The eviction moratorium was established early in the Covid-19 pandemic to provide relief for those struggling to pay rent due to the impact of Covid related health and financial issues. The initial moratorium technically expired on July 31, 2021, but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) attempted to extend it without the proper legal authority until October 3, 2021. As a result, the Supreme Court just ruled the CDC’s extension of the moratorium was unconstitutional, therefore ending the program and bringing a new sense of urgency to tenants behind on their rents. Below are some things tenants should consider as a result:
Tenants Must Take the Lead
If you are a tenant behind on your rental payments, you must take action now to avoid eviction. The first step is to be proactive, and not reactive, in communicating a plan of action to pay all back rent. While landlords are averse to the eviction process, tenants give them little choice if they feel the tenants are not acting in good faith. Second, tenants must quickly execute their plan to instill confidence in the landlord that all past/future bills will be paid. To that end, one option is a government program offering over $46 billion in rental relief. The program was poorly advertised at its genesis and still has approximately $40 billion remaining for those who qualify. See Emergency Rental Assistance Alabama for more details on accessing these funds, but generally, assistance is available for the following expenses dating back to March 13, 2020:
- Past due, current, and up to three months of expected rent costs
- Past due, current, or up to three months of expected utility and home energy expenses
- After the initial three months of forward assistance, you can apply for three additional months of assistance if funds are still available
Landlords Have the Leverage
Tenants should remember that in the existing housing market, landlords have the upper hand. According to industry consultant, RealPage Inc., occupied rental apartments experienced the most significant annual increase in the second quarter of 2021 since the early 1990s. In addition, elevated demand for rental properties is likely to continue with new renters entering the market. Renters that delayed getting into rental properties during the pandemic will experience the high prices associated with the for-sale market and historically high construction prices.
Recommendation: Be mindful that landlords have options on filling vacancies and take past due and future payments seriously.
To learn more about the options that may be available for you or a loved one, visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
For weekly insights, follow The Welch Group every Tuesday morning on WBRC Fox 6 for the Money Tuesday segment.
Marshall Clay CFP, J.D., is a Partner and Senior Advisor at The Welch Group, LLC, which specializes in providing Fee-Only investment management and financial advice to families throughout the United States. Marshall is a graduate of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, the Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama, and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. In addition, Marshall is a frequent guest on local television stations as an expert on various financial planning matters.
IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION
Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by The Welch Group, LLC -“Welch”), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Welch. Please remember that if you are a Welch client, it remains your responsibility to advise Welch, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services, or if you would like to impose, add, or to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Welch is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of Welch’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available upon request or at www.welchgroup.com. Please Note: Welch does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to Welch’s website or blog or incorporated herein and takes no responsibility.