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Schatz, Ige clarify eviction ban

Gov. David Ige said Friday an eviction moratorium issued Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention applies to almost all of Hawaii.

Ige’s announcement came a day after announcing his own emergency statewide moratorium on evictions issued in April 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic expired Friday, and landlords could start eviction proceedings.

The governor’s statement, which was issued in apparent response to a Friday morning tweet by U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, said he received guidance from the CDC about its eviction moratorium order.

Schatz’s tweet said: “For all Hawaii tenants and landlords: We have now confirmed twice with the CDC that the new federal eviction moratorium applies to ALL counties across the state of Hawaii.”

On Thursday, Schatz, a Democrat and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Housing and Transportation, released a statement about the extension of the federal eviction moratorium.

“No one should be kicked out of their home during a pandemic because they can’t afford their rent,” Schatz said. “These extensions will stop evictions for thousands of Hawaii residents struggling to make ends meet — a necessary step taken by the Biden administration, and the right thing to do.”

Schatz’s Thursday statement had a link to a page on his website titled “relief for renters and homeowners.” That page can be found at bit.ly/3jyhEcW.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky’s order temporarily halts evictions in counties with heightened levels of community transmission in order to respond to recent developments in the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the surge of the Delta variant.

According to the CDC, the order is intended to target specific areas of the country where cases are rapidly increasing, which likely would be exacerbated by mass evictions.

Hawaii County reported 110 new COVID-19 cases Friday, with 986 active cases and 25 hospitalizations.

Ige said all four major counties in the state meet the criteria of substantial or high community transmission of the novel coronavirus. Only Kalawao County, essentially Kalaupapa, has a low level of transmission.

Ige’s statement said the CDC eviction moratorium applies only to “covered persons.”

To be covered, tenants/renters must attest that they have used best efforts to obtain all available governmental assistance for housing, and they must have made not more than $99,000 as an individual, not more than $198,000 as a joint filer, or are not required to report any income.

Renters should fill out the CDC declaration form to see if they qualify. If a renter qualifies, they must provide the completed and signed CDC declaration form to their landlord or landlord’s representative. Renters who don’t will not be protected from eviction.

“I encourage renters to apply for rental assistance, as counties have funding available,” said Ige.

Landlords and tenants should seek legal assistance if they have any questions regarding their rights and the impact of the CDC order. Eviction moratorium resources for each county are listed at bit.ly/3yyVQEy.

The temporary eviction ban will continue until a county no longer has substantial or high levels of community transmission for 14 consecutive days, or on Oct. 3, whichever comes earlier.

In July, Ige said renters will have a 30-day window after receipt of an eviction notice. He urged both renters and landlords to contact their local mediation centers about their rights under the law.

Mediation services on the Big Island are:

• East Hawaii: Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center, hawaiimediation.org

• West Hawaii: West Hawaii Mediation Center, whmediation.org/our-services/landlord-tenant

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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