Human Rights Watch: “While many large institutional landlords can absorb losses stemming from unpaid rent, many small landlords are struggling and need their tenants to receive rental assistance. Though some moratoriums, like the one passed in New York, temporarily prevent mortgage lenders from foreclosing on small landlords who miss payments due to economic hardship, many could be financially distressed after the pandemic ends.
This could have serious consequences for the rental market. Small property owners typically evict at lower rates and charge lower rents than large corporate landlords. Many advocates are concerned that, without financial relief, large corporations will purchase millions of distressed properties, making housing less affordable and more insecure. This exact dynamic occurred after the 2008 financial crisis, and major private equity firms are reportedly viewing the Covid-19 economic downturn as another opportunity to cheaply acquire rental properties.”
Human Rights Watch: “No. The CDC’s moratorium has been a crucial stopgap measure that has potentially saved millions from losing their homes. However, there have still been numerous reports of evictions for inability to pay across the country. This is due to serious flaws in the moratorium.
First, and most crucially, many of the moratorium’s provisions are vaguely worded. Because it is ultimately enforced in local courts, individual judges in different localities have varied greatly in how protectively they have interpreted it. For example, some judges have held it does not extend to “holdover evictions” in which a tenant’s lease ends and the landlord refuses to renew.
Second, in some cases, judges have required tenants to prove that they suffered substantial economic hardship and that they made “best efforts” to obtain government assistance and pay rent, a process that can be overly burdensome for tenants. Finally, the moratorium does not require landlords to inform tenants that they are protected, leading some to leave their homes because they are unaware of their rights, sometimes without ever going to court.
Another major flaw in the CDC moratorium is that, even when it keeps tenants in their homes, it often still allows landlords to file for eviction, which initiates the process of removing a tenant. Between January 10 and January 16 alone, there were 4,901 new eviction filings in just the 27 cities across the country tracked by Princeton University’s Eviction Lab. Because these records are often public, the impacts of an eviction filing can follow people for many years, making it significantly harder for them to find housing. Landlords often refuse to rent to those with an eviction filing on their record, and in some cases, will use the threat of filing for eviction to coerce tenants into leaving their homes.”
Treasury: “Yes, to the extent administratively feasible, grantees must require applicants to document that they have (i) qualified for unemployment benefits or (ii) experienced a reduction in income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to COVID-19 that threaten the household’s ability to pay the costs of the rental property when due.
Grantees must also require applicants to demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, which may include past due rent and utility notices and eviction notices, if any, as part of the application process.”
Treasury: “Grantees must make reasonable efforts to obtain the cooperation of landlords and utility providers to accept payments from the ERA program. Outreach will be considered complete if a request for participation is sent in writing, by certified mail, to the landlord or utility provider, and the addressee does not respond to the request within 21 calendar days after mailing; or, if the grantee has made at least three attempts by phone or email over a 21 calendar-day period to request the landlord or utility provider’s participation. All efforts must be documented. The cost of the mailing would be an eligible administrative cost.”
Treasury: “The statute provides that grantees may determine income eligibility by reference to either (i) household total income for calendar year 2020 or (ii) sufficient confirmation of the household’s monthly income at the time of application, as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury (Secretary).
With respect to each household applying for assistance, grantees may choose between using the definition of “annual income” as provided by HUD in 24 CFR 5.609 and using adjusted gross income as defined for purposes of reporting under Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 1040 series for individual Federal annual income tax purposes.
For determining annual income, grantees should obtain at the time of application source documents evidencing annual income (e.g., wage statement, interest statement, unemployment compensation statement), or a copy of Form 1040 as filed with the IRS for the household.
For determining monthly income, grantees must obtain income source documentation, as listed above, for at least the two months prior to the submission of the application for assistance. If an applicant qualifies based on monthly income, the grantee must redetermine the household income eligibility every three months for the duration of assistance.”
