An estimated 40 million Americans could have faced eviction by the end of December. But what most people aren't talking about is the strain on landlords, who unlike tenants, don't have a safety net. They were dealing with growing financial strain and confusion as the deadline loomed, with one rental industry advocate telling CNN that, for landlords, "there is no certainty" about when they'll get paid. In the meantime, The New York Times reports nonprofits are racing to help, working to dole out hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid to tenants before the Dec. 30 deadline.
The new $900 billion stimulus relief deal touches on this subject. Regarding landlords and renters, it appears some sort of eviction moratorium is going to be extended to January 31. The bill will include $25 billion in rent relief programs for tenants that are behind on rent payments. It will also include direct payments of $600 to each adult and child earning below $75,000. Unemployment payments will be at $300 per week.
As the first Americans get the coronavirus vaccine, the end to this pandemic may be in sight. The question is how many people will survive the winter to get the vaccine? What about the number of residents who are not traditionally housed? They may be sub-leasers, renting a room from someone who owns or rents a property, or individuals or families that have already left their residences because of an inability to pay and are now living with family members, often in tight spaces. A critical part of the final push is maintaining people in their homes. According to one estimate, 12 million renter households will owe an average of $5,000 in rent by the end of the year.
IT’S NOT THAT all tenants aren’t trying to pay. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia found a 70% increase in the number of people paying rent on a credit card — setting the stage for a future crisis in personal debt.
Other questions to raise, once the eviction moratorium is lifted, how will courts handle the influx in evictions? What will this mean for the economy and for the people who are being evicted into a world we are so unfamiliar with?