“We need help”: With the extension of the moratoriums on evictions, some owners are selling

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Tuesday, Austin and Travis County the leaders said they would extend the moratoriums on evictions until May 1. It follows a federal decision to do so On Monday.

The rules protect tenants who can’t pay rent due to the pandemic, but the extensions also force many landlords to sell.

Kathy Smart, for example, rents her home in Travis County, but her tenant owes her nearly $ 6,000.

“Not having the income and trying to keep it up – I’m late on my car, behind on a lot of my other bills. I had to get loans, ”she said.

With the moratoriums on evictions now extended until May and June, Smart plans to sell his car to make ends meet.

“I have to think of other things that I can sell, but I don’t have a lot,” she cried.

The National Rental Home Council says Smart is not alone.

Their poll, published last week, found that one in five rental homeowners had to take out loans to cover rent deficits.

Almost a quarter say they even had to sell at least one or all of their properties.

“What about the people who have worked their entire lives to secure their property, earn investment income, take care of their families – and then we’re supposed to lose everything we’ve got? “

Kathy smart, Travis County landlord / landlord

“We’ve heard about this anecdotally, and I’m sure it’s going to continue to increase,” said Emily Blair, executive vice president of the Austin Apartment Association.

The association represents approximately 1,800 providers of rental housing of various sizes.

Blair says rentals are important to stay in an increasingly competitive buying market.

“It provides flexibility and maybe an affordability opportunity for people… we want to make sure that we meet this demand in the long term,” she said.

Austin rolled out its latest version of rental aid earlier this month, RENT 3.0.

Blair says 5,000 requests have already been received and for the first time homeowners have been allowed to initiate requests on behalf of their residents – 1,000 of them have already done so.

But homeowners can’t do it alone. Both parties have to complete paperwork as part of the process.

“Landlords can only receive rent payments once their tenant has completed the application process, has been selected through random selection and eligibility is verified,” said Julia Campbell of the department. Austin Housing and Planning.

Blair says that while Austin’s RENT 3.0 program has helped, it’s not enough.

“There are those situations where there isn’t the ability or the desire, perhaps, to pursue rental assistance and so it kind of creates a growing problem that really has an operational impact on the property. “she said.

A situation that Smart says she is currently facing.

“My hands are tied. I literally can’t do anything. But I’m literally not getting any help,” Smart said.

Blair says the group is working with city and county leaders to include exclusions, so a landlord can evict when he runs out of options.

“I cannot sell my house. This is my retirement. I can not. It is all I have. And I’m just trying to keep it together, ”she said.

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