As Eviction Hiatus Ends Landlords Are Hustling Out Renters

July 24, 2020

Landlords in Tucson, Ariz., filed dozens of eviction cases last month despite the federal moratorium, which was put in place because of the coronavirus crisis. Legal-aid lawyers had to go to court to stop the eviction of a San Antonio renter who had lost her job during a citywide stay-at-home order. And in Omaha, Neb., a court found that a landlord's attempted eviction of a struggling renter had violated the emergency law.

Landlords across the country have put eviction proceedings in motion even though the coronavirus relief law currently protects about 12 million tenants living in qualifying properties. Landlords are prohibited from filing new eviction actions or charge late fees for nonpayment of rent until the moratorium expires.

State and local governments also have issued eviction moratoriums. Still, the federal relief law is the furthest-reaching, covering as many as 12.3 million renters living in apartment complexes or single-family homes financed with a federally backed mortgage.  

The moratorium has been a lifeline for millions of unemployed people, allowing renters waiting on slow-to-arrive aid to stay in their homes and make up the payments later.

Paula Cino, a vice president for policy and government affairs at the National Multifamily Housing Council, a landlord group, said there had been some legitimate confusion at the outset with the federal moratorium and local and state eviction pauses.

The landlord group is in favor of help for tenants, too. The National Multifamily Housing Council said it favored the creation of an emergency rental-assistance program of up to $100 billion. But the organization opposes a "protracted extension of a federal eviction moratorium."

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