The national eviction ban is over and done with, which means it is time to think about your rent. It was nice that you did not have to worry about the possibility of eviction for a while. But, now, you cannot avoid the inevitable. If you are one of the lucky few who saw this coming and planned ahead, then good for you! But, if you are one of the unlucky ones who were unable to plan ahead, then you should continue reading this article. You might be able to find a solution to your current predicament and get out of facing eviction. (This is not the end of the line for you, do not worry.)
What Was The National Eviction Ban?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued an eviction moratorium that prevented landlords from evicting tenants for not paying their rent. Many tenants benefited from this eviction ban, guaranteeing that they had a place to stay during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the nationwide restrictions and the rapid spread of the pandemic, many tenants did not have a way to pay all of their rent. The eviction ban targeted tenants who could not handle paying all of their rent and provided financial relief, while quashing their fear of eviction. Tenants will still need to pay rent, but the landlords will need to be more understanding. As long as the tenant is making their best effort to pay rent, then the eviction ban applies.
According to the Housing Solution Tulsa, there are acceptable reasons for a tenant to face eviction, other than non-payment of the rent. “The eviction moratorium provides only 5 circumstances when a landlord may evict a covered tenant. A landlord may remove a covered tenant who is:
- Engaging in criminal activity on the premises
- Threatening the health and safety of other residents
- Damaging or posing an immediate and significant risk of damage to property
- Violating a health and safety code or regulation
- Violating a term of the lease, other than non-payment of rent or fees such as late fee” (Housing Solution Tulsa)
What Can You Do Now?
Now that the federal eviction ban has expired, it is best if you seek federal rental assistance. (Yes, those still exist and they are not only operational because of the COVID-19 pandemic.) After the federal eviction ban expired, many tenants were overwhelmed with the possibility of eviction. This is why you need to consider emergency rental assistance (ERA). Just like every other federal welfare program, you will need to apply and meet the eligibility requirements. Another solution is talking to your landlord about your current financial situation. You and your landlord might be able to reach a compromise, in regards to your living situation. (It is worth a shot to try and see what your landlord can offer.)
Rental Assistance Programs
One of the most important and most common rental assistance programs is the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA). The federal government funds these Programs, as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan. However, the funds are distributed to state and local governments, who are responsible to administer and manage the programs. You can find Emergency Rental Assistance Programs through three databases. These databases are: the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau Database, the United States Department of Treasury, and the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC).
As mentioned above, you should consider talking to your landlord about your current financial situation. Even when you are applying for rental assistance, you should discuss with your landlord a repayment plan. (Who knows? Your landlord might help you apply for Emergency Rental Assistance.)
How Can You Apply
Each state varies when it comes to the application process and the eligibility requirements. Also, you will find that there are many programs that cover different components for tenants. Some Emergency Rental Assistance Programs will offer financial compensation of past rent payments, while others will offer funds for future rent payments. (It all depends on the type of Emergency Rental Assistance that you apply for.)
When you apply for emergency rental assistance, you will need to show proof of your current financial situation. Most emergency rental assistance programs will focus on your income level and proof of your financial struggle. Make sure that you have these documents at hand while you are applying for any emergency rental assistance program.
Eligibility Requirements for Rental Assistance
Eligibility requirements differ from one state to another and from one program to another. You can contact your local state agency to understand the eligibility requirements for the rental assistance program you want to apply for. However, the main eligibility requirement is that you are a tenant and you are financially struggling with your rent payments. (There are other eligibility requirements, of course, but that depends on the Program.)
In order to qualify for rental assistance, you need to make sure that one of your household members qualifies for unemployment benefits. If not, then they should have a written statement that shows that they have lost income or lost a lot of money from the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, you should show that you face the risk of homelessness. This can be through a past-due rent notice or a past-due utility notice.
How Much Could You Get For Rental Assistance?
There is a possibility that you can receive rental assistance for eighteen months. It could be a combination of payments for both back-rent and future-rent. (Again, this depends on the conditions of the Emergency Rental Assistance Programs.) If you are receiving rental funds and you still find yourself in a tight financial position, then do not worry. You can always apply again for rental assistance. But, you should make sure that you are applying for rental assistance for a different period of time. The financial compensation you will receive from the Program will be sent directly to your landlord. (If they accept, of course. Your landlord has the option of saying no.)
If You Have Trouble Receiving Rental Assistance, You Are Not Alone
As we mentioned, you are not alone. A lot of people are currently struggling with receiving rental assistance. You went through the application process and you were approved to receive benefits for the Program. But, you have not received them yet. Why? The simple answer is that there is a high level of demand for rental assistance and there is not enough man-power to go through all the applications. Another reason is that public officials are too worried about scammers that they are moving extremely slow to ensure that the candidates are legitimate.
In conclusion, you should consider applying for emergency rental assistance. There is a possibility that might take some time, but it is better than nothing. Now that the eviction ban has expired, you will need to face the music. There might be a possibility that you will be evicted, if you do not start working towards improving your financial situation. Additionally, you should consider talking to your landlord while you are applying for rental assistance. Your landlord could help you in many ways. Make sure to talk to your landlord about a repayment plan and see if they will help you receive rental assistance.
Housing Solution Tulsa. What the Eviction Moratorium Means for Landlords. 06 2020. 06 10 2021 <https://www.housingsolutionstulsa.org/what-the-eviction-moratorium-means-for-landlords/#:~:text=The%20eviction%20moratorium%20prohibits%20a,rent%20before%20June%2030%2C%202021.>.