Evictions are on hold in Cambridge during the coronavirus crisis. (Photo: 70023venus2009 via Flickr)

A moratorium on evictions and “nonessential entry by property owners and their agents into occupied dwelling units” is in place in Cambridge for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, officials announced Friday.

The order applies to residential and commercial evictions and goes into effect immediately and until further notice, according to a 5:43 p.m. email announcing the emergency order from Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui, City Manager Louis A. DePasquale and commissioner of public health Dr. Assaad Sayah. The order explains:

It prohibits forcibly evicting tenants … to provide for the health, safety and stability of those who live in and serve our community. Additionally, landlords and/or property owners are not permitted to enter a tenant’s dwelling for nonessential purposes, including the showing of property for sale or rent to potential purchasers/renters without tenant consent.

“We have been consistent with our message: The health and safety of our residents is our No. 1 priority. We need residents to stay home and prevent the spread of Covid-19, and to comply, residents must have a place to call home,” Siddiqui and DePasquale said. “Evicting residents and commercial tenants during this time would go against our public health priorities and our decency as a community during a public health crisis.”

The moratorium does not prevent property owners from filing eviction actions – or from actual evictions once the public health emergency is deemed at an end – but it does prevent property owners and landlords from carrying out a forcible eviction now.

Tenants and homeowners should continue to make payments or work out payment plans with their landlords or lenders, the officials said, promising a letter to rental housing owners and managers throughout the city with further recommendations about suspension of rent increases, and flexibility for rent payments.

This post was written from a press release.