Local landlords crushed by eviction moratorium

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 5:19 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) - The Biden administration issued a new national eviction moratorium days after the original one expired.

The new measure is more limited, will remain in effect until October 3, and comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC says the ban on evictions affects parts of the United States that are seeing COVID-19 cases grow “substantially.”

When the original ban expired, millions of Americans were at risk of being removed from their homes, and many leaders called for an update.

Wanda Stevens, Executive Director of Staunton Redevelopment and Housing, says she’s seen how the program affects renters and landlords.

“It’s a good program and it makes sense that people who are truly struggling have the possible opportunity to get assistance,” Stevens said. “There is a need for those that are trying really hard and doing everything they need to do, and then there’s a gap and people are falling into the gap and taking advantage of it, which is a little disappointing.”

For renters who qualify, the eviction ban can help them keep a roof over their heads until they find steady work. For landlords who are still trying to pay their mortgage, it can cause problems.

“It’s assumed that people that have property are rich,” Stevens said.

She adds that’s still sometimes the case, but often, they need those rent payments.

“People are totally taking advantage, and we look like the bad guy if we try to make people accountable,” she said.

Stevens says renters who can’t make payments should talk with their landlord and work out an agreement, including the use of the Virginia Rental Assistance Program. That helps tenants stay in their homes, while landlords still get paid.

Now that evictions are banned, housing isn’t seeing turnover like it did at one time, so some are struggling to find housing.

“Housing in general is like a needle in a haystack,” Stevens said.

And the waitlist for assistance in the city is very long. “Those that are receiving assistance, they’re having a tough time, and those that are on the waitlist need assistance,” Stevens said.

Officials reported about 11 million people risked losing their homes when the ban expired. The renewal is good until October 3.

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