Now that the last remaining eviction protection established by the 27 million workers claiming unemployment benefits as of Aug. 8, who recently .has vanished, tens of millions of renters who were shielded from eviction are no longer protected against losing their homes for being late on their rent. That includes some of the more than
Making matters worse, the weekly ordered in August hasn’t yet kicked in, leaving nearly half of all US renters at risk of eviction in the coming months, according to an analysis by Statista. Trump’s Aug. 8 merely promised to have his administration look into evictions, but stopped short of outright preventing them (scroll down for an analysis of that order).that President Donald Trump
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development has extended some eviction protections until the end of the year for renters living in certain single-family homes, but the move protects only a small percentage of the nation’s 43 million renting households.
We’ll walk you through everything we know, from the president’s executive order to how to find out if your home is protected, plus which resources and options are available to you if you’re facing a potential eviction now. We update this story often.
What happened? And what happens next?
When the CARES Act was signed into law in March, it halted evictions on certain types of rental properties for 120 days, plus it tacked on a required 30-day eviction notice, effectively creating an eviction moratorium that lasted until Aug. 24. Although several attempts have been made in Congress to pass an extension or expansion of those protections, so far none has made it through to a final vote.
On Aug. 27, the HUD extended an eviction ban (PDF) until the end of the year, but only for single-family properties financed with loans guaranteed by the Federal Housing Authority, aka FHA loans. An analysis by Politico found that only about 8.1 million properties fall under such strict limitations. Not to mention, on account of strict rules requiring owner occupancy, very few FHA-financed houses are even used as rentals.
What this all means is that most landlords nationwide can now file evictions with the courts, unless there are state or local laws prohibiting it. (Keep reading to learn how to find out the laws where you live.)
If that happens, it does not necessarily mean you have to move out of your home today, only that an eviction proceeding has been started against you. Depending on the laws where you live, as well as how backlogged the civil court docket is in your county, it could be days, weeks or possibly even months before a judge hears your case. That said, once a judgment is made against you and an eviction is ordered, again, depending on the laws where you live, you could have as few as two days, as long as a week or even longer to pack your belongings and find somewhere else to live.
Keep reading for resources that may be able to help.
Trump’s executive order doesn’t stop evictions
The wording of the Aug. 8 executive order only promises to look into the matter, and does not halt evictions today (emphasis ours):
The Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of CDC shall consider whether any measures temporarily halting residential evictions of any tenants for failure to pay rent are reasonably necessary to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 from one State or possession into any other State or possession.
The order stipulates four steps of government action, including investigating whether it’s necessary to stop evictions as a way to help keep the coronavirus from spreading, presumably from people crossing state lines looking for new housing or shelters. The order also covers reviewing existing “authorities and resources,” and identifying ways to provide assistance.
Although the order encourages the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to explore ways to fund financial assistance to tenants who are behind on rent, the executive order stops short of setting up such a fund or banning evictions. In other words, without further action from the Trump administration or Congress, nothing has really changed — yet.
Find out the status of eviction protection in your state
Statewide eviction bans have mostly either already expired or will soon, many with no replacement in sight. Michigan, for example, let its eviction moratorium lapse, as have several other states. A handful of states never canceled evictions to begin with.
If you’re seriously delinquent 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.
Ask your landlord for a reduction or extension
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 risen to the occasion, 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 in the coming months, or spread payments for the next couple of months’ rent out over the next year. Just be wary of landlords who make excessive demands. For example, some have asked tenants to turn over their $1,200 stimulus check or any money received from charity as a condition for not filing an eviction order. 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.
What you can do if you’re facing financial hardship right now
If you’re in need of immediate shelter or emergency housing, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development 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.
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 that it says will identify which of the laws, ordinances and measures covering rent and evictions apply to you based on your location.
Finally, if you can no longer afford rent on your current home, relocation might be an option. Average rental prices have declined across the US since February, according to an August report by Zillow. 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.