Many Arizonans fear loss of their home when eviction moratorium ends

Mar 30, 2021, 4:25 AM
An apartment resident carries out a bag of clothing while being evicted for non-payment of rent on ...
An apartment resident carries out a bag of clothing while being evicted for non-payment of rent on October 5, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Delinquent Arizona renters are fearing the worst once the renewed federal eviction moratorium expires on June 30.

Zillow finds that renters are still hoarding cash — or just not putting it on rent — during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They’re afraid of losing their homes. They’re afraid jobs are not going to come back in the same way as they did pre-pandemic,” Chris Glynn, senior managing economist at Zillow, said.

Glynn adds his survey found tenants fear they can’t make back rent, either.

While renters welcomed the extension on the moratorium on Monday, originally set to expire at the end of March, Glynn calls it “a bandage” for 197,600 Arizonans behind in rent.

“The short-term fix doesn’t address the main, structural problems that are facing renters and landlords — which is really a cash flow situation,” Glynn said.

Remember, landlords are behind in their mortgages, too.

The Zillow survey of non-current renters found 20% say they are “very likely,” to be evicted once the moratorium ends, while 47.5% say they are “somewhat likely.”

Glynn encourages both sides to make plans beyond the eviction moratorium – which could be the last one if COVID-19 infection rates continue to drop.

That would mean renters finding the cash to become current, knowing that landlords can evict them in favor of solvent tenants.

But those two sides cannot bargain alone.

“Going forward, it’s going to take cooperation from landlords and renters, and policy makers and financial institutions to prevent an eviction crisis,” Glynn said.

Arizona’s unemployment rate sits at 6.9%. Restaurants, tourism and the service industry are still recovering.

But Glynn says it’s too early to jump to a homelessness crisis because all parties have three months to negotiate and finalize deals.

Maricopa County has an extra $46 million for rent and utility assistance for residents who can prove COVID-19 hardships. Human Services Director Bruce Liggett says recipients of the past programs can apply for this one, too.

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Many Arizonans fear loss of their home when eviction moratorium ends