Another $7 million in aid has been allocated by the state to help renters and landlords as the end of Arizona’s eviction moratorium looms.
Arizona’s Rental Property Owner Preservation Fund will receive another $5 million, according to a Wednesday announcement from Gov. Doug Ducey. The fund, launched with $5 million in July to pay landlords struggling during eviction moratoriums, ran out of money last month.
The other $2 million will be added to the Arizona Department of Housing’s Rental Eviction Prevention Fund, which was launched in late March with $5 million.
On Oct. 31, Arizona’s rental moratorium for tenants hurt by COVID-19 will end, according to the Governor’s Office.
“With today’s funding, we are expanding efforts to keep all Arizonans in their homes and helping ensure rents continue to get paid,” said Ducey in a statement.
The additional rental aid could help the state’s thousands of renters struggling to keep their homes, but many now also need to fill out additional forms to qualify for the federal eviction moratorium, said Pamela Bridge, Community Legal Services director of litigation and advocacy.
Arizona renters who submitted paperwork to keep from being evicted under the state ban will owe landlords that back rent if they don’t qualify for the CDC ban.
CDC eviction moratorium
Many Arizona renters struggling due to COVID-19 can still avoid eviction for the next two months through the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium that expires Dec. 31.
Tenants must provide a CDC declaration form to their landlords as soon as possible, Bridge said. A copy of the form can be found at https://clsaz.org/covid-19/.
Eviction filings in Maricopa County had fallen during the moratorium but are climbing again.
Filings increased to 2,863 in September, up from 2,171 in August and 1,768 in July, according to the Maricopa County Justice Courts.
“We expect landlords will be evaluating any evictions which were delayed under the governor’s orders to determine which, if any, they wish to pursue,” said Scott Davis, Justice Courts spokesperson. “Tenants whose evictions were delayed earlier this year should reevaluate their situation to see if they now meet the criteria for CDC protection.”
Access the digital replica of USA TODAY and more than 200 local newspapers with your subscription.
Read Now in the e-Edition
CDC moratorium help
To qualify for the CDC moratorium, tenants must sign a declaration saying they:
Lost income during the pandemic.
Can’t make full rent payments.
Will try to make partial rent payments.
Applied for rental help.
Would be left homeless or in cramped, unsafe living conditions if evicted.
Under the CDC rules, renters can’t earn more than $99,000 a year to qualify. Couples, who file joint tax returns, can make twice that much and qualify. The Arizona moratorium didn’t have an income limit.
Davis said the CDC eviction moratorium “is not automatic” for renters currently staying in their homes under Arizona’s eviction moratorium.
“We have seen numerous tenants call in to their court hearings unaware that they need to claim the exemption,” he said.
A CDC tenant declaration form can also be found on the Justice Courts website: http://justicecourts.maricopa.gov/Notices/covid-19.aspx.
After the CDC eviction ban ends Dec. 31, tenants protected under it will owe landlords all of their missed rent payments, too.
Housing advocates are encouraging renters to apply for rental aid and at least make partial payments if that’s all they can afford.
Overall, $50 million in aid available
The Governor’s Office estimates about $50 million in rental aid is left and can be obtained from state, city and county groups.
In July, about $90 million was available.
About $1 million remains from the original $5 million set aside for the Arizona eviction prevention fund administered by the Arizona Department of Housing. Now the fund has $3 million available.
Tempe gives Coyotes’ proposal low marks for ‘financial strength’
Undercooked chicken found in restaurant inspections
26 restaurants and bars opened in metro Phoenix
Event with ‘2000 Mules’ filmmakers was short on evidence
Housing advocates and renters were critical of the state renter fund when it first launched because it was slow to get the money to those who needed it. But new guidelines and more funds to increase resources to handle applications has led to more money getting to renters faster.
Struggling Arizona landlords can apply for $50,000 to $250,000 from the newly replenished $5 million fund.
Help for renters and landlords
Here’s more information for renters and landlords to apply for assistance in Arizona:
State rental aid: https://housing.az.gov/general-public/eviction-prevention-assistance
Arizona aid for property owners: https://arizonatogether.org/grants
Maricopa County rental aid: https://www.maricopa.gov/5583/COVID-Crisis-Rental-Assistance
Phoenix rental, mortgage or utility help: https://wildfireaz.org/phxcares/
Mesa utility aid: https://www.turnanewleaf.org/services/financial-empowerment/immediate-financial-assistance.html
Glendale rental aid: https://glendaleaz.com/live/city_services/citizen_assistance_programs/pop
All the funds pay landlords and utilities directly.
AUTHOR: Catherine Reagor