NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) – The clock is running out on millions of Americans facing eviction.
The federal eviction moratorium put in place during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic will expire on today.
The temporary eviction moratorium was established last year when the pandemic was in full swing and when a lot of people lost jobs and started to become behind in rent.
Now that the moratorium ends, and with the recent uptick in the Delta variant of the coronavirus and possible continued unemployment, tenants and landlords have real concern about what will happen.
On Friday morning, New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker held a news conference to share resources available to tenants and landlords who are impacted by this.
"There’s a lot of resources. The state of CT has UniteCT that’s offering $10,000 worth of back rent, landlords are required to apply for this funding before they try to evict anyone. Separately, the city of New Haven has our 'Castle program' that adds additional funding. So people need to make sure that they apply for this funds," Elicker said on Friday.
The UniteCT program is using roughly $450 million in federal COVID relief funds to provide rental and utility assistance for tenants and landlords impacted by the pandemic.
“We have a system in place to prevent evictions for nonpayment of rent. We have strong partnerships with the statewide legal services. And Connecticut legal aid, but more importantly it is the 16 resource centers. The eviction prevention specialists who are working with tenants and landlords to complete the applications and help load the documents,” Elicker said.
On June 24, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed an extension to the eviction moratorium which is scheduled to expire this weekend. At the time the CDC indicated that this would be the final extension.
“Following the expiration of the CDC moratorium, tenants will still benefit from protections announced by the Lamont Administration on June 30, including an extension from 3 to 30 days to file an appeal of an eviction and a requirement that landlords apply for aid through the UniteCT program,” Mayor Elicker’s office said in a press release.
Tenants should also know that they have a right to legal counsel. The state just passed a requirement so that if the landlord proceeds with an eviction, tenants will be provided legal help to support them through the process.
Still while there are many people who have fallen on hard times and are struggling to pay rent, some landlords said they are finding themselves in situations where tenants are attempting to take advantage.
Gregory Cichowski is a veteran who rented to another veteran in Wallingford. He said he has not received any rent since even before the pandemic began, and now he has had to spend thousands on legal fees and he is struggling to make ends meet.
“I feel bad. I fought for this country to do the right thing,” he said, adding that it was hard for him to talk about this issue and keep composure, when he has worked hard for what he has.
It is a complex situation and each one is different. UniteCT is a good resource for help, but tenants have to be willing to register with them to receive the help.
In Cichowski’s case, he said his tenant has not done so.