As the Coronavirus pandemic has ravaged a range of communities worldwide, many people who had previously had a steady income and livable wages are experiencing a housing crisis. People are unable to pay their monthly rent or mortgage payments, facing eviction from the very place they were told to stay. Fortunately, the federal government, as well as many states, cities, and counties, are taking many steps to ensure no one loses housing by placing a federal moratorium on evictions.
The moratorium the CDC issued at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, known as the
Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19, has fortunately been extended a number of times as more is known about the virus. The moratorium on evictions prohibits landlords in the U.S. from evicting tenants due to circumstances such as:
- Unable to obtain assistance from the government for housing
- Unable to pay rent payments due to loss of income
- Able to make partial payments of rent in a timely manner
- Tenants would become homeless or be forced into shared living settings if evicted.
Tenants who qualify for federal eviction protection must:
- Not earn more than $99,000 annually in 2020, or $198,000 if jointly filing.
- Not required to report income to the IRS in 2019
- Received a stimulus check as part of Section 2201 of the CARES Act.
Though the moratorium was set to expire on January 31, 2021, President Biden has extended it to March 31, 2021, giving more relief to those still financially affected by the pandemic. For more information on the coronavirus moratorium on evictions, click here.
But what happens if the federal moratorium is not extended?
Even if the federal moratorium on evictions is not renewed at the end of March, there are still many things in place or things you can do that may protect you from losing your housing. This includes:
- State and Local Government Moratoriums. Depending on where you live, your state or local government may have different deadlines and rules regarding eviction notices, court filings and hearings, and eviction orders. For example, New York’s moratorium was extended until May 2021, and Oregon’s has been extended to June 2021. Do your research to see what your local and state government deadlines and protections are.
- Propose a Payment Plan. Before the moratorium expires, consider proposing a payment plan to your landlord that will reduce your monthly rent, make a long-term payment plan, and/or a late rent payment plan. This will show your landlord that you are proactive and willing to do anything and everything to pay your rent, even if it’s not by the first of the month. If your landlord agrees, make sure to get all of the terms of your agreement in writing.
- Tenant Relief Programs. Do your research and look for tenant relief programs in your area, which will help you make your monthly rent payments. Remember, if you are eligible for the federal moratorium, you should already be researching tenant relief programs to receive assistance from.
- Housing Services. Many local communities offer housing services for low-income residents. These services will work with you to find a housing option that works for you while finding access to more affordable rent prices for the broader community.
Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services has been providing the city of Richmond with affordable housing options since 1981. We believe in strengthening our community by providing, developing, and managing housing projects for low-income neighborhoods. In addition to protecting our community residents from losing their homes, we also provide financial literacy programs, home loan programs, foreclosure prevention, and affordable rental counseling, and are still looking to extend our service list. We are here to serve you! For more information, visit our website or give us a call at (510) 237-6459.