From California to New York to Texas and everywhere in between: A renter’s guide to eviction during the Coronavirus crisis

From California to New York to Texas and everywhere in between: A renter’s guide to eviction during the Coronavirus crisis

Patty Lamberti
 | 
If you are a renter, especially one of the 36 million Americans who have lost their jobs since the beginning of March, you’re likely staying up at night worrying about what will happen if you haven’t, or soon can’t, pay your rent. 
 
You’re not alone. The most frequent calls and emails we get at LawChamps include:
 
  • Can my landlord evict me if I don’t pay my rent if I’ve lost my job because of COVID-19?  
  • Can I pay just part of my rent? 
  • What happens if I break my lease and just leave?
  • Can my landlord charge me late fees?
  • Can my landlord lock me out?
  • If I’m not paying, does my landlord have to fix things that are broken? 
  • How will breaking my lease or eviction affect my credit? 
  • Can my landlord use my security deposit to cover any rent I didn’t pay? 
 
Below, we’ve provided a resource to answer all of these questions and more. Soon, we’ll be adding articles that answer these questions for specific states. 
 
How the federal government is trying to help renters
 
On March 27, the federal government took action to protect renters across the country when they passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).
 
The law says that renters can remain in their apartments or houses without facing the threat of immediate eviction.
 
Note the word immediate
 
Before you think you’re in the clear, make sure you understand the finer points of this legislation:
  • The CARES Act says landlords can’t file new eviction proceedings for nonpayment or partial payment of rent for 120 days beginning on March 27, 2020. 
  • That means that unless the federal government announces another aid package, your landlord can begin eviction proceedings as of Saturday, July 25, 2020. 
  • The landlord is entitled to collect all back rent from you during this moratorium. 
  • If you were already being evicted, your landlord can continue the process. 
  • Landlords can’t charge fees, penalties, or other charges for nonpayment of rent through July 25. 
  • After the moratorium period, the landlord can’t lock you out. The landlord must provide a tenant with a written 30 days’ notice. At that point, you may lose access to your rental. 
 
How states and cities are trying to further help renters
 
Under the CARES Act, landlords across the country have the right to file eviction notices on July 25th, which could eventually lead to mass homelessness. 
 
In an effort to prevent that, many states and cities have created their own laws to protect renters. 
 
But these laws vary wildly by state and city. 
 
Fortunately, Princeton University’s Eviction Lab and Columbia Law School Professor Emily Benfer have developed a policy scorecard for each state. The site is updated daily, and explains every new emergency order, declaration and legislation in easy-to-understand language.
 
Check your state’s score, and see an updated list of laws regarding residential renting, here
 
Here’s an example of how eviction laws vary by state during the Coronavirus 
 
In Massachusetts, there is a moratorium on all five stages of eviction (which start with landlords posting notices to tenants and ends with removal of the tenant) during the pandemic and for 45 days after the state of emergency is lifted by the governor of the state (not the President of the country).
 
The governor can also extend this moratorium in increments of 90 days. 
 
That means renters in Massachusetts are among the most protected in the nation. 
 
But in Texas, courts still are accepting eviction paperwork. Although no one can be evicted until the federal mandate expires, in late July, there may be a line of landlords waiting at court doors. 
 
Don’t lose hope if you live in a state with a low score. Your landlord may still be willing to work with you to work out a repayment plan.

Check out our advice here and feel free to reach out to us for more help.




This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.

Patty Lamberti

Find Me My Lawyer Now

It's free to match, fast and easy to use. Please select your legal need:
Business / Employment

Business / Employment

Family/Personal Injury

Family/Personal Injury

Criminal Defense/DWI

Criminal Defense/DWI

Real Estate/Housing

Real Estate/Housing

Estate Planning/Probate

Estate Planning/Probate

Review & Rating Images LawChamps
LawChamps Reviews

"I was able to find just the right lawyer for my case. It was easy to use."

Lucy Coutinho

Client

Review & Rating Images LawChamps
LawChamps Reviews

"Very easy for me to get connected with an experienced attorney."

Robert Knox Jr

Client

Review & Rating Images LawChamps
LawChamps Reviews

"It was super easy. It was super fast and I got connected pretty quickly."

Lenasia Smalls

Client

Client Testimonial - Triso Valls
LawChamps Reviews

"It’s easy to register and match with a lawyer according to your legal [need]."

Triso Valls

Client

Ready To Get Started?

Find Your Lawyer NowLawChamps Arrow Icon

Related Posts

How to Negotiate a Medical Bill So You Don’t Pay Full...

Sona Sulakian | 20 November, 2020

Earlier this year, CNBC reported that 32% of American workers have medical debt and about 28% have a balance greater than $10,000. Many often assume medical bills aren&rs...

Read More Arrow Icon

Can you be charged late fees or evicted in a mobile hom...

Victoria Pappas | 20 November, 2020

This week, President Trump signed an executive order halting evictions in residential properties. While this order will seemingly protect renters in apartments and other ...

Read More Arrow Icon

A Guide to Divorce Laws in California

Cassidy Chansirik | 20 November, 2020

In California, lawyers are seeing a spike in divorce cases during the pandemic. Since March, some legal websites are reporting a 30% increase in divorce-related inform...

Read More Arrow Icon

Related Posts

Hire One, Help Another

LawChamps donates a portion of our revenue, investing it back into funding justice reform organizations and subsidizing the legal fees for those who cannot afford them.
Learn More