Treasury: “No. The statute does not prohibit the enrollment of households for only prospective benefits. Section 501(c)(2)(B)(iii) of Division N of the Act does provide that assistance to reduce rental arrears, if any, must be provided before prospective rental benefits may be provided. The statute also provides a limitation on prospective benefits of three months at one time.”
National Association of REALTORS®: “The December COVID-relief package included $25 billion for rental assistance. The monies will be allocated to states through the Department of Treasury. State allocations will be based on population, no state will receive less than $200 million. The language allows landlords to apply for funds on behalf of tenants (but requires the tenant to sign the application form). Rental payments may include rent in arrears as well as utilities and other expenses related to housing.
In addition, a number of states are already providing some limited rental assistance through previous COVID-relief funds. More information can be found here under ‘State Rent Or Mortgage Relief Programs’.”
Experian: “It might be appealing to collect rewards or preserve cash by paying rent with a credit card, but it might be a bad idea. Here are three reasons:
(1) A processing fee of around 2.5% to 2.9% might be added to your monthly rent payment when you pay with a credit card. This could add to your financial burden or wipe out any credit card rewards you receive.
(2) Your credit utilization ratio could go up, which then can harm your credit score. This ratio shows how much of your available credit you’re using. The lower your ratio, the better, but it’s smart to keep the overall utilization ratio and the ratio on each card below 30%. Going above that percentage could really start to hurt your credit scores. Your credit utilization ratio is an important factor in your scores, second only to your payment history with most scoring models.
(3) You might max out a credit card, which would prevent you from using it for other purchases, and—as stated above—have big credit score consequences.”
Experian: “Many people pay rent with a credit card because they want to earn travel, cash back or other credit card rewards. Cash back rewards range from 1% to 3%. So, if you pay $1,400 in rent, you could earn $14 to $42 in cash back if you put that monthly payment on your credit card. Depending on the fees your landlord charges, however, rewards may not be enough to justify paying with your card.
Paying rent with a credit card could also help you build credit as some services, including RentTrack, will report your on-time rent payments to the three major credit bureaus. On-time rent payments aren’t typically reported to credit bureaus, and their presence could help you build a positive history and lift your credit scores.
Some renters might want to put rent on a credit card to take advantage of the card’s sign-up bonus. Let’s say you’re approved for a card that gives you a $250 bonus if you spend $5,000 on the card within your first three months with the card. You could go a long way toward scoring that bonus if you put $1,400 a month in rent payments on that card over the three-month bonus period (a total of $4,200). Just be sure to pay down this balance immediately so it doesn’t tank your credit utilization, which is a big factor in your credit scores.
Still other renters might be strapped for cash—as we’ve seen a lot during the pandemic—and must depend on a credit card to pay rent. This can preserve cash for other expenses, but it could turn into a bad habit if you let your credit card balance roll over from one month to the next. That’s because interest will continue to be assessed as long as you maintain a balance. If you’ve already done everything you can to reduce expenses and increase your income, paying your rent with a credit card could be a good option to prevent missed payments and eviction.
Putting your rent on a credit card also might let you avoid taking out a payday loan. Taking into account the sky-high fees, the effective APR (annual percentage rate) on a short-term payday loan can exceed 1,000%. By comparison, the typical APR on a credit card was roughly 16.5% in August 2020.”
Experian: “Many landlords refuse to accept credit cards as a method of paying rent. But if you make monthly rent payments to a big property management company or use a third-party service, you might be able to do it.
Putting your rent payment on a credit card often results in an extra fee, however. For instance, the New York City Housing Authority lets tenants pay rent with a Visa or Mastercard credit card, but it imposes a convenience fee of 2.25%.
Why does paying rent by credit card result in fees being charged? Anytime a credit card transaction is made, the merchant must pay a processing fee. In many cases, merchants protect their profits by making you pay a little more.
