs if they do not leave.

CDC moratorium is not helping tenants stay in their homes:  Anchored in public health concerns that the economic stress of the pandemic will force millions of renters from the safety of their homes and into the crosshairs of a fast-spreading virus, the CDC order was designed to keep the estimated 40 million renters facing eviction this year in place through Jan. 1. “I want to make it unmistakably clear that I’m protecting people from evictions,” President Trump said in a statement when the CDC order was announced. Unfortunately, as tens of thousands of renters soon realized, rather than offer a bubble of stability in the midst of the pandemic, the federal response has injected confusion into housing courts. Because of the order’s wording, which gives local judges room for interpretation, and pushback from landlords, evictions have continued.

Courts have difficulty finding jurors:  A Connecticut Federal Court may have to postpone the State’s first post COVID-19 criminal trial because many people called to jury duty are refusing to serve for fear of becoming infected.

We have heard of the following court access problems: 

Outreach:

  • Center staff continue to participate in Facebook Live, community Zoom meetings, and tele-townhalls with legislative officials. If you would like our assistance reaching your constituency, please contact our outreach coordinator rrattray@ctfairhousing.org.

Resources for tenants and homeowners:

  • here for more information on the Connecticut and federal CDC moratoriums.  
  • here to understand current rights for homeowners in Spanish and English.
  • here to understand how fair housing can protect you during the COVID-19 crisis. (Our guidance is now available in 11 languages.)
  • The Rent Recalculation Request tool can be accessed here in Spanish and English.
  • here.

More COVID-19 resources can be found on our website here.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR FAIR HOUSING RIGHTS IN ENGLISH, SPANISH, MANDARIN, VIETNAMESE, FARSI, RUSSIAN, ITALIAN, KREYOL, ARABIC, KHMER, AND TAGALOG, CLICK HERE.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER @CTFAIRHOUSING FOR UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE DAY.

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