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What happens if you can’t pay rent due to pandemic

For millions of tenants who have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic, Wednesday, April 1, is D-Day: The monthly rent check is due.

That could pose a nationwide dilemma because 3.3 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment insurance the week ending March 21 and a similar number may have sought benefits last week. That means virus-related layoffs or reduced hours may have topped 6 million just in the past two weeks.  

Fortunately, the vast majority of tenants – who make up about 36% of all households — will be getting a reprieve through federal, state or local moratoriums on evictions. Many landlords will similarly get a break on mortgage payments, though others could still be on the hook even if their tenants are delinquent.

Here’s a rundown:

Will I be evicted if I don’t pay rent?

Probably not. The $2.2 trillion stimulus includes a moratorium on all evictions from buildings financed with a federally-backed mortgage, such as those funded by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. After excluding private mortgages and buildings whose mortgages are paid off, the moratorium covers about 40% of all single-family homes and half of multifamily buildings, says Shamus Roller, executive director of the National Housing Law Project.

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