Renters who are behind in payments have an additional three months of protection from evictions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Monday.
The federal eviction moratorium was extended through June 30. It had been scheduled to expire on March 31.
It is a reprieve for Arizona renters who are still awaiting approval for rental assistance that was dispersed to city and state agencies in January.
Phoenix resident Javier Cabrera spent hours during the second and third weeks of March attempting to apply for part of the $51 million in emergency rental assistance that the City of Phoenix received as a result of the December 2020 COVID relief package. Delays in the City’s online portal prevented it from accepting electronic applications for two weeks after the program launched. It was a stressful two weeks for Cabrera since he and his partner were already behind and another rental install would be due April 1.
He has since been able to apply but has not received final approval or payment. So Cabrera said the extension is a relief.
“It makes a lot of difference. For me, it just does bring a lot more assurance and just stress off the table,” he said.
But landlord groups say they have gone unpaid, in some cases, for a year, while rental relief funds continue to move slowly.
Courtney Gilstrap LeVinus, president and CEO of the Arizona Multihousing Association which advocates for landlords said in a statement to ABC15 that it’s unfair “to have property owners alone shoulder the burden of a public health and economic crisis. No other individuals or businesses have been required by government to provide a free service or product for over a year.”
It went on to say, “Today’s extension of the eviction moratorium puts further pressure on property owners, many of whom already are on the brink of foreclosure or bankruptcy.”
197,609 Arizonans are behind in rent according to the U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey as of March 15.
Despite the moratorium being in place, Phoenix leads the nation in evictions according to an United Ways analysis of eviction data of several large cities. Evictions outside of non-payment are still permitted under the CDC moratorium, but some are concerned that some renters who are being evicted for minor infractions are being targeted because they are behind in rent.
Tom Vilsack U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, which provided funding for housing in rural areas suggested that renters file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
“I'm not sure that once the FTC is aware of particular problems in Arizona, that they're not going to be able to come in and take a look at what's going on there and begin to address some of those issues,” he told ABC15.
Cabrera is hoping a quick approval of funds will help him avoid eviction and all that comes with it until his family can replace the income they’ve lost.
“I know we're doing everything we can in our power to not have to need this assistance,” he said.