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Will more renters be evicted now that bans are lifting?

Andy Uhler May 21, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace
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Around the country, measures were enacted to protect renters from evictions as their incomes disappeared. But those orders are temporary. Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Will more renters be evicted now that bans are lifting?

Andy Uhler May 21, 2020
Around the country, measures were enacted to protect renters from evictions as their incomes disappeared. But those orders are temporary. Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Before COVID-19, San Antonio resident Nesteschia Ingram worked with folks who have Alzheimer’s, but that work has since dried up. 

“I’m paying rent right now and the managers have been very helpful, doing payment plans and stuff like that,” she said.

Ingram is in a better position than many other Texas renters. Even though she lost her job, she’s still able to make rent because her husband’s still working. But Heather Way, a law professor at University of Texas at Austin, said some landlords in Texas are lining up to evict tenants for not paying.

“Families around the state are really having to make hard choices between do I pay rent, I put food on the table, do I pay these health care bills?” Way said.

And given those choices, many Texans will choose not paying rent.

Back in March, the state of Texas enacted measures to protect renters from evictions as their incomes disappeared. But that order, like others around the country, was temporary. 

It’s back to pre-pandemic days as of May 19 in many Texas cities — if people can’t pay the rent, their landlord can try to kick them out. 

And if that results in eviction, that could ultimately lead to damaged credit, difficulty finding another place to live and homelessness.

But Fred Fuchs, a tenant advocate for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, warns landlords to avoid a rush to evict.

“If they can forbear and they are willing to be reasonable, I firmly believe they will be way ahead,” he said. “Who are they going to lease to in this economy right now?” 

Mark Hurley, Nesteschia Ingram’s landlord in San Antonio, wants to avoid evicting his tenants. He said it costs about $3,000 to turn around an apartment.

“You evict, you have an empty apartment, you have to fix it all up, you have to market it and all that. So we don’t want to evict,” Hurley said.

But many housing advocates worry that Hurley is in the minority among landlords, and now that the state moratorium on evictions has been lifted, more people will be forced out of their homes.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What are the details of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan?

The $1.9 trillion plan would aim to speed up the vaccine rollout and provide financial help to individuals, states and local governments and businesses. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, while advancing his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. It would also include $1,400 checks for most Americans. Get the rest of the specifics here.

What kind of help can small businesses get right now?

A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.

What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?

New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.

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