Millions of Americans suffered financial hardship and home instability during the COVID-19 pandemic. To make landlords not evict tenants struggling to pay rent during the crisis, the federal government imposed a prolonged eviction moratorium. However, the federal eviction moratorium expired and put a jeopardized situation in terms of housing security of possibly millions of families.

The countrywide ban on evictions by landlords ended on July 31, 2021. Since then, the CDC has issued a new order prohibiting evictions in areas with high COVID-19 transmission levels. And, although this new ruling will allow many Americans to remain in their homes, others face eviction. And, despite federal court rulings, landlords are expected to continue attempting to evict renters who are late on rent. According to the New York Times, an estimated 1.4 million Americans anticipate being asked to vacate their premises in the next 2 months, and another 2.2 million Americans are quite sure that they will be evicted.

Eviction may be an emotionally and financially draining experience. We’ll take you through all of your choices if you’re facing eviction in this guide.

Apply for rental assistance first

Congress allocated more than USD 46 billion for rental assistance in the emergency in response to the pandemic’s housing instability. If you’re having difficulty paying your rent, you may ask for rental aid to prevent eviction.

There are over 492 rental aid programs throughout the country, with the majority of them currently accepting applications. Renters may often self-certify their financial difficulty, and some landlords prioritize tenants who are suffering or in danger of eviction.

Visit the NLIHC’s rental aid dashboard to discover more about rental help programs available in your region. It includes a list of all 492 rental assistance programs, as well as details on who may apply and the relevant procedure.

Has your city or state extended the eviction moratorium?

As the national eviction moratorium has expired, millions of Americans continue to be safeguarded by emergency decrees prohibiting landlords from evicting renters during the epidemic.

The CDC released a new emergency order on Aug 3, 2021, temporarily halting evictions in counties having high rates of COVID-19 community transmission. The order is in effect until Oct 3, 2021.

Even if you are not covered by the emergency order by CDC, you might still be subject to an eviction moratorium. Several states, including New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, Washington DC, and California, have enacted eviction moratoriums to safeguard renters suffering from financial difficulty during the epidemic.

Are you facing eviction but the landlord hasn’t filed a lawsuit?

Are you facing eviction but the landlord hasn’t yet filed a lawsuit? Well, you still have time to get it right. To begin, speak with your landlord and work out a repayment plan. Certain landlords may be prepared to work with you to develop a strategy for catching up on the due rent from the previous months, or they may even grant a permanent or temporary rent decrease.

Jessica Bober, a legal expert, and Florida attorney says that to the extent it is feasible, the tenant should approach the landlord and present a repayment plan that enables them to stay on the property until the eviction moratorium expires.

If your landlord and you reach an agreement, ensure that it is documented in writing to protect both sides.

Of course, this approach will not be applicable to everyone. If you think the rent has become unaffordable for you, and you are unsure that you will be able to make up for missed payments, searching for more affordable accommodation may be a better choice. Being proactive and resolving the situation as soon as possible may also help preserve your credit from the negative effects of eviction.

Served with an eviction lawsuit? This is what you need to do.

If you have been served with an eviction lawsuit, the initial step is to obtain legal representation. Depending on your region and income, you may be eligible for free legal assistance. The American Bar Association maintains a collection of materials that may assist you in locating the assistance you need.

Following that, if you reside in an area that is currently protected by the CDC’s eviction moratorium, sign and complete the EvictionProtection Declaration. Provide your landlord with the signed declaration and save a duplicate for your record.

If you have already been served with an evictionlawsuit, you must submit a response to the court stating why you should not be evicted. If you are protected by the CDC’s emergency order, you may provide that information in your response. Additionally, you may describe what actions you’ve taken to remedy the issue, if any, such as presenting a repayment plan for your missed rent to your landlord or that you have already applied for rental assistance.

It’s critical to understand your rights and obligations, including those of your landlord, as you navigate the eviction process.

According to Bober, the renter can not be evicted unless the landlord obtains a court order, and even in that case, only the sheriff has the authority to evict the tenant. A landlord is not permitted to alter the tenant’s locks, cut off utilities, or otherwise interfere with the tenant’s personal property. Therefore, if any of these circumstances happen, the landlord has carried out an eviction without authority.

Next steps

If a court determines that you are eligible for eviction, you must have a plan for what will happen next. If you’ve retained the services of an attorney, they may assist you in navigating the eviction process and explaining your alternatives.

In certain instances, an eviction may be halted if you can pay the rent owed to the court or the landlord. If you can obtain payment, ensure that you have a plan in place to meet future rent payments.

If eviction is inevitable, there are many more services available to assist you in obtaining affordable temporary or permanent accommodation, including the following:

If an eviction is unavoidable after exhausting all options, a tenant should begin planning immediately for their next residence when the eviction moratorium expires. Too many tenants are asked to vacate their premises in just 24 or 48 hours after the judge’s signature on an eviction order by the court. Having a strategy in place now can assist you in adjusting to your new situation after eviction. The easiest approach to preventing eviction is to speak with your landlord and request assistance as soon as possible. Additionally, you should investigate any rental aid programs available in your region or begin looking for other accommodation if you anticipate being unable to afford your current rental. When in doubt, use the ABA’s list of free legal and housing resources to assist you throughout the process.