An extended eviction ban is not enough for some struggling renters

If the package is approved, none of the measures is likely to be enough to keep tenants most at risk in their homes last January.

“While extending the CDC eviction moratorium for just a month is insufficient to keep people housed during the pandemic, the extension provides essential and immediate protection for millions of tenants who are about to lose their homes in January,” said Diane Yentel, president and chief executive of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

It is estimated that 9.2 million tenants who lost income during the pandemic are behind in rent, according to an analysis of Census data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Once moratoriums are suspended, many of these tenants must either pay all their rent late or present some type of payment plan with the landlord – or they may lose their home.

CNN Business spoke to several tenants who have struggled to pay their monthly payments as a result of the pandemic.

‘The money is piling up against me’

Kelly Green, who lives in a $ 1,429-a-month apartment in Daytona Beach, Florida, has been unable to pay rent since September.

“The only reason I have a roof over my head is because of the eviction moratorium,” said Green.

Green makes a living by selling biker clothing with rhinestones and sequins in motorcycle rallies and other festivals.

After the stoppage in March, there were no festivals, events and she had no income. Still, she pooled her savings, stimulus payments, rent benefits and unemployment insurance payments and managed to update her rent until July. But she did not know how she would survive the end of the $ 600 a week supplementary unemployment benefit.

Kelly Green said she has a roof over her head just because of the CDC eviction moratorium.

Green heard of a coronavirus-related rental aid fund offered by Volusia County, where she lives. She signed up for assistance and received $ 4,500 for her three-month rent.

“I thought, ‘Great!’ this will pay the rent for a few months, and I can move in November, when my current contract expires and I will still have a good credit rating that will allow me to rent another apartment, “she said.

But there was an obstacle: Volusia County’s rental assistance program requires tenants to be on rent since March 13, 2020. Green was late in rent in February and, as a result, his apartment complex would not accept the aid.

Without that money, Green was unable to pay the full rent in October, November or December. And since she exceeded the rental term in November, she is now on a monthly contract that is $ 500 more expensive per month.

“Even if the moratorium is extended, the money is piling up against me,” she said. “What would help me the most is if I received a rental allowance check for three months, that they take it.”

She knows that it doesn’t make sense to stay and see the value that should grow, but said she doesn’t know where she will go without putting friends and family at risk of exposure to the coronavirus.

“It totally depresses you,” she said. “You are in the mood to give up. Where will I go when the CDC order expires and I have this eviction on my record?”

I have to go out for Christmas

Mercedes Darby lives in a three-bedroom apartment in Nashville with her three school-age children and their daughter, Princess Thomas, who is in college. The two usually share the rent. But since they were both released in March, they have not been able to pay the $ 1,250 monthly rent since April and currently owe $ 9,000 in late rent and fees.

Although Darby provided his landlord with a declaration from the CDC, which protects the family from being evicted for non-payment, they are now being evicted for a separate breach of the contract – Darby’s name is not in the contract.

How will you spend your $ 600 stimulus check?

Darby says the rent is on Thomas’ behalf, but she has lived there since they bought the apartment a year and a half ago, and she has been making payments all the time.

After missing the date of the eviction court on December 15, there was a default sentence that gave the family 10 days to leave. So Darby is packing everything he has to keep.

“We have to leave on Christmas Day or they will have the sheriffs here,” she said. “Without money, I have to find a temporary place.”

Darby was released from her job as a member services manager at a major insurance company in March. She had been looking for a new apartment since July. But even after paying application fees, she was rejected several times because of her credit history and past bankruptcy. Now your daughter is likely to be in trouble as well because of the eviction.

In November, Darby was rehired for a similar job and the money is coming in again. But now she has to pay a lot more in fees and deposit money for an apartment because of her history.

“I have a job that pays well,” she said. “I earn enough, if you don’t want to triple the amount in advance.”

For now, she is looking for a place for her family to vacation while she finds a more permanent home and is preparing for the trial date in February with the late rent she owes.

