AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The Federal Eviction Moratorium has been extended, so anyone who has fallen behind on rent during the pandemic will now have until June 30, to apply for renter eviction assistance.
“If they meet all the criteria on the declaration, then their eviction may be abated, meaning it’ll be stopped temporarily,” said Kay Pechin, managing attorney, Legal Aid of Northwest Texas, Amarillo branch.
Legal Aid of Northwest Texas says the two most important things they look out for is if you’ve tried you best to pay rent to your landlord and you’ve applied for all government assistance programs available.
“Two of the most important ones is that you’ve tried to pay your rent, and you are applying for all government assistance available, all the rent assistance you can find. Those are what the judges really are interested in when you have to do one of these. So, the criteria are very simple but all those things have to be true because you’re saying, ‘I’m declaring that all these things are true’ when you’re signing the declaration,” said Pechin.
You are required to fill out this Eviction Protection Declaration form.
If you’ve been under the income limits, received a stimulus check, are eligible for benefits like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, have had unemployment compensation because of COVID-19 or if you are going to be homeless or placed somewhere with other people who aren’t in your current household, you are eligible for the extension.
“There are programs that they need to apply for, so that they can pay their landlord the rent and it just gives them a temporary reprieve so that they can get back on their feet,” said Pechin.
The first thing Legal Aid of Northwest Texas tells you to do is to apply for rental assistance by calling 211.
“Or if the landlord has already filed an eviction in court, they can give it to the judge,” said Pechin.
Pechin says the federal government is making it known that there are enforcement mechanisms in place if landlords are not cooperating.
“The federal government is making it known that there are enforcement mechanisms in place that people should go to; and those claims, those complaints, they can be filed online,” said Pechin.
“That is one thing that is a little bit different is they’re trying to say, ‘Okay out there,’ you need to be following this. We’re doing this for health reasons and we’re trying to make available funds for landlords so it’s not like the landlord won’t get paid. So, it’s kind of a combination of efforts that they’re putting forward that will help the tenants but also it won’t penalize the landlords,” said Pechin.
“If they want to get paid and keep their tenants, so they don’t have empty rentals, they should allow their tenants to apply, they should assist their tenants, or they should apply,” said Pechin.