LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — The CDC has ordered a halt on evictions for those who can’t pay rent. But the protections for renters don’t automatically apply.
Attorney Frank Jenner with the Center for Arkansas Legal Services said Arkansas renters need to start taking steps now if they wish to take advantage of the new protections. The CDC-issued moratorium is meant to help people stay in their homes and prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“We've seen a very difficult summer for so many people that have been losing their homes due to no fault of their own,” Jenner said. “They’ve lost their jobs. They’ve lost their only source of income and haven’t been able to keep up with their rent obligations.”
In order to meet the conditions of the eviction moratorium, renters must have a loss of income or have significant medical expenses. First, they are advised to make their best effort to make partial rent payments and seek out available assistance. Then, renters must send a declaration to their landlords.
“And only after they’ve sent the declaration to their landlord does the eviction moratorium and protections apply to that tenant,” Jenner said.
The moratorium lasts until the end of the year.
“At least giving them the ability to keep staying in their home--even though they don’t have a source of income--does provide a little bit of stability, and will definitely be a lot of help to tenants here,” he said.
Jenner said there are still challenges ahead--renters will need to repay any back rent come January 1, 2021. The Center for Arkansas Legal Services is providing more information about how renters can qualify, as well as a sample declaration letter here.