Worried About Getting Evicted? 3 Steps to Take Now
by Maurie Backman | Updated July 25, 2021 - First published on June 19, 2021
Eviction bans are running out. Here's what to do if you're worried about losing your home.
Early on in the pandemic, millions of Americans lost their jobs or saw their income decline. This led to a fear that tenants would quickly face eviction in the absence of being able to pay rent, To prevent that, a federal eviction ban was put into place that got extended several times over.
But so far, there's no talk of extending the eviction ban beyond its current June 30 deadline. And that means those who don't have the means of catching up on their rent payments face the very real threat of being kicked out of their homes in less than a month's time.
If you're worried about being evicted, you don't have to just sit back and wait for it to happen. Instead, make these important moves.
1. Apply for rental assistance
There's $45 billion in rental assistance available between the two most recently passed stimulus bills. And that could, in turn, bail a lot of tenants out.
Rental assistance is being disbursed at the state level. So if you're not sure how to apply for it, get in touch with your state's housing department for more information. You can also ask your landlord to apply for rental assistance on your behalf. Since it's your landlord who stands to get paid, there's a good chance he or she will be more than willing to help out.
2. Talk to your landlord
Some states are being slow to dish out rental assistance, or you may be encountering some hiccups in the course of applying for it. If that's the case, talk to your landlord about your situation. If you only owe your landlord a month or two of rent and you're able to stay current on your ongoing payments, your landlord might agree to let you stay put and work with you on a payment plan.
Chances are good that your landlord doesn't want to evict you. Not only can it be time-consuming, but it can cost them money. And at a time when landlords are behind on collecting rent, the last thing they need is a pile of legal fees.
3. Seek out legal help
Though the federal eviction ban is set to expire at the end of June, some states are extending it, or have other protections for tenants in place. If you're being threatened with eviction, reach out to a legal professional to discuss your rights. Lawhelp.org is a good resource for finding low-cost or even no-cost legal aid.
Over the past year, many people have endured a tremendous amount of financial upheaval, to the point where they've depleted their savings accounts trying to stay afloat. If you owe your landlord rent and can't pay, you may have options beyond waiting to be evicted. There could be more assistance or protections available than you think, and your landlord may be willing to work with you. So don't resign yourself to the worst-case scenario until you've explored other options.
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