A landlord normally requires you to pay a credit card processing fee on top of your rent and any other fees. The processing fee typically ranges from 2.5% to 2.9%. So, if you pay $1,400 a month for rent and the processing fee is 2.5%, an extra $35 will be tacked onto the payment. Over a year’s time, those fees would add up to $420, which represents about 30% of a single month’s rent payment.
If your landlord doesn’t accept credit card payments, you might be able to pay with a credit card through an online service like Plastiq, RadPad or RentTrack. These services could help you build credit and avoid late payments, but they’ll charge a fee to convert your credit card payment into a payment to the landlord. The fee is 2.85% for Plastiq, 2.99% for RadPad and 2.95% for RentTrack.
If you don’t want to put your rent on a credit card, your landlord likely offers other payment methods. They include:
- Check (personal, certified or cashier’s)
- Automated ACH payment from a bank account
- Money order
- Payment apps like Venmo, Zelle, Apple Pay, PayPal and Square”
MarketWatch: “How courts handle eviction cases varies from state to state, but legal experts stressed that tenants must make every effort to appear on the court date they are assigned.
“Some states have adopted rules that require landlords to disclose whether a CDC declaration has been received,” said Eric Dunn, director of litigation at the National Housing Law Project. “But for the most part, if the tenant doesn’t appear and inform the court that they presented a declaration, the court won’t be aware of that and will likely enter a default judgment against the tenant.”
Because there is no specified deadline by which a renter must make their declaration to their landlord, the renter could even theoretically present it in court and be protected from eviction, Dunn argued, though that final decision would be a judge’s to make.
Beforehand, tenants should retain a lawyer to argue on their behalf in court or ask a judge to appoint counsel for them. Many legal aid groups across the country offer pro-bono services to renters in matters like these.
A lawyer will advise renters of what documentation they need, especially if they expect their landlords will challenge the truthfulness of their attestation under the CDC moratorium.
“Renters should gather as much proof as they can of all the eligibility requirements in the declarative statement,” Yentel said. This can include anything from pay stubs to unemployment paperwork to emails showing they sought out rental assistance.
Renters should also make sure they have access to an internet connection and video conferencing software like Zoom, because many courts are holding eviction cases virtually amid the pandemic.”
CDC: “The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has coronavirus-related resources for renters available on its website.
In addition, there are state and local resources available for renters and landlords. HUD has allocated and made available $4 billion in Emergency Solutions Grants and $5 billion in Community Development Block Grants, including $2 billion in grants focusing on areas with increased eviction risk. State and local authorities are able to use these funds for rental assistance. Tenants and landlords are encouraged to connect with local and state authorities to find out how to access these funds. Contact information for many of these authorities can be found on the HUD website.
HUD has also released guidance on rent repayment plans for tenants and landlords, though that guidance is not specific to requesting protection from eviction under this order.
In addition, the HHS Administration for Children and Families administers the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program. The CSBG funds States, territories, tribes, and local nonprofit Community Action Agencies (CAAs) that provide a variety of services for low-income families and individuals. Based on needs identified within the community, CSBG funds flexible support that territories, tribes, CAAs and other eligible entities can use to meet the unique needs of children, youth, and families, including housing-related needs. To access these resources, individuals and families may wish to contact their state and local authorities at:
CDC: “The Order applies only in states (including the District of Columbia), localities, territories, or tribal areas that do not have in place a moratorium on residential evictions that provides the same or greater level of public-health protection than the CDC’s Order. Relevant courts deciding these matters should make the decision about whether a state order or legislation provides the same or greater level of public health protection. The Order does not apply in American Samoa, which has reported no cases of COVID- 19. Should COVID-19 cases be reported in American Samoa, the Order would then be applicable to American Samoa.
CDC is aware of the following websites for more information on state-by-state eviction moratoriums:
- NOLO’s database on Emergency Bans on Evictions by State
- Eviction Lab’s COVID-19 Housing Policy Scorecard
- Perkins Coie’s COVID-19 Related Eviction and Foreclosure Orders/Guidance 50-state tracker
- RHLS’ Eviction Moratorium Maps page
CDC is providing these links for your awareness only. CDC has not evaluated and does not endorse these websites.”
