Residential landlords in Iowa and other parts of the country continue to struggle with the inconsistency and confusion among state courts regarding whether the additional 30-day notice to vacate requirement of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 is still applicable. Recently, a broad coalition of housing associations sent a letter to Congress urging an end to the CARES Act’s 30-day notice to vacate requirement by supporting H.R. 802, the Respect State Housing Laws Act, which would expressly end that requirement. Read the full letter here.
While many practitioners believe this 30-day notice to vacate requirement of the CARES Act was intended to be only temporary, other practitioners believe the opposite. Most importantly, many Iowa judges hearing evictions take the position that such requirement is still in effect long after the moratorium and the federal COVID-19 public health emergency have ended. A similar stance has been taken in a handful of other states including Colorado and Washington, where those states’ appellate courts have issued rulings, expressly holding that such requirement is still in effect.
In 2020, the federal CARES Act implemented a 120-day moratorium of evictions for nonpayment of rent in covered properties. (See section 4024, on pages 212-214 of the link 335-page pdf). The federal moratorium was set to and did expire on July 25, 2020. The CARES Act also implemented a 30-day notice to vacate requirement, as described below, for covered properties.
“Covered Properties” Under the CARES Act
Importantly, the above-noted provisions of the CARES Act only apply to landlords of “covered properties.” Below are the most common categories of “covered properties” under the CARES Act:
- The tenancy is or was subject to either a Section 8 or USDA Housing Choice voucher.
- The rental property is subject to a federal program, including Section 8 and/or LIHTC housing. (See Question 3 of the Iowa CARES Act Landlord Verification for a complete list.)
- The rental property is secured by a mortgage issued or guaranteed by: Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, a USDA direct loan or USDA guaranteed loan.
Landlords should check with their lenders, and property managers should inquire with their landlords, to determine whether each rental property falls into one of the above categories and, thus, is covered by the CARES Act.
30-day Notice-to-Vacate Requirement
The CARES Act provided that once the moratorium period expired on July 25, a landlord may not “require a tenant to vacate the unit [due to nonpayment of rent]” until 30 days after the landlord has provided the tenant with a written notice to vacate, and such notice may not be provided any sooner than July 25, 2020. Per the express language of such provision, when dealing with nonpaying tenants, landlords of covered properties were to provide an additional 30-day notice to vacate, in addition to the standard Iowa three-day notice of nonpayment of rent (or any other state’s notice to cure nonpayment), before commencement of an eviction action. The question is whether this 30-day notice to vacate requirement is still applicable years later.
Inconsistency and Confusion
As noted, many Iowa judges hearing evictions, as well as judges in certain other states, take the position that this 30-day notice to vacate requirement is still in effect, while many other states take the position that it is no longer in effect.
By way of example, in 2022, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that the 30-day notice to vacate requirement had expired for covered properties. However, months later, in a May 15, 2023, opinion, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled the CARES Act 30-day notice to vacate requirement was still in effect for covered properties. See the summary on this case by the National Apartment Association. Also, in a December 5, 2022, decision, the Washington State Court ruled that the CARES Act 30-day notice to vacate requirement is still in effect for covered properties.
Due to this inconsistency, the above-noted coalition of housing associations sent a letter to Congress urging an end to the CARES Act’s 30-day notice to vacate requirement by supporting H.R. 802, which would expressly end that requirement. Landlords in Iowa and other similarly situated states are keeping a close eye on this legislation.
What Does This Mean for Me
If you are a residential landlord of a covered property, you should consult counsel as to the status of the law in your state.
At this point, Iowa landlords of “covered properties” in counties where their magistrate judges take the position that the 30-day notice to vacate requirement is still in effect must give their nonpaying tenants a 30-day notice to vacate after nonpayment, in addition to Iowa’s standard 3-day notice of nonpayment. Such course will likely continue until either an Iowa appellate court hears this issue and rules that such requirement has expired, or Congress passes a bill expressly ending such requirement under the CARES Act, such as the pending H.R. 802.
If you have questions regarding anything addressed in this article, please contact Jodie McDougal at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 515.242.8971.