As Minnesota heads into colder weather and the number of COVID cases increases across the state, the impact of current eviction moratoriums and rental assistance programs continue to be important for HRAs and their residents. This update provides an overview of the current state and federal programs plus some recent surveys regarding COVID’s impact.
Renters experiencing financial stress – September rents payments decline in Twin Cities Metro
A greater share of metro apartment dwellers missed their rent payments in September as pandemic aid expired, reported by the Star Tribune. Read the full article here. The September report shows the first meaningful decline in rent payments since the beginning of the pandemic and a likely sign that many of the lowest income renters relied on expanded federal benefits. With federal assistance in limbo, 85% of people who lived in the oldest, most affordable market-rate rentals (Class C buildings) were able to pay their rent by Oct. 6 when the grace period for late rents typically ends, according to the Minnesota Multi-Housing Association’s monthly survey of more than 35,000 market-rate units, most of them in the metro. That’s down from 88% last month and 94% last year, and doesn’t include heavily subsidized and Section 8 rentals.
Significant, ongoing disruptions to communities due to COVID Fed Reserve Survey Finds
Six months into the pandemic, COVID-19 and the many efforts to slow it continued to be a significant disruption to communities across the Ninth Federal Reserve District and nation. So say findings from the third round of a Federal Reserve System survey collecting information on the effects of COVID-19 on communities. Key findings include:
- Overall, respondents indicated that the conditions around business impacts, job losses, and education had become modestly or significantly worse over the last eight weeks for the communities they serve.
- Community development stakeholders expect communities to return to pre-pandemic conditions no sooner than 2021. More than half (56 percent) indicated it will take more than 12 months for their communities to return to the conditions they were experiencing prior to the disruption from COVID-19. Only one in ten (10 percent) expect their communities to recover in six months or less (that is, still in 2020).
- Read the full article here
State Eviction Moratorium Still Controls & HUD Releases Eviction Order FAQ
HUD recently published an updated FAQ regarding the CDC’s Eviction Order (read the full NAHRO summary here). However, the state eviction moratorium established by Governor Walz’s Executive Order (view here) still controls. Specifically, the eviction moratorium continues the suspension of eviction actions for nonpayment of rent as well as the suspension of foreclosure proceedings for overdue mortgage payments. However, landlords may file an eviction where the tenant:
- Seriously endangers the safety of other residents;
- Violates Minnesota Statutes 2019, section 504B.171, subdivision 1;
- Remains in the property past the vacate date after receiving a notice to vacate or nonrenewal under paragraph 4 of this Executive Order; or
- Materially violates a residential lease by the following actions on the premises, including the common area and the curtilage of the premises:
- Seriously endangers the safety of others; or
- Significantly damages property.
You may read the full executive order and view Minnesota Housing’s FAQ here.
COVID Housing Assistance Program Has Over $30M Requested – $$ Still Available for Unpaid Housing Bills
In its first month, the COVID Housing Assistance Program (CHAP) received over $30M in requests to address unpaid housing bills. The program has a total of $100M in funds that must be dispersed by the end of the year. IMPORTANT NOTE: Unfortunately, if a household receives rental assistance that adjusts with income (i.e. Housing Choice voucher, project-based assistance, or another form of state or federal rental assistance), they are generally not eligible to apply for rental assistance in the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program.
However, they may still apply for assistance with eligible UNPAID UTILITY EXPENSES. Read the full FAQ here.
ICYMI: 2021 COLA Increase
1.3% Bump Beginning December 2020
- Retired military veterans, VA rates for compensation and pension for disabled veterans and surviving families effective December 1, 2020 and will be reflected on the first check to be paid on December 31, 2020.
- Social Security benefits will be effective beginning with the December 2020 benefits, which are payable in January 2021.
- Federal SSI & SSDI payment levels will be effective for payments made for January 2021.