Tenant rights activists push for more rental assistance relief, CDC extends eviction moratorium to June and landlords want off this no-win rollercoaster.
One of primary underlying frustrations in this pandemic that has caused much financial distress for small business owners, landlords and employees is how affluent, well-employed intellectuals hold the reigns of power and get to decide our fate.
Case in point, researchers from several universities, including Johns Hopkins University, University of California, Boston University, and San Francisco found that lifting the state moratoriums and allowing eviction proceedings to continue caused as many as 433,700 excess cases of COVID-19 and 10,700 additional deaths in the U.S. between March and September, 2020 – according to a cnbc.com article written by Annie Nova in December 15, 2020.
“When people are evicted, they often move in with friends and family, and that increases your number of contacts,” said Kathryn Leifheit, one of the authors on the research and a postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. “If people have to enter a homeless shelter, these are indoor places that can be quite crowded.
Nobody wants to see people get evicted because they lost their job, or they’re employed but making a dramatically reduced income due to the pandemic impact, but the result of extending relief to one group of pandemic victims creates more suffering.
A 20-year veteran landlord in Washington State decided to sell her nine rental properties ASAP.
Marilyn Blackburn explained, “It’s been six months with these tenants, and we’ve lost, I think I’m out about $12,000 so far just in the rents. And you know they don’t allow us to collect late fees either, so there’s a couple of thousand [dollars] in late fees as well. And again, you still have to keep paying the mortgage every month.”
This is based on an article at cnbc.com written by Diana Olick on March 29, 2021.
Even worse, Blackburn went on to share that the tenants who are not paying are refusing to respond to her. If they don’t file the paperwork for the relief, she gets nothing.
“It’s just frustrating. You know people are living in my house, taking advantage of me, and there’s nothing I can do about it,” she said.
This situation is bad for landlords because the government made $25 billion available to tenants who were impacted by COVID. All they needed to do was apply for it.
There were some jurisdictions across the U.S. where landlords were able to help tenants in getting access to this government funding while many require the tenants to.
A Census survey this month found 15% of renter households, or 6.7 million, said they were behind on their rent. Additionally, nearly 27%, or 11.8 million households, have slight or no confidence in their ability to pay next month’s rent. Some estimates are that close to $60 billion in back rents and fees are owed since the pandemic began.
According to a new survey from the NRHC, more than half the rental stock in the nation is owned by smaller landlords, and more than half of those landlords have tenants who have missed payments during the pandemic.
Congress has earmarked over $50 billion to go towards rent relief in the new Covid relief bill. The requirements vary depending on state and even local jurisdictions. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that every application starts with tenants, and if tenants don’t take the initiative to find exactly where to apply, fill out the paperwork and complete the process, landlords’ hands are tied. Since the CDC has extended the eviction moratorium till June 2021, landlords’ hands could be tied till then.
If you are a landlord…
- Learn all you can about the process for your jurisdiction
- Coordinate with your tenants who need assistance and guide them through the process of applying for rental assistance
- And hope for the best
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