CDC eviction moratorium to end at midnight on July 31, 2021, putting thousands of Nebraska tenants at risk — but they still have rights and financial options

The Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s Eviction Moratorium, which has kept thousands of Nebraska families impacted by COVID-19 in their homes over the past nine months, is ending July 31, 2021.

At the same time, there remain thousands of these tenants in Nebraska still struggling to pay rent and at risk of eviction. Legal Aid, Nebraska’s statewide provider of free civil legal services, wants these renters and their community supporters to know, despite the end of the CDC moratorium, legal and financial help is available.

The CDC confirms it is the final extension of the moratorium and there will not be another

 This means the strongest safeguard in place to protect renters will no longer be available and we anticipate an increase in adverse action taken against those who have been impacted by the pandemic.

 Legal Aid of Nebraska is committed to protecting those who are at risk of eviction. Although the CDC Moratorium is ending, there are still options for our vulnerable populations:

  • Emergency Rental Assistance Program: Any individual who has been financially impacted by COVID-19 can apply for rental assistance through the appropriate provider. Funds can cover rental arrears and future rent, past due utilities, internet and cellphone services. At this time, the deadline to apply for emergency rental assistance is August 31, 2021.
  • Legal Aid of Nebraska’s Housing Justice Project:  The Housing Justice Project is committed to promoting housing stability across the state. Our attorneys can provide a range of legal services, including eviction protection, preservation of housing, and homelessness prevention.

The CDC Eviction Moratorium is ending July 31, 2021.

Legal Aid expects eviction filings in court to increase as the CDC moratorium lifts. Scott Mertz, Managing Attorney of Legal Aid’s Housing Justice Project, states that despite the CDC moratorium ending, tenants can use other legal rights and rental assistance to prevent evictions.

“Our Housing Justice Project focuses on preventing families from losing their homes. These Nebraskans have legal rights, but we know that having an attorney is critical in preventing evictions,” said Mertz. “Throughout the pandemic, Legal Aid attorneys across Nebraska have helped renters and their families stay in their homes. And even with the lifting of the moratorium, tenants at risk of being evicted can contact Legal Aid.”

Mertz emphasized that acting as soon as any problems with rent or a landlord come up is critical. “It is always best if a tenant reaches out to Legal Aid as soon as they realize that, due to being behind in rent, eviction is possible. We are here to help, and there are many ways tenants can work with landlords and the courts.”

 

“Our Housing Justice Project focuses on preventing families from losing their homes. These Nebraskans have legal rights, but we know that having an attorney is critical in preventing evictions.” 

Rental assistance, which can pay back rent and help prevent evictions, is very much still available. The CDC Moratorium helped stop landlords from evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent through July 31, 2021, but it did not remove tenants’ obligation to pay rent. Right now, millions of dollars of rental financial assistance are still available to help financially struggling tenants in Nebraska.

Tenants can receive up to 12 months of back rent and 3 months of future rent. Tenants can apply online for rental and utility financial assistance, depending on where the tenants live (Omaha, Lincoln, or across Nebraska), but this funding may only be available through August 2021.

Several organizations are also offering help with applying for rent and utility assistance, including workshops where individuals can go for help in filling out the necessary paperwork to apply

Legal Aid knows there are some delays with the processing of rental assistance applications. The application process requires communication between the landlord and tenant, with both agreeing to the process. “We know that there is a backlog of applications and that can be frustrating, but we ask landlords and tenants to try and be patient and work through the process. By working together, we can keep more Nebraskans in their homes which is so vital for many reasons,” said Mertz. 

“We know that there is a backlog of applications and that can be frustrating, but we ask landlords and tenants to try and be patient and work through the process. By working together, we can keep more Nebraskans in their homes which is so vital for many reasons.”

“We have worked with many tenant clients who have received thousands of dollars in rental financial assistance, and landlords are made whole,” said Milo Mumgaard, Legal Aid’s Executive Director. “Nebraskans who are struggling with rent and utilities can take advantage of these programs — they exist to ensure families impacted by the pandemic and its economic fallout can keep a roof over their heads and have confidence they can pay the bills. We know that for many low-wage essential workers, the pandemic is still far from over as they work to dig themselves out of financial holes, while continuing to ensure their families are taken care of.”

As the eviction process moves swiftly in Nebraska, it’s crucial that we connect those at risk of eviction with our attorneys as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you are working with individuals or families at risk of eviction, please direct them to Legal Aid of Nebraska.  Individuals can call Legal Aid of Nebraska to apply for services: Statewide Accessline: 1-877-250-2016, COVID-19 Hotline: 1-844-268-5627.

 

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