SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The eviction moratorium put in place by the CDC in September has now come to an end. With that comes concern from renters worried about not paying their August rent.
For ten months, the eviction moratorium was helping tenants across the country have a place to live as they faced financial hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic. But now, the moratorium is over.
Brent Thompson, executive director for East River Legal Services, says the current data shows 1 in 5 Americans are worried about making next month’s rent payment. In South Dakota, he says 18.8 percent of the population is worried. There is assistance available through the state, though. From the Cares Act, South Dakota has over $300 million for which renters can apply. But Thompson says the number of people worried about evictions is alarming.
“What this is going to translate now to is are those people who were having difficulty paying rent, who followed the proper steps to abide by the moratorium and therefore couldn’t be evicted, can now immediately be evicted,” Thompson said. “They owe a lot of back rent that they didn’t pay, all the fines, potentially the lawyer fees and court fees they come in contact with or could come as a result as that. So that’s a significant amount of debt that these people are going to have to come up to in a short period of time or else face eviction and potentially homelessness.”
Thompson says these issues could cause more problems with the already tight housing market the country is facing.
Through Cares Act One, a person is eligible only if they have fallen behind in rent specifically because of a COVID related issue. Cares Act Two is much more flexible, however.