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Qualifying for an Eviction Moratorium

Qualifying for an Eviction Moratorium

Preventing evictions for tenants who are behind on their rent


As the pandemic continues to threaten the economic and housing security of so many community members, Just-A-Start is working to help Massachusetts tenants remain in their homes. This page contains information about how tenants who are behind on their rent may qualify for eviction prevention through a federal eviction moratorium.


What is the federal eviction moratorium?

The automatic Massachusetts Eviction Moratorium ends October 17, 2020 at midnight.

However, if you qualify, a federal moratorium can prevent your physical eviction until December 31, 2020.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order, Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19, effective September 4 through December 31, 2020. However, this order is not automatic. To be protected from physical eviction by this order, tenants must qualify under five specific criteria and complete a signed declaration form.

Please note: this order does not prevent a landlord from starting court proceedings or obtaining an eviction order. This order solely protects tenants from physical eviction until after December 31st.

Are you eligible for eviction protection under the federal moratorium?

All adult tenants in a household must meet all five of the criteria below:

  • Expect to have income less than $99,000 in 2020, or have received a stimulus check, or not have been required to report income to the IRS in 2019
  • Be unable to pay full rent due to an income loss or “extraordinary” medical bills
  • Have used best efforts to obtain governmental rent assistance
  • Be likely to become homeless or forced to “live in close quarters” in another residence if evicted
  • Promise to “make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit.”

If you meet the above criteria:

  • To be protected under this order, tenants must fill out a signed declaration form, sworn under penalty of perjury, and present it to their landlord.
  • Each adult listed on the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract should complete this required declaration to avoid eviction.
  • Tenants will still owe the rent and are required to follow all the other terms of the lease and rules of the place where they live under this order. They may also still be evicted for reasons other than not paying rent or making a house payment.
  • Foreclosures on home mortgages are not included.

Click here for a copy of the Declaration Form to complete and present to your landlord.

To review the CDC’s updated Frequently Asked Questions about the order, please click here.

Do you need further assistance?

Just-A-Start cannot offer you legal advice, but our Housing Specialists can answer questions about rental assistance or the Declaration Form.  If you are at risk of eviction, please call Kristina Carvalho at 617-918-7510.