“We have nowhere to go,” she said. “We have no family here and our friends cannot take us all. I will try to find a hotel. But it will cost all the money I have to invest in another apartment.”

Waiting for rent relief

Bryan Clift’s job as a waiter in the Minneapolis suburb ended last March, at the same time that school for his 10-year-old daughter, Iyla, moved to the Internet. Iyla’s mother, whom she didn’t see regularly, died a few weeks ago. Now Clift is about $ 2,000 behind on rent and is in danger of being evicted.

“My daughter is all I have,” he said. “I put her in front of everything. Ensuring that she has a roof over her head and food on the table is the most important thing.”

They did well over the summer, with the unemployment insurance payments he received. But when the $ 600 in supplemental weekly payments expired, he feared he would delay his rent of $ 1,500 a month for the two-bedroom apartment.

Bryan Clift with his daughter Iyla.  Clift has been unemployed since March and is late in renting his apartment in the suburbs of Minneapolis.

“When I saw my savings go down, I went to talk to the tenant, with whom I always had a good relationship,” he said. “I said I will try to do my best. They suggested that I ask for a discount on the rent.”

He signed up and hopes to receive financial help from Prism, a local nonprofit social services organization. But it is not yet in progress.

“It’s a waiting game,” he said. “If you’re going to ask for help now, it will take a while.”

With this early support, he hopes to fill the revenue gap until he can work again.

“I could get a job now,” he said. “I want to. I don’t like sitting around. But without schools open, I can’t go to work. If something doesn’t change for me in the next few months, what am I going to do? I pushed back all the bills I can. help, but for how long? ”

Any additional help from the government is welcome, he said, but, “I could do without the stimulus check if I had better unemployment, because you can stretch it out longer.”

Expelled despite CDC protections

The worst has happened to Jordan Mills and Jonathan Russell and their two-year-old daughter Valkyrie.

Even though they were protected by the eviction moratorium, a court granted the eviction anyway.

Mills thought she did everything right. She provided the CDC declaration form protecting her from eviction for her landlord. She signed up and received financial assistance for renting the city of San Antonio. She even made a payment plan.

“People like me are still being evicted for non-payment,” she said.

Jordan Mills and her husband Jonathan Russell with their daughter Valkyrie.  The family was evicted from their home in San Antonio, despite providing a statement from the CDC to the landlord.

She made a payment agreement with the landlord, but delayed about $ 450. The owners filed for eviction citing a violation of part of the CDC statement in which Mills agreed to use “best efforts to make partial payments on time. able to be as close to full payment as the individual’s circumstances might allow “.

Mills drove to court to attend the eviction hearing, but said he was unable to attend because he had no money to pay for parking.

“I had no money to park, it cost $ 20,” she said. “I am literally living hard. I was paid yesterday. I have $ 4 in my name.”

In May, Mills, who is an assistant manager at a payroll loan company, saw his working hours cut. She realized that her family would not be able to pay the rent along with their high utility bills during the summer in Texas.

She applied for and received money for rental assistance, a lump sum of $ 3,500 for three months’ rent.

When Mills contracted the coronavirus, she said, her child care provider dismissed them as a precaution and her husband quit his job as a security guard to take care of Valkyrie full time, further reducing his income.

Owners are running out of money.  'We have no unemployment'

After the court ordered his eviction in November, they did not wait for the sheriff to arrive. Mills borrowed $ 1,400 from his mother and moved his family from the three-bedroom mobile home they rented for $ 1,175 a month to a 470-square-foot one-bedroom apartment in San Antonio.

The family’s new apartment is in a building known as a “second chance” location for people with evictions or bad credit.

Mills paid dearly for this second chance. In addition to the $ 750 per month rent, a $ 299 deposit and a $ 300 pet deposit, she also had to pay a $ 650 risk fee because of her background.

“The worst has happened,” she said. “But I’m still afraid of how it will affect me when I rent a bigger, safer place. We have cockroaches. I don’t want to stay here.”

While she appreciates the reduced rent they received, she said that more rent assistance should go directly to the owners.

“If there was something for them, they would not be so quick to attack tenants.”