STREAMING NOW: Watch Now
CLOSINGS: View Closings

August rent is due. Here's what to do if you can't pay it

August is here and the rent is due — again. But for milli...

Posted: Jul 31, 2020 9:29 PM

August is here and the rent is due — again. But for millions of people in the US who are at risk of eviction, it's a month they've been dreading since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Two major supports for struggling renters are disappearing in the beginning of August. The federal government's most expansive moratorium on evictions has expired. And the $600 supplement to unemployment insurance payments has, so far, not been extended.

But rent is still due. For people who relied on those protections, this month may mark the beginning of new challenges.

"Emergency rental assistance has to be a priority," said Priscilla Almodovar, CEO of Enterprise Community Partners, a national nonprofit developing affordable housing. "It is a key factor to avoid the evictions which mean homelessness."

There are as many as 23 million renters who are at risk of losing their home, according to a report by the Covid-19 Eviction Defense Project and the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program, as moratoriums expire in jurisdictions across the country. One in five renters is at risk of eviction by the fall, with the undocumented, people of color and low-income renters most vulnerable, according to the report.

"I expect that we are going to see a lot of families thrust into homelessness right as we are starting the school year, which is fraught with complications already," said Erin O. Planalp, managing attorney at Iowa Legal Aid. "But I hope that we can build on our connections in the community and partner with landlords to try to give people a little more time."

For people who are unable to pay rent this month, the good news is that there may be more rent relief resources available than when the pandemic began.

Know what protections you have

If you are not able to pay your rent, talk to your landlord. Many will agree to take partial payments or to set a payment plan. But if you still can't make rent, you need to know what protections you have to avoid eviction.

Eviction moratoriums, which are halts on landlords either filing for or carrying out a removal of a tenant, were put in place to protect tenants from losing their home during the health crisis. But they have been patchy and confusing. There were moratoriums at the federal or local levels, for different types of homes and for varying amounts of time.

The biggest federal ban on evictions expired on July 24. Included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and known as the CARES Act eviction moratorium, it protected tenants in federally subsidized or federally backed housing from being evicted for nonpayment of rent. This was a narrow protection covering only one in four rental homes, according to the Urban Institute, but if you are in that category it is one less protection you have.

But two other protections are still in place. The FHA, VA, and USDA have extended eviction protections in some situations for single family home renters until August 31. Separately, if your landlord gets CARES Act mortgage relief on the home you rent, then you may be protected from eviction for a longer period.

At this point, tenants are more likely to be protected by a local moratorium, which may have been extended or remain in place.

Such protections are based on where you live. For example, in New York State the governor extended the eviction moratorium until August 20. In Washington, the moratorium on evictions was extended through October 15 and in Massachusetts through October 17. You can check on the status in your state at Eviction Lab.

Or your protection may come from the kind of housing you have. The Philadelphia Housing Authority announced that it would extend an eviction moratorium for nonpayment of rent until March 15, 2021. This action is an effort to assure the authority's 80,000 low-income residents, who have been "disproportionately impacted by the virus," they can maintain housing stability during this time of economic uncertainty, according to Kelvin A. Jeremiah, PHA president.

But no matter the eviction moratorium protection you may be under, rent is not forgiven. Unpaid rent is still owed and will still need to be paid eventually to avoid eviction.

Reach out to find relief funds

The CARES Act allocated money to states and communities to use for rent relief. But connecting renters in need with the money is difficult, legal aid workers say.

For anyone who hasn't been past due on rent, it is hard to understand how difficult it is to live in a constant state of emergency, Planalp said. "There is this fight or flight response. Just taking steps to figure it out for you and your family is so difficult."

The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates at least $100 billion in emergency rental assistance will be needed because of the pandemic, and it lists relief available. Some states have set up their own web portals for rental assistance. If you are a resident of Iowa or Arizona, for example, you can answer a few questions to determine your eligibility for aid.

"There is a lot of funding out there," said Planalp. "But there are multiple programs and each program has its own criteria."

