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CFPB: Evicted Tenants Can Hold Debt Collectors Accountable

The bureau’s final rule says “debt collectors” must give written notice to tenants before an eviction, with prosecution and private lawsuits possible if they don’t.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued an interim final rule in support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s eviction moratorium.

The CFPB’s rule requires debt collectors to provide written notice to tenants of their rights under the eviction moratorium. It also prohibits debt collectors from misrepresenting tenants’ eligibility for protection from eviction under the moratorium.

If a debt collector evicts tenants who may have rights under the moratorium without providing notice of the moratorium – or who misrepresent tenants’ rights under the moratorium – can be prosecuted by federal agencies and state attorneys general for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), CFPB says. They’re also subject to private lawsuits by tenants.

“We will hold accountable those debt collectors who move forward with illegal evictions,” says CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio. “We encourage debt collectors to work with tenants and landlords to find solutions that work for everyone.”

CDC moratorium

A temporary eviction moratorium ordered by the CDC has been extended through June 30, 2021. The CDC order generally prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for non-payment of rent if the tenant submits a written declaration saying they’re unable to afford full rental payments and would likely become homeless or have to move into a shared living setting.

This prohibition applies to an agent or attorney acting as a debt collector on behalf of a landlord or owner of the residential property.

According to a recent Government Accountability Office report, tenants facing eviction may be unaware of the moratorium or may not understand the steps they must take to act on its protections. Declarations can be submitted in languages other than English, and alternative forms are available online.

Reference papers released by CFPB

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