The Supreme Court last week ended the national moratorium on evictions. It had been implemented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and extended by President Joe Biden’s administration days after it was set to expire on July 31. The moratorium was in place to target specific areas most impacted by rising COVID-19 cases, which would likely be made worse by mass evictions. It was projected to cover close to 90% of American renters.
The temporary halt on evictions was supposed to last until Oct. 3, but it was challenged by landlords, trade associations and real estate companies. In issuing its ruling, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court argued that the federal government didn’t have the power to order such a ban and that the CDC had exceeded its authority. At least 11 million renters have fallen behind on rent and some 3.6 million households could face evictions in the coming months.
We’ll explain who is most impacted by the Supreme Court’s decision to resume evictions and what you need to do now if you’re facing eviction. Here’s what to know about the monthly child tax credit payments, how to opt out of the payments and how to sign up for direct deposit using the IRS portals. We continue to update this story with new information.
Who is affected by the ruling to resume evictions?
Who is affected by the ruling to resume evictions? Millions of renters who have fallen behind on their payments could face eviction in coming months. A study in the spring by the Department of Housing and Urban Development found that around 14% of the 44 million renter households were behind on rent, and nearly 10% had zero confidence in their ability to make the next month’s rent. About one-third of the US population are renters, many of whom have been protected by some form of an eviction moratorium since Congress passed the initial CARES Act in March 2020.https://products.gobankingrates.com/pub/4676bc08-11ad-4872-8fef-ffbda36ebb37?targeting[keyword]=news-tech
What did the original national ban on evictions cover?
The CDC instituted a national eviction moratorium by building on a 1944 public health law intended to curb the spread of a pandemic. Because homelessness can increase the spread of COVID-19, the order halted evictions across the US for anyone who has lost income due to the pandemic and has fallen behind on rent.
The federal mandate didn’t prohibit late fees (although some local ordinances do), nor did it let tenants off the hook for any back rent they owe. It also didn’t establish any kind of financial assistance fund to help renters get caught up — a safeguard some say is critical to preventing a massive wave of evictions when the ban eventually lifts. And it only protected renters who earned less than $99,000 per year or $198,000 for joint filers.
What did the White House say about the ruling?
In a statement Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the eviction moratorium helped to save lives by curbing the spread of COVID and that the court’s opinion meant communities across the country will face greater risk of exposure. “President Biden is once again calling on all entities that can prevent evictions — from cities and states to local courts, landlords, Cabinet Agencies — to urgently act to prevent evictions,” Psaki said.
Earlier, the Biden administration released a statement detailing ways that state and local governments can help make it easier for people to get rental relief. The White House has said it will implement new policies to ensure that Emergency Rental Assistance will be accelerated to aid struggling renters most at risk of eviction. New guidance from the Department of the Treasury outlines ways that households can rely on self-attestation to receive ERA funds, meaning documents related to proving hardship, risk of homelessness and income instability could be verified by applicants themselves.
The Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs and HUD are also taking additional action to help renters.© Provided by CNET Many households are behind on rent because of COVID-related hardships. Angela Lang/CNET
Are there any rental assistance or emergency protections available now?
One aspect of the eviction moratorium was to give states and cities more time to get rental relief payments out, which would help people pay back rent and avoid eviction. But the amount of money that has actually reached people in need is a fraction of the $46.5 billion appropriated by Congress for emergency aid. One study shows how several states haven’t managed to get 5% of allocated federal dollars to renters facing eviction. According to The Washington Post, a combination of difficult application systems, technical glitches and lack of information about applying for ERA aid meant that money has not been disbursed.
Here’s a step-by-step primer on what to do if you’re facing eviction.
Are there other resources for those facing financial hardship?
If you’re in need of immediate shelter or emergency housing, the HUD maintains a state-by-state list of housing organizations in your area. Select your state from the drop-down menu for a list of resources near you.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, many states and cities have expanded their available financial assistance for those who are struggling to pay rent. To see what programs might be available near you, find your state on this list of rent relief programs maintained by the National Low Income Housing Association.
Nonprofit 211.org connects those in need of help with essential community services in their area and has a specific portal for pandemic assistance. If you’re having trouble with your food budget or paying your housing bills, you can use 211.org’s online search tool or dial 211 on your phone to talk to someone who can try to help.
The online legal services chatbot at DoNotPay.com has a coronavirus financial relief tool that it says will identify which of the laws, ordinances and measures covering rent and evictions apply to you based on your location.
If you’re delinquent on payments or know you will be soon, you may want to consult a lawyer to better understand how laws in your area apply to your situation. Legal Aid provides attorneys free of charge to qualified clients who need help with civil matters such as evictions. You can locate the nearest Legal Aid office using this search tool.
If you can no longer afford rent on your current home, relocation might be an option. Apps like Zillow, Trulia and Zumper can help you find something more affordable. Just be aware that you may still be held responsible for any back rent you currently owe, as well as any rent that accrues between now and the end of your lease (if you have one), whether or not you vacate.
Can people request a rent reduction or extension from landlords?
In almost all instances it’s probably best to work out an arrangement with your landlord or leasing agency, if at all possible. Although some landlords have reportedly reacted to the pandemic by putting even more pressure on tenants to pay up, other landlords have negotiated rent, some going so far as to stop collecting rent payments for a period of time.
It may be worth approaching your landlord to see if you can pay less rent or spread payments for some months’ rent out over the next year. Just be wary of landlords who make excessive demands. Don’t agree to unreasonable conditions or terms you won’t be able to meet, especially if your city or state has enacted protections against such arrangements.