Lawmakers in DC region looking at ways to help shield people from eviction

The federal ban on evictions is now expired and August rent is due in two days. Lawmakers across the country and in the DMV are looking at ways to keep people in their homes through the pandemic.

On Thursday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam called on the state Supreme Court to extend the ban on evictions that expired last month. In the letter, he said over 6,000 eviction hearings were scheduled through the end of the month into the first week of August.

In D.C., evictions are still banned and in Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan has issued an executive order saying people cannot be evicted If they are facing financial hardship due to coronavirus. However, people are still getting notices to vacate and threats of legal action from landlords.

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Sen. Jeff Waldstreicher (D-Montgomery Co.) said he’s hearing from people whose landlords are taking action.

“People whose lease has ended can be evicted under any circumstances beginning on (July) 25th,” said Waldstreicher. “So if you’ve got coronavirus and your lease ended, you are not protected under the current executive order and you could be evicted starting now.”

Waldstreicher is part of a group of state lawmakers who issued a report this week on what they feel is needed to help keep people in their homes.

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They want an end to late fees and penalties for renters, an expansion of mediation services for tenants and landlords and Waldstreicher said millions more in state and federal money is needed in rental assistance. Right now, Hogan has allocated $30 million for eviction prevention programs and Northam has allocated $50 million.

”We’re asking Gov. Hogan to continue the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures in Maryland until January 31 of 2021,” said Waldstreicher. “That will allow us to reconvene as legislators and come up with a comprehensive solution that protects renters, that protects homeowners and that protects landlords so we can figure this all out together.”

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If you have started getting notices from your landlord, there is help available:

Maryland Legal Aid is assisting people in court.

Here is rental assistance information for Virginians and here is information for Marylanders.

Here is information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.