IT'S A NEW YEAR, but renters and landlords are facing some of the same old financial problems as fallout from the pandemic continues. — It's a new year, but renters and landlords are facing some of the same old financial problems as fallout from the pandemic continues.
To make matters worse, the halt in eviction enforcements is set to end January 31. The new federal administration is proposing that halt continue through September. But right now, it's just a proposal.
"Everyone needs to be prepared it may be ending at the end of January," says Pam Bridge, an attorney with Community Legal Services.
Bridge is warning renters that they are not protected unless they filled out the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) declaration form. Answers determine if a renter qualifies for protection. It must be given to the landlord and Bridge advises that renters keep a copy.
You only need to fill it out once and you must be honest.
Bridge says some landlords are contesting the declarations in court, especially the requirement that renters have applied for rental assistance. And there is some good assistance news for renters and landlords.
Twenty-five billion in federal money will make it to states specifically for emergency rental assistance. Bridge says it's based on population and can mean hundreds of millions of dollars for Arizonans.
"They'll be able to get back rent and future rent so this could potentially bail out landlords and tenants," Bridge says.
Bridge says the funds will be funneled through cities, counties and the state's already over-worked department of economic security.
Landlords and tenants can apply. The money can also be used for utilities.
Bridge says renters should already be communicating with landlords and should try using the future assistance as a reason to halt an eviction.
So if you're a renter, check out your city and county housing departments for word about applying for this rental assistance.
Also, Community Legal Services (CLS) offers free legal help and can work with landlords if you live in phoenix or meet their requirements.
Click here to learn more about CLS.
Learn more about the rental assistance from the U.S. Department of the Treasury here.