A last-minute extension of the CDC Eviction Moratorium may have renters breathing a sigh of relief, but The Let Joe Know team is finding the declaration you hand your landlord isn't foolproof.
It's a sight we've seen many times this past year. The Maricopa County Constables carrying out evictions despite executive orders from the governor. The wording was vague leaving many tenants wondering if they met all the requirements.
More specifics were added under the CDC Moratorium, but new data from Maricopa County shows more than 3,000 eviction cases were filed in April 2021.
"We see a lot of landlords filing motions against the declaration, believing that it's not true," said Pam Bridges, an attorney at Community Legal Services.
She says as the Moratorium stretches into a second year, landlords are doing all that they can to recoup their losses on unpaid rent.
"They're challenging whether the tenant has applied for rental assistance," said Bridges.
Since submission for rental assistance is required, Bridges says taking screenshots of submission screens or tracking times and phone numbers you called could help move things along.
She says if you show that in court a judge should push your court dates to allow for the assistance to come through.
Bridges says many people believe the CDC Moratorium is a blanket protection; protecting anyone from having to move. She says that is simply not the case.
She says more people are coming to CLS saying their landlords do not want to renew their lease, or if they do, they are increasing the rent.
In those cases, the Moratorium does not cover you.
"If the tenant has been paying rent, the landlord can give a 30-day notice long as it's not retaliatory... the landlord can give a 30-day notice and end the lease," said Bridges.
She says if you must move there may be rental assistance options at your new place. Adding that no matter the situation, tenants need to start thinking long term; applying for programs so they are up to date with what they owe and above all else - are talking with the landlord.
"I think this is it for people. And so really trying to get themselves in a situation where July happens, and they're not going to be evicted, I think is key," said Bridges.
She says if you have not heard back from a rental assistance program in more than a month - follow up and possibly reapply.
Community Legal Services has a number of resources available to help Arizonans navigate the process. To contact them visit their website.