Groups That Help Renters Prepare for ‘Tidal Wave’ of Evictions

Organizations that work with low-income renters are gearing up for a rash of eviction filings as Maine courts begin dealing with cases next month for the first time since mid-March, a moratorium from federally funded housing programs expires; and the weekly $600 boost to unemployment benefits ends.

But the wave of eviction filings might not materialize immediately, as attorneys for landlords say they don’t have clients eager to kick tenants out of their buildings for unpaid rent. And courts are likely to deal with the oldest cases — those that were pending before the pandemic shut courts down — first.

Also, federal rent relief funds that have not yet been distributed may help renters make payments over the next couple of months, according to the Maine State Housing Authority, as high unemployment likely persists and the specter of another wave of coronavirus infections remains.

About 155,000 households, or 28 percent of all households in Maine, rent rather than own their dwellings. And many aren’t confident they’ll be able to keep paying rent.

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