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'A waterfall of evictions to come' Landlords and tenants impacted as CDC halts evictions

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Posted at 4:56 PM, Oct 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-08 08:09:48-04

DAVIDSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WTVF) — Some landlords are stuck paying a lot of money right now since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has halted evictions for tenants who can’t pay rent.

Kentucky landlord Rebecca Welsh said, "Right now I am supporting three homes, households, not just mine."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has halted evictions because they don't want people moving around and spreading COVID-19. "What we anticipate right now is a huge tumult, a waterfall of evictions to come, starting on January 1st," Oswald said.

According to Zac Oswald, the managing attorney in Gallatin for the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, tenants who can't pay rent have to provide a declaration to their landlord first. "They do need to continue to seek out financial resources to pay their landlords because even though I’m a tenants' advocate on a normal day, I don’t want to see anybody suffer from this catastrophe that we’re going through right now."

There's a list of rules on the form:

  • I have used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
  • I either expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act;
  • I am unable to pay my full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, lay-offs, or extraordinary2 out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  • I am using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses;
  • If evicted I would likely become homeless, need to move into a homeless shelter, or need to move into a new residence shared by other people who live in close quarters because I have no other available housing options.
  • I understand that I must still pay rent or make a housing payment, and comply with other obligations that I may have under my tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract. I further understand that fees, penalties, or interest for not paying rent or making a housing payment on time as required by my tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract may still be charged or collected.
  • I further understand that at the end of this temporary halt on evictions on December 31, 2020, my housing provider may require payment in full for all payments not made prior to and during the temporary halt and failure to pay may make me subject to eviction pursuant to state and local laws.

In addition, some landlords are taking their grievances to court right now. "The CDC moratorium has been challenged in several different districts including the Western District of Tennessee, kind of in Memphis area," Oswald said.

In most cases, past due rent will most likely be due on New Years Day. "Our economy is struggling and that means the people that are the most vulnerable on a normal day have become even more vulnerable."

In the Nashville area, there are additional resources with rent funds available according to Oswald. They include the New Covenant Church, Salvation Army, and what's called a continuum of care. “We encourage people across the state to contact their local United Way, and you can do that by dialing 211 from your phone," Oswald said.