CDC: “The effective date of the CDC Order is September 4, 2020. That means that any evictions for nonpayment of rent that may have been initiated prior to September 4, 2020, but have yet to be completed, will be subject to the Order. Any tenant who qualifies as a “Covered Person” and is still present in a rental unit is entitled to protections under the Order. Any eviction that occurred prior to September 4, 2020 is not subject to the Order.”
Individuals are not obligated to use the CDC form. Any written document that an eligible individual presents to their landlord will comply with the Order, as long as it contains the same information as the CDC declaration form.
All declarations, regardless of the form used, must be signed, and must include a statement that the covered person understands that they could be liable for perjury for any false or misleading statements or omissions in the declaration.
In addition, people are allowed to use a form translated into other languages. Even though declarations with other languages may satisfy the requirement that a covered person must submit a declaration, CDC cannot guarantee that they in fact do satisfy the requirement. However, declarations in languages other than English are compliant if they contain the information required to be in a declaration, are signed, and include a statement that the covered person understands that they could be liable for perjury for any false or misleading statements or omissions in the declaration.
To seek the protections of the Order, each adult listed on the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract should complete and sign a declaration and provide it to the landlord where they live. Individuals should not submit completed and signed declarations to the CDC or any other federal agency. In certain circumstances, such as individuals filing a joint tax return, it may be appropriate for one member of the residence to provide an executed declaration on behalf of other adult residents party to the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract at issue.”
CDC: “’Eviction’ means any action by a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or a possessory action, to remove or cause the removal of a covered person from a residential property. State and local laws with respect to tenant-landlord relations vary, as do the eviction processes used to implement those laws. The judicial process will be carried out according to state and local laws and rules. Eviction does not include foreclosure on a home mortgage.
As indicated in the Order, courts should take into account the Order’s instruction not to evict a covered person from rental properties where the Order applies. The Order is not intended to terminate or suspend the operations of any state or local court. Nor is it intended to prevent landlords from starting eviction proceedings, provided that the actual eviction of a covered person for non-payment of rent does NOT take place during the period of the Order. State and local courts may take judicial notice of the CDC Order, and the associated criminal penalties that may be imposed for non-compliance in making a formal judgment about any pending or future eviction action filed while this Order remains in effect.”
HUD: “HUD has not waived the requirement in 24 CFR 960.253 that says the family may not be offered a choice of rent more than once a year. However, 24 CFR 960.253(g)(1) states that a family paying “flat rent may at any time request a switch to payment of income-based rent (before the next annual option to select the type of rent) if the family is unable to pay flat rent because of financial hardship.” If the PHA determines that the family is unable to pay the flat rent because of financial hardship, the PHA must immediately allow the requested switch to income-based rent pursuant to 24 CFR 960.253(g)(2).
If the family reports that their income increased after they switched to income-based rent, the PHA is not required to conduct a reexamination immediately to increase their rent. Pursuant to 24 CFR 960.257(a)(1), a PHA must conduct a reexamination of a family paying income-based rent at least annually. However, if a PHA ACOP requires a reexamination to occur immediately upon a family’s income increase and the PHA does not want to increase the rents for these families, a PHA could revise its policies to allow the family to stay at their current rent until the next annual reexamination.”
HUD: “Since this is not counted as part of the family’s adjusted income it would not be included in the calculation for these purposes. Under 24 CFR 982.305(a), the PHA may not give approval for the family of the assisted tenancy, or execute a HAP contract, until the PHA has determined that all listed program requirements have been met, including 982.305(a)(5), that the family share does not exceed 40 percent of the family’s monthly adjusted income.”
