Do you have to pay rent during the pandemic?

By David Brower, Community Development Analyst

The economic realities of the COVID-19 pandemic mean that many families are struggling to make ends meet after losing income. Essential responsibilities such as paying rent have become exceedingly difficult. 

In September, the Centers for Disease Control issued a temporary eviction moratorium, allowing some property owners to pause evictions for nonpayment of rent in certain circumstances. The moratorium remains in effect through March 31. 

If you are unable to pay rent, you might wonder what this means for you. Do you have to pay your rent? The short answer is yes. 

An eviction paused under the moratorium doesn’t erase current or past due rent. You may still be charged late fees, penalties, and other fees for unpaid rent. 

The eviction moratorium pauses evictions for rent nonpayment if the following seven conditions are met for each adult on a lease, and a signed declaration is submitted to your landlord:   

  1. You’re unable to pay your total rent because of a decrease in household income or extraordinary medical expenses.
  2. You’re making your best effort to make timely partial payments that are as close to the total amount due as circumstances allow.
  3. You’ve made your best effort to get all available government assistance.
  4. You meet one of these conditions:
  • You made less than $99,000 in 2020 (or $198,000 if filing a joint tax return).
  • You weren’t required to report any income to the IRS.
  • You received a CARES Act stimulus check.
  1. If evicted, you’d likely become homeless, move into a homeless shelter, or move into new housing shared by other people in close quarters.
  2. You understand that you’re responsible for paying unpaid rent, you may be charged fees for due rent, and you must continue to comply with your lease terms.
  3. You understand that when the CDC order expires on March 31, you may be subject to eviction if you have unpaid rent or fees.

For more information, visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Help For Renters webpage.

To get referrals to area resources and rent assistance, dial 2-1-1 for free help. Trained specialists are available around the clock, with services available in more than 90 languages.


About the Blogger

David Brower has been a community development analyst for the City of College Station since he graduated from Texas A&M in 2008.


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