Sep 16, 2020 • Ashley Ravid; FINDLAW/BLOGS/LAW AND DAILY LIFE
What Do Upcoming Evictions Mean for You?
The domestic economy has ground to a halt over the last several months as the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened, keeping many working from home or home without work. Several million people have applied for unemployment.
Suspended rent payment bills in various localities have bought some people time, but now that the CARES Act’s national eviction moratorium has passed its July 25 end date without renewal, up to 23 million Americans could be facing eviction in the coming months. What do these evictions mean for you, and what are your options?
Current and Upcoming Moratoriums
The actions available to you may depend on the state you live in. California, New York, Florida, and other states have extended the eviction moratorium statewide. Other counties and smaller areas have also enacted protections for renters — though your landlord might not inform you of this. Researching the laws and orders applying to your specific place of residence may help you discover information that can give you more time before rent is due.
Weekly $600 unemployment benefits also expired last week without a renewal. The current proposals — the Republican-backed HEALS Act and the Democrat-led HEROES Act — have yet to pass, but each contains different dollar amounts and distributions. It is likely that the next stimulus bill will contain elements from each, so keep your eyes peeled for further updates.
If you want to see any particular bill become law, calling your local representatives and advocating for your position is one way for you to make sure your voice is heard. Depending on where you live, petitioning your local government to pass additional protections for renters may be another way to help you and others suspend rent payments or otherwise gain eviction relief.
Lease Agreements and Options
It’s also important to research landlord-tenant laws so that you are aware of all your options. Depending on your renting situation, you may be able to form a tenant union to negotiate a different rent payment plan. If you aren’t paying rent, your landlord is not gaining that income — meaning they have the incentive to agree with you.
Additionally, you should be aware that if you either break your lease early or are evicted, you are not responsible for continuing to pay rent after a replacement tenant moves in. If there is a legal dispute between you and your landlord, a lawyer may be able to help mediate and advocate for your interests.