Will more renters be evicted now that bans are lifting?
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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
When does the expanded COVID-19 unemployment insurance run out?
The CARES Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in March, authorized extra unemployment payments, increasing the amount of money, and broadening who qualifies. The increased unemployment benefits have an expiration date — an extra $600 per week the act authorized ends on July 31.
Which states are reopening?
Many states have started to relax the restrictions put in place in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Although social-distancing measures still hold virtually everywhere in the country, more than half of states have started to phase out stay-at-home orders and phase in business reopenings. Others, like New York, are on slower timelines.
Is it worth applying for a job right now?
It never hurts to look, but as unemployment reaches levels last seen during the Great Depression and most available jobs are in places that carry risks like the supermarket or warehouses, it isn’t a bad idea to sit tight either, if you can.
You can find answers to more questions here.
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