PHOENIX, ARIZONA – SEPTEMBER 30: Maricopa County constable Darlene Martinez removes a pet carrier from a home while evicting a family for non-payment of rent on September 30, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
UPDATED 12:30 PM PT – Thursday, December 31, 2020
According to a report from the ‘National Council of State Housing Agencies‘ released earlier this year, an estimated 20.1 million U.S. renters are at risk of being ousted from their homes when the CDC’s eviction moratorium expires in January 2021.
Without proper counsel, some legal analysts worry renters may not know their rights or could lose their housing without due cause.
The CDC’s eviction moratorium was supposed to expire at the end of December, but when President Trump signed the COVID relief bill last week, the moratorium was extended to the end of January. Despite temporary relief from the extension, tenants said they are still on the hook for everything and some are even months late on paying their rent.
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – SEPTEMBER 30: Maricopa County constable Darlene Martinez escorts a family out of their apartment after serving an eviction order for non-payment on September 30, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. Thousands of court-ordered evictions continue nationwide despite a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) moratorium for renters impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Although state and county officials say they have tried to educate the public on the protections, many renters remain unaware and fail to complete the necessary forms to remain in their homes. With millions of Americans still unemployed due to the pandemic and federal rental assistance proposals gridlocked in Congress, the expiry of the CDC moratorium at year’s end looms large for renters and landlords alike. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
“I sold everything I could think of from clothing to furniture to records, to you name it,” unemployed renter Mike Grisby-Lane said. “I used savings, I used all my retirement, I cut back on absolutely everything, medicine, food. I’m now a couple months behind and I’m not sure what I’m going to do here.”
NEW YORK, NY – MAY 1: A banner reading “Cancel rent Cuomo” hangs on a building on May 1, 2020 in the Crown Heights neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough in New York City. Tenants rights groups trying to persuade the government to halt rent and mortgage payments for as long as the economy is battered by the coronavirus.(Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
According to the Associated Press, fewer than 10 cities and counties in the U.S. guarantee tenants the right to a lawyer in housing-related disputes, which prompts concern the already-struggling renters won’t be able to afford the legal help they need and could be at a disadvantage in court.
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – OCTOBER 07: Maricopa County constable Darlene Martinez knocks on an RV to evict Hector Medrano and his family from their RV park on October 07, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
While the federal coronavirus relief package provides $25 billion for rental assistance, some housing advocates say it isn’t enough.
Experts predict more cities across the country will push “to give tenants the right to an attorney,” as the looming eviction crisis represents a significant threat to dismantling the housing industry as a whole.