National Association of REALTORS®: “In addition to the eviction moratorium in the CARES Act, Many other state and local governments have adopted various types of eviction moratoriums or other measures to slow or prevent tenant evictions. Housing providers need to be familiar with any such state or local anti-eviction provisions to avoid violating the law and complicating evictions later. Also, in addition to eviction moratoriums adopted by federal, state, and local governments, many state courts have adopted restrictions on judicial proceedings, including eviction actions. That means that even when eviction moratoriums have ended, it may be very difficult to initiate eviction filings and schedule court proceedings to complete the eviction process.”
National Association of REALTORS®: “There is no timeframe specified in the notice. The declaration/attestation is simply provided to the landlord before the tenant has been evicted. There is no waiting period or time requirement provided by the Notice. There is a form provided in the Notice, but the tenant is not required to utilize that form. They can supply the declaration in any written form they prefer.”
National Association of REALTORS®: “No: The moratorium prohibits housing providers from evicting, but does not forgive the rent that is due. In fact, for tenants who have attested and received the eviction moratorium, a property owner or agent may charge penalties, late fees and interest, per the lease.”
New York Times: “Seek counsel. You can search for a low- or no-cost legal assistance office near you via the Legal Services Corporation’s online map. Just Shelter, a tenant advocacy group, also offers information on local organizations that can help renters.
A lawyer can also help if a landlord tries a different approach. For instance, a landlord might try to sue in small claims court over partial payments, without filing an eviction notice that might be illegal under the order, Mr. Dunn said.”
New York Times: “No. Aside from the income caps, your local rules may apply instead. If you’re in a state, territory or tribal area that already has a moratorium in place that provides the same or better level of protection, then that more local action will take its place. Local jurisdictions are also still free to impose stronger restrictions than the federal order. California’s moratorium goes through the end of January, for example.
The federal moratorium doesn’t apply in American Samoa, though it will if it reports its first coronavirus cases.”
New York Times: “You might. The order specifically mentions this possibility. And the National Rental Home Council, a trade group for landlords who own single-family properties, said in a statement Wednesday that “once the moratorium expires, renters will owe back rent for several months.”
New York Times: “Yes. All the usual rules about criminal behavior or disruptions or destruction of property still apply. And it’s possible that a landlord will look hard for some other reason to start the eviction process, so it’s wise to follow every term of the lease, as well as any other building or property rule.
Amy Woolard, a lawyer and policy coordinator for the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, Va., warned of one issue that she and her colleagues frequently see cited in eviction cases: people not on the lease who are living at the property. This could be an issue if you’re hosting guests — like a family member who has already been evicted elsewhere.”
New York Times: “The order does not deal with roommates directly, but the officials clarified that the income cap was $99,000 per roommate. As for who should pay what if just one person can’t pay in full, the specifics may depend on the terms of the lease, any written agreement between you and your roommate, and applicable state or local law.
Eric Dunn, director of litigation for the National Housing Law Project, said it was possible that housing court judges would interpret the order expansively in this context. For example, consider a scenario where one roommate would become homeless if evicted but the other could move in with parents in an uncrowded home. In that instance, he said, the second roommate could not truthfully sign the declaration.”
Soon after the order appeared, the Legal Innovation and Technology lab at Suffolk University Law School created an interactive tool that can help people determine if they are eligible. It can also generate a declaration to give to a landlord.”
New York Times: “Landlords who disagree with renters’ self-assessments could try to evict nonpaying tenants by arguing that they are not a “covered person” within the order’s scope and dare them to fight back legally. Then it could be up to a housing court judge to decide if a renter is eligible or if the landlord can, in fact, evict.”
New York Times: “You must meet a five-pronged test.
- You need to have used your “best efforts” to obtain any and all forms of government rental assistance.
- You can’t “expect” to earn more than $99,000 in 2020, or $198,000 if you’re married and filing a joint tax return. If you don’t qualify that way, you could still be eligible if you did not need to report any income at all to the federal government in 2019 or if you received a stimulus check this year.
