Gov’t grants temporary moratorium on public housing evictions
By John McPhaul
The Public Housing Administration (AVP by its Spanish initials) on Sunday granted a temporary forbearance on evictions for non-payment of rent for residents of public housing and the Section 8 Program, pursuant to the order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The moratorium began on Sept. 4 and will last until Dec. 31 in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“The order issued by the CDC is independent of the eviction moratorium granted by the federal CARES [Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security] Act, which has now expired,” said AVP Administrator William Rodríguez Rodríguez. “Participants in the programs that require it will be able to take advantage of this benefit if they deem it necessary.”
Rodríguez also pointed out that “in keeping with the public policy of Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced, we will continue to seek and implement measures that allow us to protect the participants in both programs [AVP and Section 8] and also contribute to citizen collaboration in order to put an end to this pandemic that we continue to endure.”
Participants in public housing and Section 8 must submit a statement certifying, among other matters, the inability of the participant to make payments on time and efforts to meet rent payments, as well as their responsibility to comply with fees, penalties and interests that accrue during this period.
It was announced that the extension does not exempt residents from the obligation to pay rent and comply with the terms of the lease.
The extension also doesn’t stop landlords from charging fees, penalties or interest as a result of tenants’ inability to pay rent in a timely manner.
The AVP administrator also clarified that evictions not related to non-payment of rent can still take place, for example in the case of any criminal activity.
People interested in obtaining a copy of the declaration or obtaining additional information may contact their regional Section 8 offices or the administrative offices of the managing agent.
Once the moratorium is suspended, evictions will proceed in accordance with the processes previously established by the legislation and regulations in force.