There’s no doubt about it, COVID-19 has undoubtedly changed a lot of things in terms of how we run as a nation. This has led business owners from small to large to feel uncertain about how their company is going to fare during these uncertain times. This is why many are taking the unfortunate step of either laying off workers or placing them on furlough. Although it’s understandable why they are making these decisions, the ripple effect of having so many people lose their jobs at the same time is being seen within the housing sector. Each month, more and more people can’t afford to pay their rent, and this has caused even further issues regarding morality and basic economics. Therefore, the following list includes some of the ways evictions are being handled during COVID-19.
Over the course of the summer, Congress has pushed for a relief fund to help Americans during these difficult times. Perhaps the most notable of these actions included a one-time stimulus check of $1,200 per qualified person and an additional $500 per child they have. Although this has certainly saved many from being evicted, there is a consensus that it is not enough for those unemployed. In addition, the Department of Housing and Urban Development had also released an order to landlords to stop evictions until the end of April. The Federal Housing Finance Agency has also reached out to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to also comply with the same order for at least 60 days.
The CARES Act
Continuing with congressional action, one of the legislation put forward was the CARES act. At first, many Americans believed that they would be saved from being evicted, but it soon became apparent that the act would only cover those properties which were under a government loan. Although this did leave a good amount of people without protection, the act did manage to cover a large number of large buildings, which included apartments within them. According to the Urban Institute, over 12.3 million households were protected during the first half of the year.
Because the eviction rates were so large and spread out across the entire country, many local governments are taking action to save people from being thrown out of their homes. A few are speaking with landlords to come to a deal regarding the halting of property taxes if they allow tenants to ride out the pandemic. Others are straight out ordering landlords not to evict anyone who has consistently paid their rent and only stopped because of the pandemic.
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, many landlords across the country have begun to argue against their unfair treatment by local governments. They state that they also have bills to pay and thus cannot afford to keep tenants within their properties for a prolonged period of time. In fact, there has been a wave of landlords preparing to sue their local governments if proper and fair compensation isn’t provided. This has been an issue with local courts as they are usually not set up to deal with these types of issues. Federal law can be tricky and thus is often left to the higher courts. However, today’s society is very different, and thus courts are being forced to shift their priorities and often their expertise to fit the needs of people.
Throughout the past few months, we have seen states deal with evictions in their own way. In Texas, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that evictions were not allowed to occur unless there was a present danger or criminal action had taken place. Again, this was short-lived as it only provided about 60 days of protection. Other stats such as Utah have not halted any evictions from happening but have taken steps to protect their people. One includes delaying any eviction court proceedings. The other includes providing people with a rent deferment plan if they can prove to the landlord and the courts that they are facing financial hardship due to the pandemic.