Eviction Moratorium Continued
Has government exceeded it’s proper role in the pandemic? Indiana has extended the eviction moratorium through August 1. Effectively, we have owners who have not received rent for this entire year. Fortunately this is a small number. If you have a tenant that was scheduled to have an eviction hearing in March, it was likely continued. Now, at best, the hearing may be scheduled in August.
Emergency evictions can proceed. Emergency evictions are ones where criminal activity is occurring or habitability issues arrive. We have been asked if lack of lawn care could be considered as property damage? After consulting with our attorney the damage has to be more than cosmetic – which lawn care is considered. If they refuse to maintain the yard we need to send our crew and charge the tenant. Right, we know the tenant is not paying. We just are not going to be able to use the lack of lawn care for an emergency eviction hearing.
Rental Assistance Program
Also, a new $25 million COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program has been created for all Indiana counties except Marion; Marion County will operate its own program. Both programs will be funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
We do not know what the Marion County program will feature. It may look similar to the State offering. Here is a summary of the new state program (exclusive of Marion County) administered by the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority (IHCDA):
- Provides assistance of up to $500 per month, for 4 months, for households unable to pay all or part of their rent due to a COVID-19 related job loss or income reduction
- Requires landlord’s agreement to participate in program – will not evict for nonpayment until renter is more than 45 days delinquent on rent
- Payments made directly to the landlord
- An estimated 12,000 households could be helped
- Current household income, including unemployment, must be less than household income on March 6, 2020
- Household must not have already received emergency rental assistance as part of COVID-19 response
- Must not already receive rental assistance such as through Section 8 vouchers or USDA assistance
- Applications open on July 13, 2020
If we believe this may be used by one of your tenants we will be asking them to apply. Here are more details on the state program.
NARPM Rent Survey Shows Improving Rental Climate
So, now that we covered the bad news, here is some good news. A national survey indicates that single family tenants continue to be current with their June rent payments with 70% of property managers reporting 91-100% of their tenants had paid their June rent.
How does WILMOTH Group compare?
We are in the 18% of managers that said 81-90% of tenants had paid rent on time. We are at 83.5% on time which has been declining slightly since the start of the pandemic and significantly under our 92% average. When removing the accounts that would normally have been removed due to eviction, we would be at 90% currently. The difference represents approximately the small number of tenants who are having COVID related problems that we are currently working to resolve.
Which is why we argue the eviction moratorium is saving the tenants who were already in trouble and not doing anything for those who have real issues asking for assistance. It appears that finally a program will be available for rental assistance outside of what we have been able to offer in extended payment terms.
We will wait to see what Marion County has to offer but hopefully it will be similar to the state program. We understand how frustrating these times are to be a landlord.