I'm worried about being able to pay my rent. What are my options?
The first thing you can do is contact your landlord or property manager to discuss your situation.
You may be temporarily protected from eviction under the federal CARES Act, which stands for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security. The Act became law on March 27.
According to the National Housing Law Project, the CARES Act prevents a tenant from being evicted for 120 days only if you or the property meet one of the following conditions:
- You live in a property that is financed with a federally backed mortgage loan.
- You receive rental housing assistance through many of the federal voucher programs including Housing Choice vouchers. These resources are outlined here by the National Housing Law Project.
- You receive rental housing assistance through the rural housing voucher program.
The law project says that if you or your rental meet any of those conditions, your landlord can’t initiate a new eviction notice until July 25, 2020, and you must be given an additional 30 days — or until August 24 — to leave the property. During that time, according to the law project, you cannot be charged late fees, penalties or other charges for late rent payments.
While the moratorium provides protection from eviction, the law does not exempt renters from having to pay their rent once the protections expire.
The new law also seeks to help renters by helping their landlords get some breathing room from their own mortgage payments. Specifically, it allows property owners to delay or reduce their monthly mortgage payments if they agree not to evict any renter who is unable to pay rent due to financial impacts from COVID-19.
Many cities and states have adopted temporary eviction moratoriums as well. Consult your city and state government websites to understand what local protections might apply for you.
The CARES Act also provides the majority of U.S. residents with one-time cash payments from the IRS. The act calls for the following payments:
- Individuals who earn up to $75,000 a year will receive $1,200, and married couples with annual earnings up to $150,000 will receive $2,400.
- Individuals earning up to $99,000 will receive a smaller rebate depending on their income, as will married couples earning $198,000 a year and heads of households with one child who earn up to $146,000.
- Families with children under age 17 will receive an extra $500 per child.
For more information on the one-time cash payment, visit the IRS.
The law provides additional funding for affordable housing programs, such as the Housing Choice Voucher Program (also known as Section 8). To learn more about these programs, visit HUD’s Housing Assistance page.