Rent remains a problem during pandemic

By Samantha Iniguez 

With a lot of Americans out of work because of the pandemic people are worried how they will make next month’s rent or mortgage. Currently there is no complete relief programs for low-income families struggling to pay rent, but there should be. Luckily there is a moratorium which provides some aid to tenants.  

According to LA Cubed “The moratorium makes it illegal for landlords to evict residential tenants who are unable to pay rent because of loss of income from work, childcare costs related to school closures, healthcare costs, or “reasonable expenditures” related to COVID-19.” 

For the moratorium to provide relief the tenets must prove that COVID-19 is the reason their hours have been reduced or their jobless. In order to prove this tenant would need a letter from their employer stating that what they say is in-fact true. 

Even though the moratorium provides some protection it’s not much. Tenants can still be served with eviction papers, be taken to court and will still have to pay back any missed rent within a six-month timeframe as well as any costs that come with having to go to court. 

According to BuzzFeed about two-thirds of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. While jobs are cutting-hours and people losing jobs altogether, it is not enough to only give struggling tenants a 6-month timeframe in which they not only have to pay back missed rent but will also have to keep-up with their future payments. 

Unemployed citizens have also been advised to file for unemployment to keep receiving some type of income. According to data put out by the Department of Labor on the week of March 14 there was a 70,000 unemployment claim increase. Collecting unemployment checks instead of their usual checks is going to be a significant change for low-income families who often do over-time and pick up shift just to make ends meet. 

A Nolo Article said, “The California Employment Development Department (EDD) determines your weekly benefit amount by dividing your earnings for the highest paid quarter of the base period by 26, up to a maximum of $450 per week. Benefits are available for up to 26 weeks.” 

With the average rent in California being for a two-bedroom home coming in about 1,330 on the lower end according to Assuming a tenant qualifies for the maximum amount they would receive about 1,800 for a month after rent, if their rent is as low as 1,330 they would have about $470 to spare, but then comes groceries, any other bills they need to pay and medical expenses for some. When you do the math, it is not a comfortable living. 

With government relying on people to stay home in order to keep the pandemic under control they need to understand that the American people need more than just a couple dollars to get by. Even with the additional Economic Stabilization checks of $1,200 that are supposed to be sent to taxpayers a large percentage of Americans are still in financial strain.  

If someone from a struggling family has problems breathing and would like to get tested the test alone is $907, now if they need treatment that bill would be extremely high and nearly impossible to pay. 

The best bet to help Americans get through this difficult time is to enforce a nationwide Mortgage and rent relief that would not have to be paid back at all. In order to allow citizens to live comfortably in this time especially because this problem will probably be longer than a month and have long lasting effects.  

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