Local News

Landlords squeezed by extended eviction moratorium

Posted December 28, 2020 6:39 p.m. EST
Updated December 28, 2020 9:07 p.m. EST

— While the $900 billion pandemic relief package provides funding for small businesses and unemployed workers, landlords say they could soon face foreclosure because they aren't getting enough help.

The new year was supposed to bring an end to the nationwide moratorium on evictions during the coronavirus pandemic, but the relief package extends that moratorium to the end of January. Gov. Roy Cooper also signed an executive order last week blocking any eviction proceedings until at least February.

“I have several owners who are very concerned and don’t know what they are going to do," said Beth Wilson Black, co-owner of Wilson Property Management in Raleigh, which manages 1,500 rental homes, condominiums and apartments in Wake, Durham and Johnston counties.

“They’re having to make their mortgage payments, keep up the insurance, do maintenance requests, and they are sitting there with somebody who unfortunately has lost their job and cannot pay their rent," Black said.

The delinquencies on Wilson Property Management's residences now total $231,000, she said. Landlords with just one or a few properties have been hit especially hard, she said.

“I hope the residents or tenants understand that we want to work with them," she said. "We are trying, but this owner still has to make his $1,500 or $2,000 montage payment on that single-family home you are living in. It’s bad on both sides.”

While relief programs have given some renters forgiveness, landlords have been offered only forbearance, meaning they still have to pay their mortgage down the road.

"For the small landlords, there has not been any type of relief or assistance,” said Scott Farmer, executive director of the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency.

Black said she doesn't expect to get repaid on any property that is four months or more behind in rent.

“People are not going to be able to dig themselves out of that hole. I understand what they are doing [with the eviction moratoriums], but at this point, they are no longer helping the landlord," she said.

The new relief package will allow landlords, for the first time, to apply for assistance on behalf of their renters, Farmer said.

"The landlords know the renters – they know who lives in their properties – and if they can provide that additional help in helping them putting in the application or helping them know the resources are there, it’ll go a long way toward getting assistance to more folks more quickly," he said.

North Carolina will likely receive about $700 million in rental assistance under the new package. Until that happens, landlords say communication is key.

"Please just keep us informed. Tell us when, if you are ever going to make a payment, when you are going to be able to make a payment," Black said. "Adhere to when you are going to make a payment. Let us know what is going on, that you are interviewing for a job or that you got a job or that you got this assistance coming in.”

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