Still, much of this relief funding leaves people out, she said. Renters who are undocumented or without legal status are not eligible for the CARES Act relief.

Other information on local housing relief resources can be found through the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a state-by-state list of nonprofit relief organizations can be found at Just Shelter.

"The assistance is there," said Planalp. "We've got to connect people with the right program and give them enough time to apply so they can get the relief they need before they lose their home."

Terre Haute
Few Clouds
83° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 89°
Robinson
Scattered Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 85°
Indianapolis
Broken Clouds
83° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 86°
Rockville
Scattered Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 78°
Casey
Scattered Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 84°
Brazil
Few Clouds
83° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 89°
Marshall
Few Clouds
83° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 89°
Partly cloudy and calm
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 196699

Reported Deaths: 7846
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1119484928
Lake12741446
DuPage12312520
Kane9803305
Will9315344
St. Clair4028161
Winnebago3784131
McHenry3218114
Madison263476
Kankakee178768
Rock Island175636
Champaign168619
Peoria163035
Kendall137923
Unassigned1358209
Sangamon127433
DeKalb93830
LaSalle78324
Boone76623
Jackson72219
McLean65515
Macon64123
Tazewell5918
Adams5425
Coles48720
Randolph4707
Clinton41117
Ogle4115
Williamson4096
Whiteside35917
Stephenson3306
Grundy3265
Union32423
Monroe31813
Knox3031
Jefferson29019
Morgan2686
Iroquois26511
Henry2481
Vermilion2362
Cass23111
Bureau2153
Franklin1910
Warren1910
Perry1841
Macoupin1813
Lee1731
Montgomery1697
Effingham1621
Marion1610
Woodford1523
McDonough14615
Christian1434
Saline1322
Jo Daviess1271
Douglas1222
Logan1220
Livingston1162
Jersey1152
Pulaski941
Clark832
Shelby801
Mercer764
Moultrie740
Johnson690
White690
Fayette673
Washington670
Piatt630
Bond623
Hancock621
Wayne621
Carroll594
Jasper597
Greene580
Cumberland573
Menard560
Mason530
Gallatin512
Lawrence500
Ford492
Massac400
Alexander370
Wabash350
Fulton340
De Witt330
Crawford290
Edgar290
Hamilton290
Marshall270
Clay230
Pike230
Scott210
Richland200
Edwards180
Hardin180
Schuyler180
Brown140
Henderson130
Putnam130
Calhoun100
Pope90
Stark70
Out of IL00

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 74992

Reported Deaths: 3044
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15963725
Lake7632275
Elkhart488385
Allen3937163
St. Joseph354682
Hamilton2803104
Vanderburgh199713
Hendricks1901108
Cass17969
Johnson1767118
Porter133839
Clark124447
Tippecanoe122111
Madison98765
LaPorte92130
Howard90565
Kosciusko86212
Bartholomew80147
Floyd79146
Marshall79022
Monroe75930
Delaware73852
Dubois70012
Noble68429
Boone68346
Hancock67038
Vigo66810
Jackson5885
Warrick58630
LaGrange55910
Shelby55827
Grant52830
Dearborn50828
Morgan48334
Clinton4403
Henry38520
Wayne37710
White37210
Montgomery35421
Lawrence35027
Harrison34123
Decatur33832
Putnam2908
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25134
Jasper2452
Franklin24314
DeKalb2354
Gibson2284
Jennings22612
Steuben2113
Ripley2087
Carroll1932
Fayette1907
Perry18612
Starke1787
Posey1770
Orange17324
Wells1712
Wabash1703
Fulton1692
Jefferson1652
Knox1590
Whitley1546
Tipton14311
Washington1421
Spencer1363
Sullivan1341
Clay1245
Huntington1243
Randolph1234
Newton11810
Adams1022
Jay920
Owen911
Pulaski831
Rush804
Brown741
Fountain742
Blackford652
Ohio655
Benton620
Pike560
Vermillion550
Parke521
Switzerland520
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren231
Unassigned0206