Consumer Financial Protection Bureau allows tenants to hold debt collectors accountable for illegal evictions
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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau allows tenants to hold debt collectors accountable for illegal evictions

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on Monday issued a rule supporting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) eviction moratorium, and requiring debt collectors to provide written notice to tenants of their rights under the eviction moratorium.

The rule further prohibits debt collectors, including attorneys, from misrepresenting tenants’ eligibility for protection from eviction under the moratorium.

CDC extended the eviction moratorium through June 30, which has already been a subject of litigation. The moratorium generally limits the circumstances in which people may be evicted from residential property. CDC stated that the relaxation of community mitigation efforts may contribute to a rise in COVID-19 cases despite the recent uptick in vaccinations. Further, the eviction of tenants increases the spread of COVID-19, as many renters move into congregate settings.

The rule enacted by the CFPB prevents debt collectors from misrepresenting people’s rights under the moratorium. The CFPB reported that many renters are unaware of their rights under the moratorium or may not have understood necessary steps to use the protections. Renters can find the moratorium declarations to give to their landlords here.

Debt collectors must now provide notice in writing to renters of their rights under the moratorium. Should debt collectors violate this rule, renters will be able to bring suit against them. They can be held liable for actual damages, statutory damages and attorney’s fees. Additionally, class action lawsuits may be brought under the new rule.

Some states and municipalities have their own eviction moratoria, and debt collectors may be required to provide notice of that as well. This rule does not preempt any more protective state or local measures. The rule becomes effective May 3.