Much of the financial safety net intended to keep Americans in their homes during thewill be reeled in at the end of July. The enhanced unemployment benefit that grants an . And federal eviction protections end July 25, 120 days after they began.
If you’re among the millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet, you may have some pressing questions: Is rent still due on the first or can you still get an extension? Can your landlord evict you if your payment’s late? What laws can help you stay in your home as you? Will there be a that can help?
Short answer: If your home is covered by the federal CARES Act (keep reading to find out if it is), you’ve got at least until July 25 before the threat of eviction grows some teeth. For many others — especially those who live in areas with no local or state ordinances preventing eviction filings — that time is now.
Of the states that did institute some rent protections, many of those have already expired or will in the next month or two. Some states have extended their protections, like California did at the end of May, but others, like New York, have let them lapse.
Since ordinances vary from state to state and city to city, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone who’s having trouble making rent. That’s frustrating, but there are ways to try and figure out which protections apply to you. Here’s how to work out which laws cover tenants in your area, plus how to approach your landlord once you’re armed with that information.
If this applies to you, you’re safe until at least July 25
The federal CARES Act passed in March provides the broadest and strongest protections to renters. It temporarily bans evictions and late fees until July 25. It also requires a 30-day notice to vacate before you can be evicted.
So the soonest your landlord can ask you to leave is July 25, and the soonest they can file an eviction to force you to leave is August 24. Also, they can’t charge you late fees until July 25. The House of Representatives had pushed to extend these protections by another eight months, though no further movement has been made in Washington, and the topic — and timeline — of.
This part is especially important. The protections spelled out in the CARES Act only applies to properties that receive federal funds and/or are financed under a federal program like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. This is where things get tricky. If your landlord owns your building outright and does not get any government assistance like Section 8 money, the CARES Act would not apply to your situation.
If you rent a single-family house or an apartment in a building with four or fewer units, it’s going to be really hard tracking down whether this law applies to you. But if you live in a multifamily property with five or more units, you’re in luck, because there’s a tool published by the National Low Income Housing Association that’s designed to tell you if the property where you live is covered under the CARES Act. Just enter your ZIP code and scroll through the list of properties looking for yours. (Our computer’s tool to search within the page didn’t work for us, so scrolling it is.)
There’s one more wrinkle, however. Just because yours is not listed doesn’t mean it’s not also covered — the tool only tracks properties with five or more units. That means if you rent a single-family house or an apartment in a building with four or fewer units, even if the property falls under the CARES Act it may not be listed here. We’re still looking for resources to help you determine if your single-family, duplex or quadplex rental falls under the law and will update this story as soon as we find more information.
Online tools that can help you find resources
The online legal services chatbot at DoNotPay.com recently added athat the company claims will identify which of the laws, ordinances and measures covering rent and evictions apply to you, based on your location.
DoNotPay will also draft and send a letter to your landlord on your behalf, asking for either deferred payments or to waive late fees. Here’s.
Nonprofit website 211.org connects those in need of help with essential community services in their area. It has also recently set up a portal for pandemic assistance. If you’re having trouble with your food budget or paying your housing bills, you can use 211.org’s online search tool or dial 211 on your phone to talk to someone who can try to help.
Another nonprofit, JustShelter.org, puts tenants facing eviction in touch with local organizations that can help them remain in their homes or, in worst-case scenarios, find emergency housing.
Look up your specific state and local resources
The legal services website Nolo.com has a list of which states have and have not passed emergency bans on evictions. It includes links to the resolutions published by the states themselves. TheDailyBeast maintains a similar list, as does the National Consumer Law Center. Protections range from almost none at all to the broad and wide, so you’ll want to know exactly what the situation is in your location.
Many state governments across the country have suspended evictions for as long as 90 days, including New York, Arizona and California. Los Angeles residents will have up to a year after the city’s declaration of emergency ends (whenever that may be) to catch up on any rent they were unable to pay during the pandemic — with no late fees.
Court closures may create a loophole to delay eviction
Even if you don’t live in an area covered by a ban on evictions, some districts across the country have halted court proceedings during the pandemic, which means landlords will be temporarily unable to have courts order an eviction. Political encyclopedia Ballotpedia.org has an updated list of regional court closures. Legal news service Law360.com maintains a similar list.
But states and their court systems are beginning to reopen. As they do, it can get a bit dicey trying to figure out whether or not courts in your part of the country are hearing eviction proceedings yet or when they’ll start.
Ultimately, you may want to consult a lawyer to better understand how laws in your area apply to your situation, or locate the nearest Legal Aid office using this search tool. Legal Aid provides attorneys free of charge to qualified clients who need help with civil matters, like evictions.
Ask your landlord for a reduction or extension
In almost all instances it’s probably best to work out an arrangement with your landlord or leasing agency, if at all possible. Although some landlords have reacted to the pandemic by reportedly putting even more pressure on tenants to pay up, others have risen to the occasion, some going so far as to stop collecting rent payments for the next few months.
It may be worth approaching your landlord to see if they can reduce your rent in the coming months, or let you spread payments for the next couple of months’ rent out over the next year. As renters across the country are beginning to organize rent strikes and more community leaders push for rent freezes, your landlord may prefer such an arrangement over not receiving any rent at all.
Just be wary of landlords who make excessive demands. For example, some are asking tenants to turn over their $1,200 stimulus check or any money received from charity as a condition for not filing an eviction order. Don’t agree to unreasonable conditions or terms you won’t be able to meet, especially if your city or state has enacted protections against such arrangements.
If you’re concerned about your financial situation these days, consider theseand get some . And if you’re one of the millions of Americans who received a $1,200 stimulus check, .
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