The nationwide eviction moratorium had prevented families from being removed from their homes, helping families face pandemic-related financial hardships while mitigating the risks of further spreading the virus when people were forced to move out. People who took advantage of the measure will still have to pay their landlords the total amount accrued during the moratorium.
Since the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act was introduced on March 27, 2020, the eviction moratorium deadline has been extended multiple times. The extension from June 30, 2021, to July 31, 2021, was the third time it was extended. On August. 26, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a moratorium on evictions ordered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) targeting areas with high transmission rates. In a 6-3 vote by the Supreme Court, the moratorium will no longer be extended.
With the moratorium ended and the pandemic still ongoing, landlords worry that their tenants may still not keep up with their contractual obligations. Tens of billions of dollars of rental relief were made available to struggling tenants; however, as of August 2021, only $3 billion of the allocated $46 billion rental relief fund has made it out. Each state has its own process for disbursing the relief funds.
Helping Tenants Apply for Rental Relief
Unfortunately, gaps remain in the program as many citizens either don’t know how to apply for it or don’t know if they are eligible. One of the main challenges, particularly low-income tenants with no internet access or computers, is accessing the applications for relief, which are only available online on a desktop. The application process also requires tenants to submit a written lease, photo ID, and employment verification, which many low-income tenants lack.
Therefore, one of the best solutions for landlords to mitigate their losses and collect back rent is to help their tenants apply for relief. Landlords can assist tenants by assisting them to determine eligibility for the program and giving them access to a computer where they can access the online-only application. Landlords can also help their struggling tenants with complying with requirements.
Understandably, landlord-tenant relationships have become strained, and some landlords would rather see their non-paying tenants leave. However, evicting tenants once the moratorium officially ends may mean losses for the landlord who waited for over a year’s worth of rental payments. Therefore, the choices are waiting for the government to extend the moratorium and hasten the deployment of relief funds or for landlords to accept their losses.
It’s also crucial for landlords to stay updated on potential announcements of another moratorium. Tenants are challenging the decision to end the eviction moratorium, particularly since new coronavirus strains are forcing new health measures and the economy and job market have not fully recovered. After all, violating the order could mean jail time and fines of up to $500,000 for rental organizations or $250,000 for individual landlords.