SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people many ways. For some, that includes struggling to pay rent. Even as we start returning to normal, that monthly bill can still be a problem. A moratorium was extended so landlords could not evict people unable to pay rent, but that could soon be ending.
Your home is a place where you retreat at the end of the day to relax and spend time with family.
But for some, there’s an added stress of trying to figure out to pay next month’s rent.
“As this moratorium is ending, this leaves countless, roughly 18% of South Dakotans susceptible to an eviction action,” executive director of East River Legal Services, Brent Thompson said.
Brent Thompson, the executive director of East River Legal Services, says nothing in the moratorium prevents or stops a person from their obligation to pay rent.
“If there are parking fees, late fees, damage fees, the bill just keeps compiling up and now once the moratorium ends you have an obligation to pay that,” Thompson said. “We are seeing people at here East River, with back rents of over a year, we are talking at this point, tens of thousands of dollars in back rent, it’s going to be a basis for your eviction and that could very easily lead to homelessness.”
But there is assistance available to avoid an eviction.
“Fortunately there’s a bright line, with the CARES Act 2, the federal government released roughly $200 million to the state of South Dakota for rental assistance,” Thompson said. “This is a tremendous resource for people to hopefully remain housed and be able to pay back a lot of this back rent that is owed.”
Thompson says with this round of CARES Act money, it doesn’t have to be related to COVID-19. For more information on assistance, click here.