What to Do If You’ve Been Evicted or Are Facing Eviction During COVID-19

Legal advocates have discovered that hundreds of tenants in Pima County may have been illegally evicted despite CARES Act restrictions. The courts have taken steps to stop this from happening to more people, but how can you tell if this happened to you, and what can you do if it has? 

“The first thing to do is to check to see if there is a federal mortgage on the property you are living at,” said Pamela Bridge, director of advocacy and litigation at Community Legal Services.  

The second thing tenants who may be financially struggling due to COVID-19 will want to do three steps, Bridges said. 

First, Bridges urged tenants to work with their landlord to figure out a payment plan. By doing so, a tenant will qualify for eviction protection under an executive order from Gov. Doug Ducey curtailing evictions during the pandemic.

Second, tenants should make sure they have applied for rental assistance and complete the process. To qualify under the executive order, people have to complete the application. 

The third and final step is to make sure you give your landlord notice you are having COVID-related financial issues, whether that is reduced work hours or being sick. Just coming upon hard times unrelated to COVID-19 is not covered under the executive order. 

Bridges advised those who may believe they were wrongfully evicted to call a legal aid association in the county they are in. Groups like Community Legal Services can’t actively solicit clients because of ethical rules. Still, they know from the data that people have been wrongfully evicted from their homes, and this could mean lawsuits and more for those tenants. 

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