I’m sorry for my Boston real estate blog readers who’ve become part of the estimated 40 million people that are in danger of eviction or foreclosure. I certainly appreciate how difficult it has been trying to figure out what to do next.
At 40 million people, this is 4 times the number that faced a housing crisis during the Great Recession. This is almost certainly the most severe housing crisis in our history.
These have become unprecedented times and there are very few answers available to people in this situation. I’m not aware of any legislative action that is in-work to resolve the back-rent or eviction dilemma we are in. I think that one big problem one is facing in the future is the eviction order remaining on your court record. Even landlords that are lenient about damaged credit reports or sketchy work history will draw the line about not renting to a person with an eviction on his or her record. Possibly the only thing that will make a difference after the pandemic is over is that millions of renters will be in the same situation. Until some useful legislation is passed, there are only a few things that you can do now to minimize the future impact on your ability to find another rental home.
- Document that before the pandemic, you had never been late with a rent payment.
- Document that you looked for rental assistance and paid the landlord what you were able to qualify for.
- Document that you used your stimulus funds and other money that you pulled together to make rent payments when you could.
- Keep receipts for all rent payments that you made and that were made on your behalf.
- Document your illness the best that you can and that you went back to work as soon as you could.
- Document that you complied with CDC and any local requirements.
- If you work things out with your current landlord, document that eventually you resolved your financial hardship during COVID and ultimately were not evicted.
Going forward, you should continue looking for rent assistance. In December, Congress approved $25 billion to assist struggling renters and landlords. These funds are only now beginning to reach the states and cities. These are intended to cover up to a year of back rent. You’ll need to look locally for agencies administering these new funds.
Also, try to stay current with the changes that are happening. Here are a few links that should help:
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Help for Renters.
Fannie Mae: Renters Resources Finder. If the Renters Resource Finder confirms that Fannie Mae financed the apartment complex where you live, you should be eligible for COVID-19-related tenant protections. If your landlord or property owner received payment relief on the financing that Fannie Mae provided (known as forbearance), these protections could include:
- Protection from eviction solely for failure to pay your rent.
- At least a 30-day notice to vacate your rental unit.
- A suspension of late fees or penalties for nonpayment of rent.
- Flexibility to repay back-rent over time, and not in a lump sum.
Freddie Mac: Is my apartment building financed by Freddie Mac? The same provisions that apply to Fannie Mae-financed properties also apply to Freddie Mac.
I hope this helps
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