What if losing a job, even temporarily, means you cannot pay your rent? As more and more states impose lock downs or stay-at-home orders to prevent further spread of COVID-19, renters, who are among the most vulnerable when it comes to housing security, wonder what relief they could have to help pay the rent or avoid eviction.
Programs for homeowners that prevent foreclosure, eviction, and provide mortgage payment relief are available from the federal government, states, municipalities, and private lenders. Now, the same help is ramping up for renters. Here is what is available, how it works, and how to get help.
Cares Act Eviction Protection
The CARES Act, signed into law Mar. 27, 2020, provides 120 days of eviction relief for tenants in federally backed housing. Specifically, you may not be served with an eviction notice until July 25, 2020 and the notice must give you 30 days to leave the property (Aug. 24, 2020).
During the 120-day eviction moratorium, your landlord may not charge you late fees, penalties, or other charges for paying your rent late. It is important to note that the eviction moratorium does not relieve you of your obligation to pay your rent. It merely forbids your landlord from evicting you during that period for late payment.
Rental Housing Covered by the Eviction Moratorium
The temporary moratorium on eviction filings pertains to any rental housing that is:
- Covered under section 41411 of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (34 U.S.C. 12491(a); or
- Covered by the rural housing voucher program under section 542 of the Housing Act of 1949 (42 U.S.C. 1490r); or
- Has a Federally backed mortgage or multifamily mortgage loan
CARES Act Tenant-Based Rental Assistance
In terms of help with paying your rent, the CARES Act provides the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with an additional $17.4 billion in funding including monies for rent assistance, housing vouchers, public housing, and housing for the elderly. For help contact HUD Rental Assistance.
Cares Act Indirect Assistance
The $2.2 trillion CARES Act legislation also provides financial assistance that can help with housing costs, since how you use the money is not specified.
Expanded Unemployment Benefits
Your eligibility for unemployment insurance is expanded if you lose your job due to COVID-19. After your regular state benefits expire you may receive up to an additional 13 weeks of benefits including an additional $600 per week. Unemployment benefits are also expanded to include people not normally eligible such as independent contractors, part-time employees, or members of the gig economy.
211.org Social Services Search
United Way sponsored website 211.org provides an easy-to-use search bar by zip code, or by community and state, to find sources of help with rent as well as many other essential services. Fill in the required information, click “search” and get information about available help.
State by State
Many states have taken action to pause or suspend renter evictions, at least temporarily. The table below lists those states that have halted evictions and the date or time period the suspension ends if known. The list will be updated as it changes.
Cities and Counties Also Offer Help
Even in states where a moratorium on evictions or help with rent is not available, many cities and counties have programs of their own. Check local and state government websites for information about COVID-19 related eviction moratoriums, rent forbearance or rent assistance.
For residents of Colorado Springs in need of financial assistance, here are a few options to get you started:
- Catholic Charities – 719-477-9365
- Mercy’s Gate – 719-277-7470
- REACH Pikes Peak – 719-358-8396
- Silver Key Senior Services – 719-884-2300
- Tri-Lakes Cares – 719-481-1864
- Westside CARES – 719-481-0759
If you are an owner or landlord in need of expert guidance during this precarious time, the friendly professionals at Sellstate Alliance Realty & Property Management would be glad to help.