CDC Launches Attacks Against Landlords
Don’t worry about the owners. They are rich. They do not need their tenants to pay the rent. I get so frustrated with closed-minded advocates who find it difficult to see how an action that could benefit one group harms others. They want to push their schedule, no matter the cost.
According to some housing advocates, the recent CDC Eviction Moratorium is not helping enough, and it should be the landlord’s burden to locate government support while the tenant may not pay rent without recourse. Don’t these folks realize that most homeowners own fewer than three units and NEED rent to finance maintenance, taxes, insurance, and mortgage payments? What happens to your property when you stop paying your mortgage?
Early last month, the CDC used its powers to enact a moratorium that would prevent landlords from evicting their tenants for not paying rent. This moratorium is valid until the end of the year, with the possibility of extensions. The CDC can do this because they claim that it is not about financially supporting people in need (which is not their job) but about slowing the spread of COVID-19 (which is their job). I applaud them for acknowledging the risks of homelessness and tight living situations with the spread of the virus, but what I don’t understand is why the burden falls on small “mom and dad” homeowners. Here are the often misunderstood details of the recent Eviction Moratorium.
With very few exceptions, all tenants qualify for eviction protection! To qualify, the tenant must only meet two requirements.
Try to get government support to pay your rent.
Earn less than $ 99,000 in a year for a single taxpayer or $ 198,000 for dual-income families.
I struggle with the second requirement, because it is more money than most people making their payments in a year make. According to the CDC, in order to afford a 2-bedroom home in the most expensive market in the country, the family needs to earn $ 80,621 per year. That would keep the rent at 30% of the family income. Since the CDC referenced 30% of the income number, its guidelines for qualifying for this moratorium mean that the family that is protected from eviction could make rent payments of almost $ 5,000 per month. Do you see why I say that almost all tenants qualify? All of my tenants certainly do.
It sounds bad? It gets worse. The process to avoid being evicted for non-payment is quite simple. All that is required is for the tenant to send you a signed statement. They can get this statement online, sign it, and send it to you to avoid being evicted. Notice how I didn’t mention that they need to show that they tried to get support, nor do they need to show that they really need it? It is important to note that this is only for non-payment, so if you have a tenant who breaks the rules, causes problems, or is just outside the lease term, you can still evict them. It is also good that this is not a rent forgiveness, or at least that’s the idea, it is just a stay of eviction. The tenant will continue to owe all of the rent and late fees and you, as the landlord, will still have the opportunity to collect them at some point. Good luck with that!
My advice would be to initiate the eviction if you did not receive the statement. If the tenant doesn’t send you that, you’re not protected. I would also suggest working with your tenant as much as possible. If they really need it and want to work with you, let it. A partial payment is better than no payment, and helping you keep your home is important during times like these. Finally, if you have leases that expire, I suggest that you move those leases to a month-to-month. At least until we get over the COVID chaos. Having a month-to-month lease will allow you to vacate based on the expiration of the lease and not on non-payment.