The Covid- 19 pandemic has a detrimental impact on businesses. Numerous businesses were disrupted while others were closed due to the stay at home order. Millions of Americans are facing evictions since they can no longer afford to pay rent. Due to the challenges presented by the crisis, tenants and real estate landlords have been forced to come up with unique strategies to ease the economic burden of the pandemic.
For example, in Florida, the government ordered mandatory closure of business cutting peoples source of income. This resulted in people requesting their landlords to lower rent while others were unable to pay even a cent since they could no longer generate revenue. The governor of Florida suspended all rent-related eviction till July 2020 to help tenants overcome the challenges brought by the coronavirus.
Indeed, these are desperate and confusing times for tenants and landlords alike. The government is burning the midnight oil to protect people who can no longer pay rent or afford other basic needs. The immediate response was to design programs to help people that were left homeless while still helping the rest to remain in their homes. However, tenant advocates are still building pressure for viable long-term solutions.
Have Federal Governments Done Anything to Help Tenants and Homeowners?
In March, a special act known as the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) was passed to provide relief to all Americans who lost their income due to the pandemic. . The law also allowed landlords with federally backed mortgage loans to request forbearance. In layman’s language, forbearance is a request for delayed mortgage payments without having to accrue interest. Landlords that received forbearance were required by the law not to serve tenants with eviction notices.
What Does That Mean for Homeowners and Tenants Struggling to Pay?
Tenants who live in houses with federally backed mortgages are protected from eviction during the crisis. The CARES program has covered an average of 12.3 million units that have outstanding mortgages. However, it is daunting for tenants to know who issued their landlords’ mortgage. The government prepared a spreadsheet that contains the names of all buildings covered by the program. In addition, non-governmental organizations such as the Regional Housing Legal Services located in Pennsylvania created extra resources to assist clients in knowing whether their buildings are covered by the CARES program or not.
What Happens If Your Building Is Not on The List of Beneficiaries?
According to reputable sources, a quarter of the total rental units in the US have federally backed mortgages. Thus, a quarter of entire nation tenants are protected from evictions during the crisis.
However, if the program does not cover your building, you are shielded from eviction by state laws. Most states have passed laws to protect tenants from eviction due to income losses as a result of the spread of coronavirus.
You Are Temporarily Shielded from Eviction, But You Can’t Afford Rent, What Happens?
It is essential to note that temporary protection from eviction doesn’t mean you won’t pay rent. It means that your landlord should be lenient to a specific date. If you can’t afford to pay rent after the emergency is over, it is imperative to contact your landlord. Let him know you lost your source of income and figure a way out together. Additionally, enlighten yourself about tenants’ rights that have been formulated by local governments during the pandemic. If you are unable to pay rent, it is sage to apply for a number of relief funds across the country.
Should You Expect Rent Assistance?
This solely depends on where you live. Some cities are utilizing federal stimulus to create catastrophe rental assistance initiatives. But given the depth of the economic challenges presented by the pandemic, most federal governments are likely to include rental assistance in their stimulus package. Besides, legislators are pushing for all federal governments to pass a law that would ban tenant’s eviction regardless of the mortgages they are under. There is light at the end of the tunnel as more tenants’ advocate join the fight to claim more relief or rent cancellation.