Millions of Americans struggled financially during the pandemic, leading many to fall behind on their rent. The one thing that keeps tenants at home? Deportation prohibitions.
A federal moratorium on evictions currently prevents landlords from evicting tenants due to non-payment of rent. But this ban is expected to expire at the end of March. If allowed, it could leave many tenants in a very dangerous situation.
Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is taking action to prevent this from happening. The agency sent a proposal to the Bureau of Management and Budget for regulatory review. Experts say this means the CDC is working to keep the existing deportation ban in place. This is good news for tenants who would otherwise be at risk of homelessness.
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A lifeline for tenants
The recently signed $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill includes a series of $ 1,400 stimulus checks, strengthened unemployment benefits and $ 45 billion in rent assistance. To benefit from this housing assistance, applicants must meet one of the following conditions:
- Have an unemployed person (or more) in their household
- Have suffered loss of income during the pandemic
- Have incurred significant expenses due to the pandemic
In addition to this, applicants must be able to prove that they are at risk of becoming homeless. Generally, proof of an overdue rent notice meets this requirement. Additionally, to be eligible for assistance, an applicant’s 2020 income cannot exceed 80% of their region’s median income.
Rent assistance can cover up to 18 months of overdue rent. There’s just one problem – many states have yet to implement their rental assistance programs. This means that the money cannot come out right away. For this reason, extending the eviction ban becomes crucial to prevent tenants from falling into a trap where they are entitled to assistance that will not arrive in time.
Unfortunately, extending the eviction ban could hurt mom and pop owners. These are the people who live off their rental properties and depend on rent payment to cover their own costs. But as stimulus payments have already started to hit Americans’ bank accounts, some tenants eligible for rent assistance may now be able to make at least partial rent payments until the arrival of more substantial aid.
Of course, it is also in the owner’s best interest to avoid eviction, as this can be a lengthy and costly process. The good news is that there is is money available for rent assistance which should go directly to landlords. Those who are eligible for help will usually not receive a check, but rather that money will be sent to their owners. The bad news is that owners will have to sit there a bit longer until he arrives.
While there is no guarantee that an extension of the current deportation ban will occur, experts now agree that it is likely. This extension would serve its purpose as long as it prevents some landlords from rushing to evict tenants when there is a better solution.