Tenants struggling to pay their rent are worried they will be quickly evicted from their rental homes as bans on evictions that were enacted in March expire.
In most states that have temporarily banned evictions, landlords whose tenants are not paying rent can file eviction notices that will go into effect as soon as the bans expire, which means that evictions could be very quick once the bans expire.
With more than 38 million people out of work and many states still in the process of reopening, millions of households could potentially still be behind on their rent in late May and early June as most bans are set to expire.
A national renter’s group reported that only 69% of renters they surveyed paid their rent in the first week of April, compared to 81% in March, according to the Wall Street Journal. Some of these renters could have paid later in the month, but the report shows a marked difference a month of job losses and shutdowns can make.
Texas sees thousand-plus eviction notices, PA maxing out aid
In Texas where eviction bans expired on May 19, landlords filed more than 1,110 eviction notices between March 16 and early May. Evictions could begin there as soon as this week.
In Pennsylvania, an assistance program offering up to $3000 to renters struggling to pay has been overloaded with applications, and homeless shelters are full or closed if people do become homeless, one local TV station reported.
It’s a difficult situation for both renters and landlords, who can’t keep current on their mortgages if they don’t get rent payments. Landlords with federally backed mortgages can defer payments through a federal program, which may prevent some evictions until tenants go back to work after shutdowns, the Journal reported.
When one part of the social safety net isn’t available or doesn’t work, however, homelessness can result.
Social safety net failing?
Another difficulty that may be causing many to be behind on their rent is failures in state unemployment programs that have caused delays of weeks or months for people to begin getting benefits. While financial experts recommend having three to six months expenses saved for emergencies, most people can’t or don’t follow that advice.
Evidence that people have been struggling to cover basic expenses can be seen in drive-up food bank lines that have stretched for miles in some areas. In addition, a U.S. Census Bureau study said that 21% of people they talked to said they might not be able to pay their rent next month.
Depending on the government to meet your needs is never a good plan, and the growing rent problem is no exception to this rule.
The answer lies in ending state shutdowns and getting people back to work so that they once again have money to pay rent and take care of other basic expenses.