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Temporary ban on evictions has local landlord worried, has downside for renters

Published: Sep. 3, 2020 at 7:26 PM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - A temporary federal ban on evictions has at least one Killeen landlord worried and there’s a potential downside for renters, too.

The temporary ban ordered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is effective starting Thursday through Dec. 31 and is intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by millions of displaced renters who could end up in shelters or other communal living facilities.

The order does not come with any funding, which could leave landlords without income, but with expenses such as mortgages and property taxes.

“This is a very short-sighted, knee-jerk reaction by the CDC who is not really thinking it through,” said JoAnn Purser, a landlord in Killeen.

“They think that we have all the cash and we don’t. We have all the debt that we are trying to service.”

And renters who take advantage of the ban will still have to pay up.

When the order expires in January, they will still have to pay the four months of back rent in addition to any late fees instituted by their landlords.

The order applies only to renters who make $99,000 or less a year and to couples filing jointly who make no more than $198,000.

Any renters seeking the relief must prove they’ve attempted to get government assistance to help with rental payments and must declare in a sworn statement that their inability to pay the rent is a direct result of the pandemic and that they would likely be homeless if evicted.

A renter who isn’t truthful in the statement, which must be presented to a landlord, could be prosecuted for felony perjury.

Likewise, the federal government said it will impose criminal penalties on landlords who violate the ban.

Earlier in the year, the CARES Act protected renters in federally funded housing from eviction.

The new order applies to all rental housing as long as the renter meets the requirements.

Copyright 2020 KWTX. All rights reserved.

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