Tenants across the nation are fearing being kicked out onto the street as eviction moratoriums across the country begin to expire.
Back in March, dozens of states passed eviction moratorium, which protected tenants from being removed from their homes as the coronavirus pandemic began to take its toll on just about every industry, resulting in employee layoffs and furloughs. This order has not stopped landlords in most states from filing evictions. This means that many tenants only have until the day their state’s eviction orders expire to pay back rent, which continues to mount in many cases, despite lost wages due to the virus outbreak. What’s even more disheartening is last week’s publishing of a U.S. Census Bureau survey that revealed 21 percent of Americans are not sure if they will be able to pay rent next month. According to another study by the Urban Institute, 10 percent of parents and guardians with children living in the home under the age of 19 revealed that they were behind on rent or mortgage payments or hadn’t paid their rent or mortgage at all between March and April due to financial hardship.
In Iowa, eviction protections expire on May 28th, while in Florida, residents could begin facing eviction as of June 3rd. Washington will have its state evictions protections lifted the following day. In both California and New York, eviction protections will last until late June. Landlords in North Texas have filed at least 1,111 eviction petitions between March 16th and early May.
“We are absolutely terrified,” said Cea Weaver, spokesperson for the New York-based tenant coalition Housing Justice for All. “The No. 1 message that we get is from people who are not sure what to do and asking for support, and what we have to tell them is there is no option.”
In March, Donald Trump signed into law the coronavirus relief bill that suspended evictions through July 24th for recipients of federal housing assistance and for nonpayment of rent on properties with federally backed mortgages. The Urban Institute estimates that the federal moratorium protects more than 1 in 4 rental units nationwide, which is nearly about 28 percent.
In April, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) made further attempts to remedy the crisis by introducing the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, which would cancel rent and transfer mortgages to the federal government. It would also allow landlords to recoup their rent costs. However, Omar’s bill did not pan out as hoped.