- You must be experiencing a “substantial” loss of household income, a layoff or “extraordinary” out-of-pocket medical expenses (which the order defines as any unreimbursed expense likely to exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income this year).
- You have to be making your best efforts to make “timely” partial payments that are as close to the full amount due as “circumstances may permit,” taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses.
- Eviction would “likely” lead to either homelessness or your having to move to a place that was more expensive or where you could get sick from being close to others.”
National Association of REALTORS®: “The moratorium ended on July 25, 2020. At that point, a housing provider may initiate eviction proceedings. However, the CARES Act says that a housing provider cannot require a tenant to vacate a unit for 30 days after providing a notice to vacate a unit. So, if a housing provider gives a notice to vacate on July 25 (a Saturday), the earliest date a tenant can be evicted is Monday, August 24, 2020.”
HUD: “To provide relief for Multifamily property owners, HUD has extended the audited financial reporting deadlines until September 30, 2020. This waiver is limited to entities which are required to submit the referenced annual financial information on or before June 30, 2020. Consequently, entities required to submit financial information on or before June 30, 2020 are now required to submit their financial information no later than September 30, 2020, and as otherwise provided by law. Projects with annual financial due dates after June 30, 2020, are still required to submit the financial information within 90 days of the owner’s fiscal year end date.
Note that this waiver does not apply to submissions of financial information that were delinquent as of March 20, 2020.”
Washington Post: “Eviction laws are complicated and can differ by state, city and courthouse. For renters unfamiliar with the process, finding an attorney could be helpful.
A legal aid attorney may be able to help a renter determine whether the landlord is violating any federal programs. For example, the Federal Housing Finance Agency granted additional relief for property owners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, allowing them to temporarily skip some payments.
Those landlords were barred from filing eviction complaints or charging late fees while receiving that help. But it may be difficult for a renter to determine what protections should cover them without legal help, housing advocates say.
Many legal-aid attorneys work pro bono or for a small fee and can be found on LawHelp.org or through a local housing rights group.”
Washington Post: “Yes, the moratorium prevents landlords from evicting tenants, but the rent continues to accumulate. However, depending on the type of moratorium, landlords may be prevented from charging late fees or other penalties to delinquent renters.
Some states and cities have set up local rental-assistance programs to help tenants cover their missed payments. Austin, for example, distributed $1.2 million in an emergency rental relief fund in May, helping about 1,600 of the 11,000 who applied. In July, it announced another $17 million program.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition is tracking local rental-assistance programs here.”
Washington Post: “Yes, eviction court hearings are still going on in pockets of the country. In some cases, judges are allowing renters and landlords to attend hearings by phone or video conferencing. Others are holding in-person hearings and attempting to maintain social distancing within the courtrooms.
“If you have a notice to appear, pay attention” and read all the court paperwork carefully, said Roller of the National Housing Law Project. If a tenant does not appear for a scheduled hearing, the judge can grant a default order against them, allowing the landlord to move forward with the eviction, he said.
Many renters leave their homes as soon as they receive an eviction notice, but that may not be necessary, housing advocates say. There is a huge backlog of cases across the country that could take months to get through, they say.”
CityLab: “Renters who live in a property backed by the federal government cannot be evicted for the time being. This eviction moratorium applies to a vast web of mortgages financed, insured or securitized by federal agencies (such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) as well as homes subsidized through federal aid programs (like Section 8).
For tenants in apartment buildings, there are a few tools available to figure out whether the eviction moratorium applies where they live. On May 4, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac both launched look-up tools: Renters can enter their building name and address to find out whether the property is federally backed. The National Low Income Housing Coalition put out a similar tool in April.”
CityLab: “Maybe! But before you ask, you might want to remember that many landlords report spending more on maintenance costs, hiring cleaners ‘round the clock to scrub mailrooms and common spaces. Rent abatements are subject to normal lease rules. Rent increases are frozen in a few cities and states for now.”
