The national moratorium on evictions ended on Saturday despite a last-minute offer from Democratic lawmakers to extend it for another month. The ban on evictions was first put in place by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September 2020.
With the moratorium in place, tenants could miss rent payments without fear of eviction, but housing providers still had to pay their own mortgages and other bills. As such, housing providers – including businesses and individuals – have had to shoulder more than $ 13 billion in unpaid rent each month during the term of the eviction ban.
Finally, the ban, which had been repeatedly extended by President Joe Biden’s administration, ended.
Now things are likely to change quickly. With the end of the eviction ban, tenants who missed their payments will have to start paying again. They’ll also have to make up for previously missed payments, which will likely mean sitting down with their housing provider and coming to an agreement on what they can afford to pay back. If they do not resume rent payments and agree to an agreement to pay back what was missed, landlords can initiate eviction proceedings.
However, some states have announced extended protections for tenants. California, Illinois and New York, among others, have all passed statewide extensions to the eviction moratorium, meaning homeowners will have to continue to sit still.
Tenants who live in housing provided by federal agencies such as the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Department of Agriculture, Veterans Affairs and the Department of Housing and Urban Development also remain under protection as they all have extended the moratoriums on evictions until September 30.
The good news for tenants who have to start paying again is that rent assistance is still available. Two laws passed earlier this year secured nearly $ 50 billion in emergency rent assistance, but only 6.5% of those funds were distributed.
Deployment has been slow, hampered by a laborious application process. However, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has just announced a new online tool for tenants and housing providers who still face financial hardship from the pandemic. It allows them to locate and request payment assistance, covering rent, utility bills and other expenses.
The new Rent Assistance Finder can guide housing providers and tenants to assistance programs in their area.