U.S. News


Millions At Risk Of Eviction As Moratorium Ends

Even thought the federal program is set to expire, there may still be options.
Posted at 8:43 PM, Jul 30, 2021

Leslie is one of millions of Americans who didn’t know help was available when she lost her job. 

"I did not know that," she said. "And I bet you a lot of other people did not know that as well." 

She worked in Las Vegas.

Leslie said: "All of us lost our jobs. It was on the strip." 

Nearly 12 million Americans are now behind on their rent, according to the latest U.S. Census figures. Still, the federal COVID eviction ban ends at midnight Saturday

Diane Yentel is the president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. She said: "The eviction moratorium, while flawed, has kept tens of millions of renters who otherwise would have lost their homes during the pandemic stay fully housed." 

But there is help. 

Congress approved nearly $47 billion to pay landlords, as tenants fell behind on rent. That funding covers up to 18 months of rent. And as of June 30, only $3 billion of the total had been distributed. 

That means more than $40 billion dollars is still available. But, what many don’t know, is that by just applying for aid you could stay in your home longer. 

At least four states: Massachusetts, Nevada, New York and Oregon – are temporarily banning evictions for those with a pending rental assistance application. 

Other states, like California, are keeping some eviction protections in place. 

Governor Gavin Newsom said: "Anyone that's been impacted by this pandemic and cannot pay rent, 100% of that rent will be paid for." 

In New York, residential and commercial tenants will remain protected by a state law halting evictions through August 31.

New York landlord Tina Brown said: "You're now being strapped financially dealing with COVID, dealing with not knowing where you're gonna live, and then also dealing with the possibility of losing your property. It's terrifying." 

With the federal program ending, there may still be options.

First: the more than $40 billion in federal funding will still be available even after the moratorium ends. 

And if your state has its own program, you may submit an application to the state’s emergency rental assistance program.

In some states, tenants must provide a signed, written declaration to their landlord showing that they've tried to obtain assistance. That application could be used as a defense against eviction for a full year. 

And the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a tool to help you find rental relief. You can visit: www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/.