Housing (Making rent, temporary housing solutions, etc.)
Updated: Sep 4, 2021
Local updates to laws
Many communities have passed “State of Emergency” laws. This gives them the ability to change laws quickly in a moment of crisis.
Has your city instigated a ban on evictions? No utility shut-offs? Be sure to add any restrictions that exist — Eviction Lab is tracking all updates. Click “View Outline” on your state to see a list of what policies are in place for you. (Reminder that these are at the state level and your local city might have additional rules in place to help.)
The CARES Act provided a temporary moratorium on evictions for most residents of federally subsidized apartments, including those supported by HUD, USDA or Treasury (Low Income Housing Tax Credit developments) as well a moratorium on filings for evictions for renters in homes covered by federally-backed (FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac) mortgages for 120 days after enactment.
However, the federal eviction moratorium ended on July 25th. If you live in a property covered by the CARES Act, landlords can now legally ask you to leave and start charging late fees, but the soonest they can legally file an eviction to force you to leave is August 24. If Congress passes an extension or renewal of the eviction ban before Aug. 24, tenants who are behind on rent should continue to be temporarily able to remain in their homes. There will be more updates per state regarding rental assistance and paying off back-owed rent.
Worried about making rent
Here are some resources to help specifically with rent.
You can also look under the Income section for more resources
Just Shelter verified May 28 2020 Rent laws and eviction are highly localized so it’s important to find an organization in your area that can help. Use Just Shelter’s map of these organizations across the country to find one that can help you. They filter organizations by Housing Assistance (for if you need help finding housing or paying for it), Legal Aid, and Tenant Rights, both of which can help you navigate issues with a landlord, housing unit, or eviction.
National Coalition for the Homelessness verified May 28, 2020 Find out where to find resources and learn what to do if you’re about to become homeless.
DoNotPay verified July 28, 2020 DoNotPay recently added a coronavirus financial relief tool that will identify which of the laws, ordinances and measures covering rent and evictions apply to you based on your location. They will draft and send a letter to your landlord on your behalf, asking for either deferred payments or to waive late fees.
211.org verified July 28,2020 Get connected with essential community services in their area. If you're having trouble with your food budget or paying your housing bills, you can use 211.org's online search tool or dial 211 on your phone to talk to someone who can try to help.
Breaking a lease
As college campuses emptied, many students left behind off-campus housing for their hometowns in an effort to protect themselves from the virus and to be closer to their family. However, the coronavirus is still spreading, and many students may not be returning to their off-campus apartments and homes anytime soon. This may leave many students wondering how they can get out of their leases. Before you start the process of breaking your lease, you have to know your rights. Landlord-tenant laws differ from state to state, so its best to do some research to see what can be applicable to your situation.
Your landlord can sue you for the balance of the lease when the courts reopen. However, according to the NY Times, civil judgments no longer appear on credit reports thanks to the National Consumer Assistance Plan. Although they are still public record, it's reassuring that a ruling against you would not impact your credit score and your name would not appear on a tenant blacklist.
Use the Just Shelter map to find a group focused on Tenant Rights in your area.
Breaking a Lease and Leaving Early added June 29, 2020, not verified NOLO outlines out what landlords can (and can’t) do when tenants leave before the end of their lease.
How to Break Your Lease If Your College Shut Down Due to Coronavirus added June 29, 2020, not verified Find out about the best practices and steps to take if you are thinking about breaking your lease due to a campus closure.
Temporary housing solutions
Unfortunately, many colleges have started removing students from student housing with little notice. We understand that this puts students in an unimaginably hard situation.
For help getting home if this happens to you, click here to jump to the Transportation & Storage section of the guide.
Housing Assistance for Foster Youth added March 18, 2020, not verified If there are any foster youth that are being forced to leave college dorms due to COVID-19, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org . They will provide or help find housing during the transition.
What to do if you’re in an unsafe housing situation
Whether it’s a bad relationship with parents, family, or the people you live with, we know an unsafe housing situation can happen quickly, and present many unique challenges. For many students, college was their reprieve from these situations, and being sent back to an unsafe home can be particularly difficult.
National hotlines that assist people with unsafe living environments are still operating. Many hotlines also have texting options that may be easier to use if you’re in self-isolation with other people, and want to maintain your privacy.
National Domestic Abuse Hotline verified March 18, 2020 They can help you create a safety plan, talk through self-care for you or a friend, and talk through social isolation. Phone number: 1-800-799-7233 Text number: 22522 Notes: Online chat also available. Also available in Spanish
We want to help you do everything possible to avoid homeless shelters right now. They are already overwhelmed and may not be able to keep people safe from infection during this public health crisis. However, if necessary, a shelter is better than going without housing altogether. These are the shelters we know are currently still open in our area. If you have other safe housing options, we advise you to explore them before entering a shelter.
Homelessness During the Pandemic: What to Do and How to Help Verified September 25, 2020 MYMOVE created this guide that highlights the increased vulnerability of homelessness for families. There is also a section for what resources are available and ways the community can support underprivileged populations during these unprecedented times.
Learn more about renting and HUD rental assistance programs. Need Help?
Privately owned subsidized housing - HUD helps apartment owners offer reduced rents to low-income tenants. Search for an apartment and apply directly at the management office
Public Housing - affordable apartments for low-income families, the elderly and persons with disabilities. To apply, contact a public housing agency.
Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) - find your own place and use the voucher to pay for all or part of the rent. To apply, contact a public housing agency.
HUD Resource Locator - search for HUD field and regional offices, local PHAs, Multifamily and Public Housing locations, homeless coordinated entry system points of contacts, and USDA rural housing
Local Renting Information Rental help in your state - find affordable rentals and special needs housing, get help with your utility bills, and more
List my rental property - landlords who would like to rent to voucher holders should contact their local public housing agency (PHA) regarding the current or upcoming vacancy. The PHA may maintain a list of available units in the area. The PHA may also be aware of locally used websites or platforms for advertising available rental units. Landlords may also consider indicating when advertising when they welcome voucher holders.
Need Advice?: Contact a housing counseling agency or call toll-free (800) 569-4287.
Utilities & bills
Many utility companies have been ordered to delay shutoffs. Others have rolled out policies to help those impacted by coronavirus keep themselves afloat.
For any bills you need to pay, call them to see if you get your bills reduced or stopped temporarily. Be sure to state at the beginning that your income has been reduced due to the coronavirus crisis and you are unable to afford the current payments.
Do this for your water, electricity, gas, cell phone, internet provider, and any other utilities you may be paying.
Help with free wifi offers is listed in the Online learning resources section.
Please note: Edquity does not endorse nor is Edquity associated with any business, organization, product or service that is mentioned in these Guides. Edquity is not responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the information provided, which may change over time. We encourage you to contact the business or organization listed to receive the most up-to-date information.