If you’ve been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, like any consumers, you may find that you’re experiencing difficulty with making rent payments. We’ve gathered resources to help you know the options available to you and new protection for renters impacted by the pandemic.
In late March, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a relief package for businesses, state and local governments, and individuals.
One of the provisions of the CARES Act included a 60-day halt on foreclosures for homes with federally backed mortgage loans. The CARES Act also entitles multifamily property owners (often rental properties) with federally backed mortgages to request forbearance for their mortgage for up to 90 days due to financial hardship.
Under the guidelines of the law, any landlord who received forbearance under the CARES Act would be barred from starting eviction proceeding on their renters during that period. The law also prohibits all landlords who have federally backed mortgages from evicting renters during that period.
It’s difficult for a renter to know whether or not they live in a property that is covered by the CARES Act. The best way to find out is to inquire with your local housing authority, landlord, or property management company. In addition, The CFPB lists some resources to help you determine whether you live in a covered property.
If the property you live in isn’t covered, there may protection for renters under state or local laws. You can find information about eviction policies around the country as well as a COVID-10 Housing Policy Scorecard for your state.
Even if the eviction moratorium applies to you, rent payments are not halted due to COVID-10 and are still due as part of your rental agreement. Your rent payments are not being forgiven, but eviction proceedings for non-payment are being deferred. Protection under the CARES Act is only temporary. If it’s possible to pay your rent, it’s best to continue paying so you are not subject to potential eviction proceedings once the moratorium is over.
What if you just can’t pay? Having an honest conversation is always the best place to start. It’s in your best interest to reach out to your landlord directly and let them know you’ve experienced financial hardship and as if you can work out a payment plan. It’s important that you don’t wait until rent is due to make contact. This is a situation where waiting and staying silent won’t work in your favor. Give your landlord as much notice as possible will indicate that you are acting in good faith, and will help them be more open to working with you on an alternate agreement.
Options to consider discussing with your landlord include an installment plan for payment over multiple months, or even a lesser rate of rent for several months, with the ability to repay the rest over a longer period of time.
With so many families struggling right now, there are more and more options available for help. Eliminating or reducing some of the your typical household expenses for items like food or utilities can make your resources stretch further and help the funds you have coming in be more available for things like Rent.
A great place to start to look for resources is your local 211.org. 211 providers across the United States are available to connect people with resources and services in their community.
Community-based food programs are also available across the country. Those seeking assistance from local food banks and pantries can locate the nearest one at Feeding America through the “Find Your Local Food Bank” option.
While there aren’t easy answers or magic solutions that fully address a financial crisis, there are always resources available to help, even if they are in smaller ways.
If you are experiencing financial difficulty and are looking for a solution, CESI is here to help. Our counselors are available to assist if you are experiencing job loss, temporary loss of income or financial hardship during this time. Contact us today for a free financial assessment with one of our certified credit counselors.
Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit service provider of comprehensive personal financial education and solutions for all life stages and for all of life’s milestones. Our goal is enhanced economic security for everyone we serve.
CESI is NOT A LOAN COMPANY