Realtor.com: “While it varies by state, in most cases, the coronavirus has not affected long-term rental prices, says Sheryl Jenks, licensed real estate salesperson for Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Sayville, NY.
She says short-term rental demand increased significantly due to people from city centers seeking more space and outdoor areas to shelter in place.”
Realtor.com: “Relocating during a pandemic may not seem like the best timing, but if you must, it is doable.
“With proper safety precautions and the use of online tools to assist in the process, there isn’t any reason why delaying would be necessary,” says Stinson. “Unless, of course, there are restrictions in a renter’s area.”
Hardeman says it should be a personal decision after weighing the pros and cons involved with relocating during a pandemic.”
Tools such as photos, online tours, and virtual walk-throughs on FaceTime or Zoom are the next best option to actually touring the property and will give you a sense of the layout and amenities.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Stinson says the best way to learn about a property is to develop a relationship with your future landlord.
She says future tenants could also ask to speak with a current or past resident to determine if the home is a good fit for them. If possible, she recommends driving by the location to get a feel for the neighborhood.”
Realtor.com: “Physically walking through a home or apartment to view it is riskier now more than ever, but it is still possible—with some precautions.
“With proper social distancing, masks, and hand sanitizing, having an in-person showing can still be a safe option,” says Sarah Stinson, a spokesperson for Turbo Tenant.
‘In-person apartment tours are allowed now, but with occupancy restrictions,’ says Pisani. ‘We are not conducting open houses or showings en masse for the foreseeable future.’”
Washington Post: Renters unable to pay should immediately alert their landlords. Housing advocates and property owners agree this is the best first step. Landlords are typically more willing to negotiate with tenants who contact them quickly, rather than those who hunker down and stay quiet, they say.
‘A lot of landlords are willing to work with people in this situation. They would rather keep a tenant who can pay less than try to get someone new in,’ said Shamus Roller, executive director of the National Housing Law Project.
Some property managers are waiving late fees or providing other types of help, said Bob Pinnegar, chief executive of the National Apartment Association, but it depends on their finances. Property managers ‘are helping when and where they can, but they must take in enough revenue to ensure that the property remains financially viable,’ he said.
NHC: If you need further support, we suggest you visit the following resources:
- One of the biggest recent developments for renters experiencing financial hardship is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) agency order halting evictions for certain renters through the end of the year. This order extends eviction protections for many renters. To learn more about the requirements, take a look at the helpful overview the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) has developed. NLIHC has also created a set of FAQs for renters related to this order. Both documents include a template for the declaration that all renters are required to complete and submit to their landlord if they want to receive protections under the CDC’s eviction moratorium. If you qualify and are in need of rental assistance, we encourage you to complete this form and send to your landlord as soon as possible.
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a federal government agency dedicated to supporting consumers and overseeing their interactions with financial service providers, including landlords and property managers. The agency has developed a site dedicated to renters, which explains the protections available under the CARES Act and other COVID-19 related policies.
- The NLIHC COVID-19 emergency rental assistance tracker allows you to locate state and local rental assistance programs available in your area.
- Often state housing finance agencies have additional information and programs to support residents’ housing needs. You can look up your state’s housing finance agency on the National Council of State Housing Agencies’ website.
- The deadlines and coverage of federal, state and local eviction moratoriums can be difficult to navigate. You can easily figure out what moratoriums are in place in your area (in addition to the CDC’s federal moratorium mentioned above) by searching Eviction Lab’s up-to-date eviction tracker.
- If you are facing eviction, we implore you not to go at it alone and to reach out to an organization that can help. LegalFAQ allows you to search local legal information by state, county or city.
- If you are looking for legal counsel, you can visit the Legal Services Corporation; their website offers a search tool to find legal aid organizations in your area.
- For an extensive list of the community organizations dedicated to preventing eviction and homelessness in your state, use Just Shelter’s search tool.
