Changes to the CFPB’s Regulation F (Debt Collection Practices) Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

By: Christopher Saliba, Esquire

On April 19, 2021, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) issued an amendment to Regulation F, as identified by Docket CFPB-2021-0008. The interim final rule (“IFR”) now requires that debt collectors provide written notice to certain consumers about temporary eviction protections under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”)’s eviction moratorium. The IFR also prohibits a debt collector from misrepresenting that a consumer is ineligible for eviction protection under the moratorium.

The IFR provides that debt collectors who evict tenants that may have rights under the CDC moratorium without providing notice of the moratorium or who misrepresent tenants’ rights under the moratorium can be prosecuted for violations of FDCPA and are also subject to private lawsuits by tenants. Debt collectors who are seeking to evict tenants for non-payment of rent must provide tenants who may have rights under the CDC order with clear and conspicuous written notice of those rights. The notice must be provided in writing. Phone calls or electronic notice such as text messages or emails are not sufficient. The notice must be provided on the same date as the eviction notice, or, if no eviction notice is required by law, on the date that the eviction action is filed.

The amendment to the rule will take effect on May 3, 2021.

Some states and localities have adopted their own eviction moratoria, where debt collectors may be required to provide certain notices. The CFPB advised that IFR does not preempt more protective state law.

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