The clock is ticking on a threatening national housing crisis. As of August 24, millions of tenants were protected from deportationwill no longer be protected. Add to that the 30 million unemployed workers and the result is that nearly half of all U.S. tenants may be exposed to evictions in the coming months, according to an analysis by Statista.
Without further protection or assistance, that means as many as 40 million people could be displaced from their homes next year, according to the Aspen Institute – all in the middle of. Some states may still offer temporary protection against emergency evictions, but many, such as California’s exclusion, will end soon.
Adding to the confusion is President Donald Trumpson drafts, which are not a renewal of draft protection, as the text (excerpts below) makes clear. It is not known exactly when – or in what form – a new eviction moratorium may occur. Without the assurance of a , the situation may worsen.
We will guide you through everything we know, from the president’s executive order to how you can find out if your home is protected under current law, plus what resources and options are available to you if you are facing a potential eviction now. We update this story frequently.
Trump’s executive order does not stop drafts
The chairman of the executive order only promises to investigate the matter (emphasizes ours) and does not prevent evictions today:
Secretary of Health and Human Services and Head of the CDC should consider whether any measures temporarily stop housing development of tenants in order not to pay rents are reasonably necessary to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 from one State or Possession to another State or Possession.
The decision provides for four steps in government action, none of which would stop the drafts immediately:
- Examine whether it is necessary to stop evictions as a way to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, presumably from people crossing government lines looking for new housing, sharing housing with others or moving to shelters.
- Identify ways to provide tenants and landlords with financial support.
- Provide “assistance” to various organizations or individuals to protect against drafts and foreclosures, but it is not clear if this includes financial assistance.
- Review existing “authorities and resources”, which may include government programs.
Although the order encourages the finance secretary and the secretary for housing and urban development to explore ways to finance financial assistance to tenants who remain on the rent, the executive order does not stop setting up such a fund or banning drafts. In other words, without further action from the Trump administration or Congress, nothing has really changed – yet.
Does the eviction on 24 August apply to you?
If you live in a property covered by the CARES Act, landlords can now legally ask you to leave and start charging late fees, but the soon they can legally apply for an exemption to force you to leave is August 24th.
The CARES Act protected only about one-third of rental properties in the United States, especially those that received federal funding or were funded under a federal program such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. It is not clear whether Congress will expand the scope of properties covered by new laws or what restrictions the departments of the Ministry of Finance or housing may place on orders coming from them.
Here things get difficult: If your landlord owns your building directly or financed the property without going through a handful of federal programs that guarantee most mortgages and receive no state aid as section 8 money, CARES law did not apply to your situation.
For tenants in single-family houses or in apartments in buildings with four or fewer units, it will be difficult to find out if this or a similar law applies to you. However, if you live in a multifamily property with five or more units, there is a tool published by the National Low Income Housing Coalition that is designed to tell you if the property where you live was covered by the CARES Act. Try entering your zip code and scrolling through the list of properties looking for yours. (Searching the page did not work for us.)
Just because your building is not listed does not necessarily mean it was not covered – the tool only tracks properties with five or more units and it may not even cover all of them. So if you rent a single-family house or apartment in a building with four or fewer units, it may not be listed even if the property falls under the CARES law.
Find out the status of ejection protection in your condition
State transfer bans have mostly either already expired or will come soon, many without compensation in sight. Michigan, for example, let its eviction moratorium lapse, as did several other states. A handful of states never interrupted drafts to begin with.
To help you find out the status of eviction protection in your country, the legal services website Nolo.com has an updated list of state eviction regulations.
If you are a serious criminal or know you are coming soon, you may want to consult a lawyer to better understand how laws in your area apply to your situation. Legal Aid provides lawyers free of charge to qualified clients who need help with civil matters such as drafts – you can find the nearest legal aid office with this search tool.
Try asking the landlord for a reduction or extension
In almost all cases, it is probably best to train a contract with your landlord or leasing agency, if possible. Although some landlords have reportedly responded to the pandemic by putting even more pressure on tenants to pay, other landlords have increased the opportunity, but some go so far as to stop collecting rent payments for some time.
It may be worth contacting the landlord to see if you can pay less rent in the coming months or spread payments for the next few months rentals in the next year. When tenants across the country organize rent strikes and more community leaders are pushing to rent freezers, landlords may prefer such an arrangement to not get any rent at all.
Just be careful with landlords who make excessive demands. For example, some have asked tenants to hand over their $ 1,200 stimulus check or some money received from charity as a condition of not submitting a eviction order. Do not agree to unreasonable terms or conditions that you will not be able to meet, especially if your city or state has adopted protection against such arrangements.
What to do today if you have financial difficulties
If you need immediate protection or emergency housing, the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has a 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 increased their available financial support for those struggling to pay rent. To see which programs may be available near you, select your country on the interactive map maintained by the National Low Income Housing Association.
Nonprofit 211.org connects those who need help with important community services in their area and has a specific portal for pandemic help. If you have problems with your food budget or pay your housing bills, you can use 211.org’s online search tool or call 211 on your phone to talk to someone who can try to help.
JustShelter.org is a non-profit organization that allows tenants to face evictions in contact with local organizations that can help them stay in their homes or, in the worst case, find difficulties.
The online legal chatbot service at DoNotPay.com has oneIt says will identify which of the laws, regulations and measures that cover rent and eviction apply to you based on your location.
Finally, if you can no longer afford to rent your current home, relocation may be an option. Average rents have fallen across the United States since February, according to an August report from Zillow. Apps like Zillow, Truila and Zumper can help you find something more affordable. Just be aware that you can still be held responsible for all back rents you currently owe as well as for all rents that occur between now and the end of your lease (whether you have one), whether you leave or not.