CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — An eviction moratorium has been in effect through the pandemic, but some people are slipping through the bureaucratic cracks and some landlords are continuing to push tenants out.
The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package would extend eviction and foreclosure moratoriums to the end of September. President Joe Biden is proposing an additional $25 billion in rental assistance, on top of the $25 billion allocated in the bill passed by Congress in December.
In the meantime, some landlords say they’ve been burdened with this hardship, too.
Rakeem Jones’ son was in the middle of virtual schooling when a sheriff’s deputy knocked on the door to evict his family.
“It’s not one of those feelings you can describe,” he said.
In a North Carolina court, Jones’ landlord said he didn’t know about the eviction moratorium, and the judge sided with the landlord.
“Some families can’t afford a lawyer. Some families don’t know their rights,” said Jones.
In New York, a pause order has been in effect for nearly a year that closed local courts to evictions against tenants and bank foreclosures against landlords.
But tenants have to show proof they are unable to pay the rent, called a “Hardship Declaration.” It is supposed to freeze most tenant evictions until May 1. But a growing number of landlords who are unable to collect rent this year are not waiting.
“This has gone on now for almost 11 months now, and you have people who have not been able to pay mortgages. They have used every nickel of reserves that they have,” said attorney Loran Bommer.
Some landlords have resorted to illegally putting tenants out themselves.
“There’s bad players out there — slumlords, but also responsible housing providers that are getting crushed right now,” said New York landlord Matthew Drouin.
Attorney Jesse McCoy, with the Duke Civil Justice Clinic, says some renters have been able to get back to work, but are still playing catch-up from past due bills and this hardship will follow them.
“That eviction judgment is going to hinder your ability to find another place when you’re looking for a prospective landlord,” said McCoy.
In most states, the moratorium does not prevent all evictions. They can still happen if a tenant doesn’t submit a hardship declaration, or is creating a safety or health hazard to those living around them.