Don’t skip your rent payment: 7 things you should know about the eviction moratorium

Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 5:57 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Centers for Disease Control and Department of Health and Human Services issued an eviction moratorium hoping to protect renters who have been impacted by COVID-19. That doesn’t, however, mean some tenants cannot still get evicted.

Sally Stang, Director of Housing and Community Services for the City of Wichita offered several tips on what you need to know about the moratorium.

  1. This protects renters until December 31. The CDC and HHS issued the order on September 4, and it’s set to expire on December 31. Stang says landlords can ask renters to pay all back-payments plus late fees on January 1. If the tenants cannot make the payment, landlords can evict them.
  2. Renters are still expected to make payments toward rent. The moratorium says renters must attempt to make payments as close to the total due as possible. The order delays when tenants can be evicted. It does not offer forgiveness for late or missing rent payments.
  3. Renters must provide their landlord with a declaration form. The form states that the tenant has exhausted all rent assistance programs and is unable to pay due to a significant loss of income. The form is available here: Renter Declaration Form
  4. Reach out to rental assistance programs. Before signing the document, Stang encourages renters to explore all assistance options. Stang says renters in Wichita should reach out to the city’s housing department. Anyone in Kansas can reach out to the Salvation Army and United Way to ask about assistance programs.
  5. The moratorium doesn’t prevent all evictions. Landlords can still evict tenants for breaking other parts of the lease agreement, such as property damage or violating any other building code.
  6. Landlords are struggling financially, too. If tenants do not make rent payments, landlords cannot pay for the property or other bills. That leaves landlords without a property and tenants will still get evicted. Landlords prefer to work with tenants and need to be aware of any inability to pay rent so the landlord can explore assistance options, too.
  7. Keep a record of all communication. Stang suggests saving all emails and written communication. If you have a conversation with someone over the phone or in person, Stang suggests following up with an email outlining what you got out of the conversation. “That really protects the renter in the future because the landlord. If they don’t agree with the interpretation, they should be responding and going oh no that’s not what I meant by that or you know something else but just following up that verbal conversation with an email that confirms that compensation should help.”

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