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Many coronavirus protections are going away at the end of July. We’ll tell you what you need to know about rent payments and evictions.


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Your July rent is due. And with many of the protections meant to keep people in their homes during the coronavirus pandemic disappearing at the end of the month, some are saying a national housing crisis is just around the corner. Federal eviction protection ends July 25 — 120 days after it went into effect — and the federally enhanced unemployment benefit that adds an extra $600 per week expires at the end of July. So far, nothing has been enacted at the federal level to replace those laws.

The US House of Representatives has passed a bill that would allocate $100 million to help qualified renters catch up with back rent and would extend eviction protections until March 2021, but that bill, like the House’s earlier Heroes Act relief package, is not expected to pass the Senate.

Where does that leave you? Is rent still due on the first or can you still get an extension? Can your landlord evict you if your payment is late? What laws (if any) can help you keep your home as you weather the coronavirus recession? Will there be another stimulus check and rescue package that might help?

Short answer: If your apartment or house is covered by the federal CARES Act (keep reading to find out how to check), for now at least, you’ve got until July 25 before the threat of eviction gets serious. For many others — especially those who live in areas with no local or state ordinances halting eviction filings — that time is now.


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Many states also instituted some sort of rent protections, but some of those have expired. Other states have extended their protections, like California did at the end of May. Also, New York governor Andrew Cuomo just signed a new bill banning evictions across the state for nonpayment of rent due to the coronavirus and Florida has extended its eviction moratorium. However, other states, like Texas, have let such protections lapse, leaving renters to fend for themselves. 

Since ordinances vary from state to state and even 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.

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Worried about making rent? You’re not alone. 


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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 expanded benefits is up for debate.

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.

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Demonstrators protest evictions in San Francisco.


James Martin/CNET

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

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DoNotPay offers a variety of legal services, including financial relief due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Screenshot by Dale Smith/CNET

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.

The online legal services chatbot at DoNotPay.com recently added a coronavirus financial relief tool that the company says 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 how to set up an account and use the DoNotPay chatbot.

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. The Daily Beast 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 laws are for your specific location. 

Many state governments across the country suspended evictions for as long as 90 days, including New York, Arizona and California, but, again, some of those have been extended, some have not. 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.

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.

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If you don’t have enough money to cover rent, first see what protections are available in your area, then consider trying to work out a payment arrangement with your landlord.


Sarah Tew/CNET

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 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 have asked 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 these 28 ways to save money during the pandemic and get some free financial advice from these six organizations. And if you’re one of the millions of Americans who received a $1,200 stimulus check, be sure to spend it wisely.

source: cnet.com

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