Are you behind on rent? Struggling to understand the Eviction Moratorium?
Being late on your rent is a terrible feeling. No one likes the creeping dread associated with falling behind on payments. Life throws plenty of curveballs already, and becoming homeless shouldn’t be one.
The global pandemic has thrown everyone into a loop. Millions of Americans face struggles with their jobs and financial prospects. The aftermath is continuing today.
Financial insecurity and debt continue to be real problems. Renters, in particular, were and still are in danger of eviction. With the Federal Eviction Moratorium, renters may be able to get some relief.
Unlike the previous CARES Act, the newer program is more robust and helps more Americans. Confused about the Federal Eviction Moratorium, what it does and what it covers? Read on for everything you need to know.
What Is a Moratorium?
A moratorium is a period of temporary relief from payment or eviction. You’ll find that many lending institutions have this available, depending on the contract you’ve signed. It’s applicable for credit card debts, loans, and even rent or mortgage.
Unlike a grace period, it involves specific caveats and features. One of which is that an eviction moratorium lasts for longer. A standard grace period when it comes to renting is 21 days.
An eviction moratorium, on the other hand, can last from several weeks to even months. Most moratoriums need approval by the landlord, while grace periods do not. In the case of the Federal one, this approval is not required from the landlord.
Another feature is moratoriums can carry interest on the delayed payments. Grace periods are interest-free until the set deadline passes. As per both cases, though, you need to pay the rent eventually.
The Federal Moratorium gives you more time to pay your rent. However, you are still responsible for any back rent or interest. Generally, the Federal Eviction Moratorium gives you financial flexibility while in a pinch.
The planned extension to the moratorium period ends October 2021. To avoid getting evicted after it expires, it’s important to plan for this. Avoiding payments for rent debt can get you in legal trouble.
Can a landlord sue for back rent after eviction? The answer is yes.
Federal Eviction Moratorium In Depth
At the height of the pandemic, many renters found themselves on the brink of homelessness. In the US alone, about 25.3% of Americans failed to pay last month’s rent. They also worry that they won’t cover the succeeding months’ upcoming rent or mortgage.
The CDC responded to this with the Federal Eviction Moratorium. This order was set in place to prevent mass evictions brought on by the pandemic. It was first introduced in September of 2020.
The CDC created this program to help keep transmissions low. The last thing anyone wants is a surge in homelessness or shared living situations. Mass evictions would make social distancing and quarantining difficult and hinder our recovery.
The new one came a few weeks after the CARES Act Eviction Moratorium expired. This new protection moratorium also ended in July 2021. Despite this, efforts are being made to extend the Federal Eviction Moratorium.
With the homelessness crisis on the rise, it’s not uncommon to find people struggling. What the Federal Eviction Moratorium did, and will hopefully continue to do, is give renters more time to recover. Depending on where you live and existing protections, landlords cannot evict you.
This only applies to late or missing payments due to the current global situation. It allows renters time to get their finances in order without the risk of being homeless. It’s important to know that despite this, you still need to pay any back rent incurred.
The Inner Workings of the Federal Eviction Moratorium
The initial CARES Act Eviction Moratorium didn’t cover as much as its successor. It only protected those with “federally-backed” programs, assistance, and grants. To cater to more Americans, they passed the Federal Eviction Moratorium in September 2020.
To qualify, there were several requirements needed for renters to meet. First, they needed to live in a county experiencing a pandemic surge. Next, they needed to have already tried to get government assistance or aid. Finally, your projected income had to be low enough, or you had to have your income damaged by the pandemic.
Many of these requirements will continue if the Federal Eviction Moratorium gets extended. These include specific financial thresholds. For example, your projected income for 2021 must be less than $99,000 ($198,000 if married with a joint tax return).
Receiving a stimulus check or previous government assistance also makes you eligible, as does having expensive medical bills in excess of 7.5% of your projected income. As long as you meet the first threshold of living in a high transmission area, there are many ways to be eligible.
Some additional considerations are if you’ve already been doing your best to pay what you can. You’ll also need to give your landlord a signed form for the program to protect you. Any significant loss in your ability to provide for yourself makes you eligible.
Latest News About the Federal Eviction Moratorium 2021
As of August 26, the Supreme Court has blocked the renewal of the Federal Eviction Moratorium. While the CDC and Biden will no doubt keep trying to bring relief, it’s important to plan for a delay. Should the Federal Eviction Moratorium get revived, it will still only cover regions experiencing a surge.
Additionally, protection in a county will cease if pandemic numbers decline. This will occur regardless of when any future moratorium will be set to end. Be prepared to pay back your debts for your rental property if this happens.
Relief With the Federal Eviction Moratorium
In these daunting times, keeping afloat shouldn’t be as difficult as it is. Staying in the know and understanding what you can do for yourself goes a long way. Don’t let the burden of not knowing what to do keep you down.
Find out more about the eviction moratorium and how to use the law to your advantage.
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