If you are one of the millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet, you may have some pressing questions: Is the first rent still due or can you still get an extension? Can your landlord evict you if your payment is late? What laws can help you stay at home while you? Will there be a that can help?
Short answer: If your home is covered by federal CARES law (keep reading to find out if this is the case), you got at least until July 25 before the threat of eviction grows some teeth. For many others – especially those who live in areas where there are no local or municipal ordinances to prevent eviction applications – this is now the case.
Of the states that have instituted some rental protection, many of those states have already expired or will be in the next month or two. Some states have expanded their protection, such as California in late May, but others, such as New York, have expired.
Since regulations vary from state to state and from city to city, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for anyone who has difficulty renting. That's frustrating, but there are ways to find out which protections apply to you. Here's how to determine which laws apply to tenants in your area, and how to approach your landlord once you are armed with that information.
If this applies to you, you will be safe until at least July 25
The federal CARES Act passed in March provides tenants with the broadest and strongest protection. It temporarily prohibits evictions and late fees until July 25. It also requires 30 days' notice before you can be evicted.
So the fastest your landlord can ask you to leave is July 25, and the fastest that can evacuate to force you to leave is August 24. They also can't charge you late fees until July 25. The House of Representatives had called for this protection to be extended by another eight months, although no further movement has been made in Washington, and the topic and timeline of.
This part is especially important . The protection described in the CARES Act applies only to properties that receive federal funds and / or are funded under a federal program such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. This is where things get tricky. If your landlord plainly owns your building and does not receive government support like Article 8 money, the CARES Act does not apply to your situation.
If you rent a single-family home or an apartment in a building with four or fewer homes, it will be very difficult to determine whether this law applies to you. But if you live in a multi-family home with five or more units, you're in luck, because there is a tool published by the National Low Income Housing Association designed to tell you if the property you live in is covered by CARES law. Just enter your zip code and browse the list of properties looking for yours. (Our computer's search tool within the page did not work for us, so scrolling is.)
However, there is another wrinkle. Just because yours isn't listed doesn't mean it isn't covered too – the tool only tracks properties with five or more units. This means that if you rent a single-family home or an apartment in a building with four or less residential units, even if the property is subject to CARES law, it should not be listed here. We are still looking for resources to help you determine if your single family, duplex or quad plex rental is governed by law and we will update this story as we find more information.
Online tools that can help you find resources
The online legal services chatbot on DoNotPay.com recently added athat the company claims will identify which of the laws, regulations, and measures related to rentals and evictions on you apply, based on your place.
DoNotPay will also prepare a letter on your behalf and send it to your landlord requesting that you defer payment or waive late fees. Here is.
Nonprofit website 211.org connects people who need help with vital community services in their area. It has also recently set up a portal for pandemic assistance. If you're having issues with your food budget or paying for your housing bills, you can use 211.org online search or call 211 on your phone to talk to someone who can try to help.
Another non-profit organization, JustShelter.org, connects tenants facing eviction with local organizations who can help them stay at home or, at worst, find emergency shelters.
Find your specific state and local resources
The website of the Nolo.com Legal Service lists which states have and have not adopted emergency bans for evictions. It contains links to the resolutions published by the states themselves. TheDailyBeast has a similar list, as does the National Consumer Law Center. Protections range from almost none at all to wide and wide, so you want to know exactly what the situation is at your location.
Many state governments across the country have suspended their evictions for up to 90 days, including New York, Arizona and California. Residents of Los Angeles have up to a year after the end of the city's state of emergency (whenever that may be) to make up for the rent they couldn't afford during the pandemic – with no late fees.
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Even if you don't live in an area that is not subject to an expulsion ban, some districts across the country have suspended judicial proceedings during the pandemic , which means landlords are temporarily unable to have courts order eviction. Political Encyclopedia Ballotpedia.org has an updated list of regional judicial closings. Legal news service Law360.com maintains a similar list.
But states and their legal systems are starting to open up again. While they do, it can get a little tricky to figure out whether or not courts in your part of the country are under an eviction procedure or when they will start.
In the end, you may want to consult a lawyer to better understand how the laws in your area apply to your situation, or find the nearest legal aid department using this search tool. Legal aid provides lawyers free of charge to qualified clients who need help with civil matters, such as evictions.
Ask your landlord for a reduction or extension
In almost all cases, it is probably best to make an appointment with your landlord or lease company, if possible. While some landlords have responded to the pandemic by allegedly putting additional pressure on tenants to pay, others have joined, and some even went as far as to stop rent payments for the coming months.
It may be worthwhile approaching your landlord to see if they can lower your rent in the coming months, or let you pay out the payments for the coming months for the following year. As renters across the country start organizing rent strikes and more community leaders are pushing for rent freezes, your landlord may prefer such a scheme over no rent at all.
Be wary of landlords who make excessive demands. For example, some ask renters to convert their $ 1,200 incentive check or money they received from a charity as a condition of not filing an eviction notice. Do not agree to any unreasonable terms or conditions that you cannot meet, especially if your city or state has enacted protection against such regulations.
If you are concerned about your financial situation today, consider theseand get . And if you are one of the millions of Americans who have received a $ 1,200 stimulus check, .
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