DOYLESTOWN >> Bucks County residents unable to make rent may qualify through the end of the year for protection from eviction under a new federal rule.
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and dramatic unemployment spikes across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week ordered a nationwide halt to evictions for non-payment of rent until 2021.
The order is also intended to prevent transmission of the coronavirus by keeping renters in their homes and out of shelters or other congregate living settings where the virus can rapidly spread.
This new order does not stop evictions for reasons other than non-payment. Such proceedings will likely be delayed until at least January if a signed declaration is presented.
Renters covered under this new rule must be unable to pay full rent due to loss of household income, make less than $99,000 a year, have made efforts to receive government rent assistance and have made efforts to make partial rent payments as close to the full amount as possible.
County residents unable to pay their rent should contact Bucks County Housing Link at 1-800-810-4434. Doing so fulfills the requirement for seeking government assistance. The Bucks County Commissioners have increased funding for Housing Link rental assistance to handle additional need during the pandemic.
Jeffrey Fields, director of the Bucks County Department of Housing & Community Development, urged all renters in Bucks County who have either received an eviction notice or are worried they will receive a notice because they are behind on their rent, to call the Housing Link immediately.
“We want to spread the word that assistance is available to county residents during these trying times. It is important that all residents know to call the Housing Link to avoid eviction,” Fields said. “It is also crucial that tenants are aware of the declaration that affords them protection under the CDC order and that they give a signed copy to their landlord right away. If an eviction is already filed, send or drop off the declaration at your local Magisterial District Court as well.”
The declaration form can be found online, or picked up at a number of locations throughout Bucks County, including several nonprofits and the county’s District Courts.
A list of pickup locations is available via a flyer created by the county Department of Housing & Community Development.