- If you’re not sure where to start or want to speak to an individual over the phone, try your state 211 hotline. Dialing “211” from your local service area will provide a shortcut through the maze of health and human service agency phone numbers. By simply dialing 211, those in need of assistance can be referred, and sometimes connected, to appropriate agencies and community organizations. You can also look up the toll free number for 211 assistance at 211.org.”
Freddie Mac: “As stated in our COVID-19 Response, we’re taking action to assist Servicers in helping homeowners in a variety of ways, including:
- Providing mortgage forbearance for up to 12 months for any borrower with a COVID-19 related hardship
- Providing mortgage forbearance extensions for up to six additional months (18 months total) for borrowers on
active forbearance as of February 28, 2021.
- Waiving assessments of penalties and late fees
- Suspending all foreclosure activities until July 31, 2021
- Offering loss mitigation options that lower payments or reinstate the mortgage to “current” status while keeping payments the same after the forbearance period.”
Fannie Mae: “If you’re a renter facing financial challenges as a result of COVID-19, a natural disaster, or other difficulties, we’re here to help. Use our Renters Resource Finder to learn what kinds of support may be available, including:
- Access to personal assistance from HUD-approved housing counselors
- Information on Federal and state housing assistance and other programs
- Tips on communicating with your landlord, and more
If the Renters Resource Finder confirms that Fannie Mae financed the apartment complex where you live, you may also be eligible for COVID-19-related tenant protections. Please reach out to your landlord or property manager to determine if these protections are applicable to you. If your landlord or property owner has received payment relief on the financing we provided (this is known as forbearance), these protections could include:
- Protection from eviction solely for failure to pay your rent
- At least a 30-day notice to vacate your rental unit
- A suspension of late fees or penalties for nonpayment of rent
- Flexibility to repay back-rent over time, and not in a lump sum”
National Housing Law Project: The federal eviction moratorium took effect on March 27, 2020 and extends for 120 days. See Sec. 4024(b). Landlords that receive forbearances of federally backed multifamily mortgage loans must respect identical renter protections for the duration of the forbearance. See Sec. 4023(d)
HUD: “FHA announced it is extending the foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single family FHA-insured mortgages through June 30, 2021.”
National Housing Law Project: “The eviction moratorium operates by restricting lessors of covered properties (discussed in more detail below) from filing new eviction actions for non-payment of rent, and also prohibits “charg[ing] fees, penalties, or other charges to the tenant related to such nonpayment of rent.” Sec. 4024(b). The federal moratorium also provides that a lessor (of a covered property) may not evict a tenant after the moratorium expires except on 30 days’ notice—which may not be given until after the moratorium period. See Sec. 4024(c). The federal eviction moratorium does not affect cases: a) that were filed before the moratorium took effect or that are filed after it sunsets b) that involve non-covered tenancies (see below), or c) where the eviction is based on another reason besides nonpayment of rent or nonpayment of other fees or charges. The moratorium does not explicitly state whether evictions “for nonpayment of rent or other fees or charges” includes evictions motivated by a tenant’s nonpayment of rent (or other fees or charges) but formally based on a “no-cause” lease termination notice or refusal to renew a term tenancy. Sec. 4024(b)(1). However, advocates should assert that the moratorium bars the filing of any eviction case that is motivated (wholly or in part) by a tenant’s nonpayment of rent or other fees or charges, whether or not the action is formally based on such non-payment. Allowing landlords to skirt the moratorium by using “no cause” eviction cases for delinquent rent or fees would frustrate the purpose of the statute. And, such a reading would lead to an absurd result, because a landlord could more quickly and easily evict a tenant without cause during the moratorium period than after the moratorium expires (at which point a 30-day notice would be required). 2 For cases that are not barred (or not clearly barred) by the federal moratorium, advocates should next check to see whether any state or local eviction moratorium protects the client. Advocates should also check to see if any state or local moratorium provides more expansive protections than provided by the federal moratorium.”