HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — One of the executive orders that President Joe Biden signed on Wednesday extended the federal eviction moratorium, the pause of evictions for renters who are behind on their rent, until March 31.
It was one of over a dozen executive orders President Biden signed on his fist day in office.
The eviction moratorium does not stop evictions, it simply postpones them until after the moratorium ends. When it ends, all the back rent that was not paid during the eviction moratorium will be due.
Congress extended the moratorium in a stimulus bill passed in Dec., though it was set to expire on Jan. 31.
The bill included $25 billion that tenants who fell behind on their rent can apply through local programs.
“That still falls short of the $70 billion in rental deficit that we’re observing as of the end of 2020,” said Crystal Moya, the Vice President at large for the Texas Apartment Association.
With no immediate end to the pandemic in sight, Moya said Congress needs to allocate more money to pay the overdue rents before it’s too late.
“We’re afraid that it could become even more serious, to the point where some smaller owners may no longer be able to afford their mortgage payments,” she said.
Moya described a cascading problem if smaller landlords who rely on the income from a single unit start going bankrupt because they cannot afford to pay the mortgage for the rental property.
Foreclosures on rental properties could add more unknowns to an already uncertain situation.
“Are there going to be people who are going to be willing to take on the management and or ownership of communities knowing what they could potentially be facing?” asked Moya.
To do their part to keep people in their homes and apartments during the pandemic, the Texas Apartment Association is encouraging its landlords to work on a solution for paying the rent with their renters who have either lost hours at work or lost their job entirely due to the pandemic.
In fact, the Texas Apartment Association’s website has lots of information for people in need of rent assistance. You can view that information here.
The information on their site is useful for normal times, outside the pandemic, as well as the first steps for those in need as a result of the pandemic.
In order to receive the rent assistance that was a part of President Biden’s executive order, there are several criteria people must meet.
Those criteria, per the CDC website, are as follows:
- I have used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
- I either expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020-2021(or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or received an Economic Impact Payment(stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act;
- I am unable to pay my full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, lay-offs, or extraordinary2 out-of-pocket medical expenses;
- I am using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses;
- If evicted I would likely become homeless, need to move into a homeless shelter, or need to move into a new residence shared by other people who live in close quarters because I have no other available housing options
You can view the list, which is contained on a form you must submit to your landlord, by clicking here. At the time of writing this article, the form has not yet been updated to reflect President Biden’s extension of the eviction moratorium.