Unfortunately, the situation is getting more and more confusing, no less. Some of the protection against expulsion from national and local governments will expire at the end of July. With tens of millions of people filing for unemployment, some housing experts are predicting a rental crisis around the corner. If your home is covered by federal CARES law (keep reading to find out if it is), you have some teeth almost two months before the threat of eviction. However, for many others, that time is now.
Some states have extensive protection against eviction, such as California did in late May. There have also been waves of rent freezes (when a government bans rent collection) and rent strikes (when tenants work together to stop paying rent), which have provided some protection to those at risk of losing their homes. Meanwhile, calls for federal cancellation of rent and mortgage payments.
Some federal measures are already in force. There isthe – and perhaps even a – and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development . But it's not always clear which laws apply to you and which don't – or which an unscrupulous landlord might ignore.
Regulations vary from state to state and from city to city, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution for anyone struggling to make rent. That's frustrating, but there are ways to find out which protections apply to you. Here's how to determine which laws cover tenants in your area, and how to approach your landlord once you're 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 the most comprehensive and strongest protection to renters. 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 may ask you to leave is July 25, and the fastest that can file an eviction to force you to leave is August 24. Nor can they charge you late fees until July 25. The House of Representatives insists that this protection be extended by another eight months, although the Senate and the White House.
This part is particularly 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 owns your building and does not receive government support such as money from Section 8, 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 utility to search 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 fewer 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 quadplex rental is covered by the law and we will update this story as we find more information.
Other 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 pandemic assistance portal. 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 at
The Nolo.com Legal Service website lists the states that have and have not imposed emergency bans on 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 pay during the pandemic – with no late fees.
Court closings can create a loophole to delay eviction
Even if you do not live in an area subject to an eviction ban, some districts across the country have suspended judicial proceedings during the pandemic, meaning that landlords will be 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.
For example, in Georgia, where residents are requesting the governor to suspend rent payments, the state's Supreme Court has recently ordered the state courts to shut down all “essential functions”. Courts may be open to issue arrest warrants and restraining orders, but evictions are not covered by those guidelines.
In addition, some departments of the county sheriff – usually the law enforcement agency in charge of the deportation order – have taken on the task of stopping deportation, as was the case from March in Seattle. It may be worth calling the office of your local sheriff if you cannot provide information online, but you will also want to consult a local real estate attorney to understand how the laws in your area apply to your situation.
Ask your landlord for a discount or extension
In almost all cases, it is probably best to work out an arrangement with your landlord or leasing agency if possible. While some landlords have responded to the pandemic by allegedly putting tenants under even more pressure to pay, others have joined and some even went as far as to stop rent payments for the coming months.
It may be worthwhile to approach 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. Now that tenants across the country are starting to organize rent strikes and more community leaders are pushing for rental freezes, your landlord may prefer such an arrangement over no rent at all.
Be wary of landlords who make excessive demands. For example, some ask renters to convert their $ 1,200 stimulus check or money they received from a charity as a condition of not filing an eviction notice. Do not agree to unreasonable terms or conditions that you cannot meet, especially if your city or state has determined protection against such regulations.
If you're concerned about your financial situation these days, consider theseand get some . And if you are one of the millions of Americans who have received a $ 1,200 stimulus check, .
Coronavirus reopenings: what it looks like when locks around the world become easier