WASHINGTON — Renters who are behind on payments are breathing a sigh of relief this month as the CDC extended their eviction moratorium until the end of July.
The Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, estimates anywhere between 30-40 million people have been helped throughout the pandemic because of the CDC moratorium.
However, the CDC has suggested that there will be no more extensions and evictions will be able to begin nationwide in early August.
WHAT SHOULD RENTERS DO?
According to government data, around 7 million Americans were behind on their rent earlier this summer.
While unemployment numbers have fallen drastically since the peak of the pandemic, the unemployment rate is still higher than it was before the pandemic began.
It currently stands at 5.8%.
It was 3.5% before the first pandemic lockdown began.
"A lot of times tenants don’t really know their rights," Kenrick Thomas is with Bread for the City, a nonprofit that helps low-income earners in Washington D.C.
Thomas says if you are a renter struggling, you should research free legal centers that exist in every state.
Having a lawyer, he says, always increases your chances of winning in court.
"When it comes to landlords, about 95% have representation in the court. Do you know what the percentage is for tenants? 10%," Thomas said.
Thomas said the most important thing renters can do is know they cannot be evicted until the end of July. Thomas said a number of tenants have received threatening eviction letters in recent months.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Eviction restrictions and assistance are likely to begin varying from state to state.
In New York, for instance, the governor extended their eviction ban through August.
In California, lawmakers are putting the finishing touches on a multi-billion dollar program to pay the bills of renters. Taxpayer money from leftover COVID-19 relief funds will help cover the cost of the program.
Landlords, however, remain eager for the eviction moratorium to end.
The National Apartment Association has expressed “extreme disappointment” the CDC extended the moratorium one more month.
Leaders of the group emphasized a number of landlords are struggling to pay the bills because of the lack of rent income.