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Can't pay your back rent? What you should do if facing eviction

Posted at 4:27 AM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 10:20:35-04

PHOENIX — Evictions have increased in Maricopa County over past year, just slightly.

But the latest numbers may not show what lies ahead for renters who can't pay their past due rent now that the eviction moratorium has ended.

Preliminary figures show 24,324 evictions have been filed so far this year in Maricopa County. That's up less than 1% compared to last year.

Pam Bridge, an attorney with Community Legal Services, says that number may not show the whole picture.

"We are seeing an increase in evictions all over Arizona, not just in Maricopa County," Bridge said.

During an ABC15 Let Joe Know Facebook live session, we took up the eviction issue.

Bridge expects to see more landlords filing evictions or try to get past due rent, now that they're allowed to.

She says her non-profit organization is seeing renters who may have gone back to work but are not making as much money as they did before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The eviction process can be swift. The worst-case scenario for renters is that it could take just two weeks from the start to when they would have to leave.

During the Facebook live, Bridge advised renters facing eviction of what they should be doing now.

She says pay the rent if there's any way you can. Also communicate with your landlord about your circumstances and work out a plan for payment if the landlord will allow it.

Here's more on what renters should do if facing eviction.

Bridge says a judgment on your record from an eviction can make future renting more difficult.

She says to work with the landlord to get it removed. "Maybe say to the landlord, I'll apply for rental assistance and pay back my past due rent if you agree, and get this in writing to vacate my judgment," Bridge advised.

Also, if your landlord has a federally-backed mortgage, you can get 30 days before they can evict you.

Click here to put in your address and find out if you qualify.

To see if you qualify for help from attorneys at Community Legal Services, visit www.clsaz.org.

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