News of the eviction moratorium being extended until Jan. 31 comes as a relief to many tenants struggling to pay rent, but it also brings worry to some landlords who are having a tough time maintaining their properties.
Some landlords haven't received any payments from renters since the pandemic began almost 10 months ago.
Sarah Taggart, an evictions attorney, said it's about time landlords will be getting compensated with the rental assistance.
“There was PPP for small businesses, there was extra unemployment for unemployed people, there was stimulus money for Americans, you know, bonuses for certain companies with essential workers, nothing for landlords, yet they were still being told, ‘you need to make sure your place, like the hot water works, you need to make sure the heat works,'" said Taggart.
Taggart is an evictions attorney with her own statewide practice, but she is also a landlord, herself. Taggart said she hasn't had any issues with her tenants not paying rent, but she sees it regularly through her practice.
“The landlord's obligations to maintain the property haven’t gone away, and don’t go away if a tenant stops paying," she said.
The $25 billion in rental assistance will not only help tenants repay what they owe but also help landlords maintain the property without using their personal funds.
“I kind of think the rent assistance is fair, because a tenant understands that they have to pay rent to stay in a property, they can’t right now," Taggart said. "The landlords shouldn’t be the one that has to be their source of charity."
We don't know how much of the $25 billion Alabama will be allocated, or how our state plans to handle the rental assistance.