I don't know what we would do if we lost our housing. We live comfortably now, but that's a relatively recent situation for us. Not too long ago, there were months when we juggled which bills are the most important to pay immediately, which we could stretch a bit until the next paycheck, and which we would pay when we had a windfall of sorts. And even at that time we were a two-earner household. It's a terribly anxious way to live, wondering if you can get another chicken breast or buy on-brand mac and cheese or should wait because your rent will be due in mere days. You breathe a sigh of relief when a check clears, and are constantly mentally calculating what you can do to stretch dollars farther next time. We still operate this way a lot of times now, because the frugality habit is very strong once set in - and the anxiety never goes away.
But if one or both of us lost our jobs? If work was suspended because of the pandemic? We'd be right back there again. So protecting the ability for people to access stable housing is always on my mind. I was happy to find that the CARES Act includes provision that tenants can't be evicted for 120 days (beginning from the date of passage, March 27). As with everything, there are catches, and concerns.
What is the Eviction Moratorium?
Navigate Affordable Housing Partners has a great, just-over-two-minute video that explains the basics of the eviction moratorium. Watch below for an overview.
Who Is Protected?
Amid Pandemic, Congress Suspends Evictions—But Not for All (Project on Government Oversight)
The Project on Government Oversight is examining the CARES Act in detail and provides this excellent piece on the complications within the moratorium, and the confusion around who it applies to (and how they find out about protections).
The Urban Institute's blog, Urban Wire, covers a lot of questions about the eviction moratorium in this piece, "The CARES Act Eviction Moratorium Covers All Federally Financed Rentals—That’s One in Four US Rental Units."
Is the Moratorium Having an Effect?
The law prevents new evictions in certain cases, but it appears many landlords may either not know that they are subject to this provision, or, are attempting eviction regardless:
Renters Are Being Forced From Their Homes Despite Eviction Moratoriums Meant to Protect Them (TIME Magazine)
Despite Federal Ban, Landlords Are Still Moving to Evict People During the Pandemic (ProPublica)
What To Do?
Renters can access public information and tools on mortgage backers and owners, here:
- How can I tell who owns my mortgage? (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)
- Fannie Mae Loan Lookup (Fannie Mae)
- Freddie Mac Loan Lookup (Freddie Mac)
Renters: How to Get COVID-19 Rent Relief (Investopedia)
The CARES Act blog is intended to provide information and is accurate and true to the best of the author's knowledge. The author is not a legal, medical or financial professional and the information presented should not be considered advice and is for reference only. Lehigh Valley Public Media and its employees claim no liability for any actions taken by readers based on the information provided here.