Can Arizona Landlords Get Help During the Eviction Moratorium?

Will the Arizona High Court Overturn the Eviction Moratorium

In July, Governor Ducey extended the Arizona eviction moratorium until October 31, 2020. When the executive order was issued, the state’s COVID-19 numbers were high, and thousands of Arizonians were facing homelessness. For those struggling to pay their rent because of the pandemic, news of the extension was a relief. For landlords, however, the governor’s action meant more months without critical income. Recently, financially stressed rental owners were dealt another blow when news broke that a federal eviction ban will extend the moratorium time frame until 2021. The good news is that some assistance has been made available for the state?s property owners. Here is more on help for Arizona landlords during the eviction moratorium.

Why the Eviction Moratorium Isn?t Helping Enough ? ? ? ??

Although the state?s eviction moratorium was expected to assist those impacted by COVID-19, critics argue that tenants are not applying for available rental assistance funds or making efforts to pay for their housing. ?Patrik Ptak, spokesperson for Gov. Ducey, recently commented that “While there is nearly $90 million currently allocated for rental assistance throughout the state of Arizona, we heard from rental property owners that there was a portion of renters that were choosing not to seek out the rental assistance or engage in figuring out a payment plan.” When taken together with the issues that tenants have had accessing state support funds, many rental owners are not being paid.

Arizona Rental Property Owner Preservation Fund (RPOPR)

Last month the Arizona Department of Housing announced that Arizona landlords who have been financially impacted because their tenants have stopped paying rent due to COVID-19 could apply for up to $50,000 in assistance. The state allocated five million dollars for the effort through the Arizona Rental Property Owner Preservation Fund (RPOPR). This money is in addition to the five million set aside by the state in March for tenant assistance. Payments will be distributed to qualifying applicants on a first-come, first-served basis, and divided between small and large rental property owners.

Payments from the Fund

The fund application did not require that a landlord be near foreclosure to qualify. However, the applicant could not have received money from a rental assistance program or payment for a rental unit on their application. Eligible property owners could get up to five months of rent subsidies per tenant for April through August. Each payment must be equal to the tenant’s actual monthly rent or $2,000 per month, whichever is less. If a property owner later accepts a subsidy through a tenant assistance program, they must return the landlord assistance funding to the state within ten days. However, applications for the fund were only accepted through September 3, 2020, with a relatively short application window of only one month.

The Funds Were Not Enough to Cover Actual Costs

Although the fund was a positive step, some are concerned that it will not cover Arizona landlords’ actual costs. According to Courtney Gilstrap LeVinus, CEO of the Arizona Multihousing Association, the organizations? recent economic analysis showed that ?if only 1 percent of Arizona renters haven’t paid rent since the beginning of the Governor’s eviction moratorium, the lost income for property owners would be more than $87 million.? Gilstrap LeVinus went on to say, ?So a $5 million fund relief fund is a good start, but property owners need much more help, and they need it ASAP.? Others worry that rental owners will ?double-dip? and get money from landlord and tenant funds.

Therefore, while rental owners and their advocates view the fund as a good beginning, with the new federal eviction moratorium, realistically, more programs like the RPOPR are going to be necessary to support landlords.

When navigating through a real estate issue in Arizona, it?s critical that you have an experienced real estate attorney to protect your interests. Laura B. Bramnick is an experienced Arizona real estate attorney who can help you manage all aspects of your Arizona real estate matter. If you are seeking an exceptional, client-driven real estate lawyer in Phoenix and throughout the State of Arizona, contact Laura B. Bramnick to schedule your consultation.




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