Thousands in Maricopa County could face eviction in January

Posted at 7:27 PM, Dec 01, 2020

PHOENIX — Thousands of Phoenix-area residents are at risk of losing their housing when the federal Center for Disease Control (CDC) moratorium on evictions expires at the end of December.

The CDC moratorium along with the state eviction ban which ended on October 31, largely stopped the removal of tenants from rental properties and encouraged payment plans between landlords and tenants. But unless otherwise worked out with the property owner, beginning in January renters could almost immediately be on the hook for paying deferred rent or subject to lockout.

Anubhav Bagley, analytics director for the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), said the problem is a combination of adverse things happening at the same time which could prevent the payment of deferred rent.

"A lot of tenants, a lot of people have been impacted because of the COVID crisis. Because of either falling sick or losing their job they cannot make these payments," he said. "December 31, those payments will come to you. How will these households make these payments is the big question."

Many others are a paycheck away from not being able to afford rent.

475,000 households spend more than 30% of their monthly income on housing, which housing experts say reduces the amount available for other necessities. Bagley said the situation could be even more dire for the 210,000 that spend more than 50% on rent and are one-income households making less than $60,000.

"For them just losing one job, this puts them on brink of homelessness or trying to find another house or going back to live with family. That just changes all kinds of stuff for those households," Bagley said.

And more people are losing their jobs.

In October, Arizona's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 8% compared to 6.5% in September.

But thousands of renters have already received eviction notices.

3,383 eviction actions were filed in October 2020, compared to 6,226 the same month of 2019, according to the Maricopa County Justice Courts.

The top three zip codes for evictions for January through October 2020 are 85301 which is in the Glendale-Phoenix border along Grand Avenue, 85035 which stretches from 43rd to 83rd avenues along Interstate 10, and 85281 in North Tempe and the area surrounding Arizona State University.

"These are areas with higher populations, generally areas with lower income," Bagley said.