Tenant Groups Seek Banks’ Help to Forestall Evictions

Houston eviction attorney Dana Karni’s phone is ringing more this month as some of her clients are having to decide between paying rent or making a car payment.

“For many of them, their car will be their next home,” said Karni, managing attorney with Texas nonprofit Lone Star Legal Aid.

Now tenant and landlord groups are counting on banks that hold the mortgages underlying apartments or rental homes to take action. Specifically, these groups are calling on banks to require property owners — the borrowers — to pause eviction proceedings if they want forbearance on their mortgages.

Many households were able to take advantage of expanded unemployment insurance and government-mandated forbearance programs to get through the first few months of the pandemic. Still, unemployment benefits have expired, and households are stressed. 

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