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New Debt Collection Rules Impacts Landlord Eviction Notices

On April 19, 2021, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued an interim final rule which is intended to strengthen the protection of the CDC’s Eviction Moratorium which currently remains in effect through June 30, 2021. The CFPB final rule becomes effective on May 3, 2021.

Analysis of the CFPB Rule
The CFPB’s rule prevents “debt collectors” (which includes landlords and attorneys they hire to perform evictions) from pursuing any eviction action for non-payment of rent without first disclosing, clearly and conspicuously in writing, that the tenant may be eligible for temporary protection from eviction under the CDC Moratorium.
The CFPB issued this rule because it believes that tenants were not aware of their rights under the CDC moratorium, and because some debt collectors pursuing evictions may have been misrepresenting tenants’ rights.

What Landlords Should Do Going Forward
The CFPB has provided the following suggested language that landlords should include in their eviction notices to tenants in order to comply with this rule:
Because of the global COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for temporary protection from eviction under Federal Law. Learn the steps you should take now: or call a housing counselor at 800-569-4287.

Under the CFPB rule an “eviction notice” is defined as the earliest written notification to a tenant that must be provided before an eviction action against the tenant may be filed. In Massachusetts, that definition applies to a Notice to Quit or a Notice Terminating Tenancy.

This notice must only be provided to tenants who are protected by the CDC Moratorium. It would not generally apply to tenants subject to eviction for cause-based evictions. However, Massachusetts landlords should consider adding this to all of their future Notices to Quit and/or Notices Terminating Tenancy in order to avoid accidental non-compliance with the rule.

If you have questions about this new rule or would like to discuss eviction/summary process matters, please contact Attorney Steven D. Weil or Attorney Andrew M. Kepple, our landlord/tenant attorneys at 508-541-3000.

This blog is for informational purposes only.  It should not be considered legal advice.  All those who read this blog should seek the advice of a professional before taking action based upon any information provided herein.

© 2021 Doherty, Dugan, Cannon, Raymond & Weil, P.C.