During the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government put certain protections in place to protect tenant's rights. One of those protections was a federal eviction moratorium. While eviction is often the last resort for landlords, it is sometimes the only tool to deal with delinquent tenants.
Now that the federal ban on evictions is coming to an end, landlords wonder what course of action they have for dealing with tenants in arrears. Read on and learn what you can do as a property owner.
Why Did the Government Enact an Eviction Moratorium?
The coronavirus pandemic caused many renters to lose their jobs and other sources of income. With most of the nation on lockdown, it was difficult for renters to make monthly rent payments. The U.S. government issued a mandate that landlords could not evict tenants because of medical or employment hardships.
Enacted in March 2020, the eviction moratorium superseded the rental agreement. This eviction protection expired on July 31, 2021, but Congress extended the mandate until October 3, 2021. However, this extension does not apply to all states.
What Happens Now?
The moratorium prevented landlords from evicting a tenant over missed rent payments, but it didn't necessarily forgive those debts. Landlords are entitled to full payment of missed rent. It is the renter's responsibility to initiate a plan with the landlord to pay back rent and any applicable late fees.
Now is the time for tenants and landlords to work out a plan for repayment of rent. This will help ensure tenants can remain in their homes once the moratorium expires.
Landlords who are unable to negotiate a good faith agreement with their tenants may legally initiate eviction proceedings within 30 to 90 days, depending on the laws in your state. Some states have their own eviction protection measures that extend past the federal deadline. If you are working with an experienced property manager, they can explore the options available and create a plan on your behalf.
Evict or Not?
Whether you decide to evict a tenant is a decision you'll have to make based on various criteria. If you have a tenant who was faithful with their rent payments before the pandemic, they are likely willing to work out an arrangement. Finding a new tenant may take more time and cost more money than keeping an existing tenant.
The federal government is giving billions of dollars to renters who need assistance with unpaid rent. If you can reach a repayment agreement with your tenant, they may be eligible to receive these funds. Eligibility is based on pandemic-related loss of income and the risk of homelessness if evicted.
Know Your Rights
State and federal laws protect tenant's rights, but so are the rights of property owners. State and federal laws protect tenant's rights, but so are the rights of property owners. The eviction moratorium prevented landlords from evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent during the pandemic. It did not forgive the debt of missed rent payments.
As the deadline for the moratorium draws closer, landlords and renters need to begin planning a payment plan. Contact us today if you have questions about your rights as a property owner and how the eviction moratorium affects you.