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Community Legal Aid: Don’t ignore eviction notice

Attorney advises renters as fed moratorium is set to expire at month’s end

As a federal moratorium on evictions is expected to end this month, a Community Legal Aid attorney is warning people who are served eviction notices not to ignore them.

Instead, they should start working quickly with their landlords and with assistance agencies to secure their housing.

Andrew D. Neuhauser, managing attorney for Community Legal Aid, said the Joe Biden administration has given no indiction the federal moratorium will be extended past June 30.

“Those subject to those protections may be facing eviction if they don’t take steps to prevent that from happening,” Neuhauser said.

It is important to act quickly, he said.

“The first thing they should do is get in contact with the landlord. If they missed payments over the last 16 months or so, get in contact about payments,” Neuhauser said.

If tenants lack the money to pay the bill off, they should not get intimidated and avoid the situation, he said.

Trumbull County Action Program and Mahoning-Youngstown Community Action Partnership offer financial assistance, but acting quickly to secure the assistance is important, he said. Call 330-393-2507 for TCAP and 330-747-7921 for MYCAP.

“Reach out as quickly as possible. They have a lot of applications to handle, so they should start the process as soon as possible to get the process going,” he said.

He also said people should keep the landlord in the loop.

“Let the landlord know what is going on, and let them know you are borrowing money from family, about to get back to work, or you’re getting financial assistance,” Neuhauser said.

The landlord may avoid taking action and work with the tenant, instead of moving to evict, he said.

Neuhauser said he is concerned about a possible “wave of evictions.”

“There are a few things going on at the same time. There has been an eviction moratorium in public housing for a while, so once that is lifted, there may be a lot of evictions because of a backlog, and with private landlords, too. Some have been hesitant to go through with evictions and may have put them on hold. But now, there is probably a backlog that could make things difficult for all involved in the eviction process,” Neuhauser said.

Anyone who has received an eviction notice can call Community Legal Aid at 800-998-9454 or apply for services online at www.communitylegalaid.org. Depending on eligibility and case circumstances, people can receive legal advice or find representation with the organization.

The moratorium has been helpful to many, but also made it more difficult to find a rental, Neuhauser said.

“With the moratorium in place, people have fewer options for finding a place. It made it more difficult to find new housing when they need to find new housing. And rent is increasing because there is a more restrictive supply and larger demand for rental housing,” he said.

Above all, acting quickly to receive assistance and communication with the landlord is important, he said.

“Act quickly if you get an eviction notice or lawsuit. The worst thing you can do is ignore the situation or hide from bad news. Act as quickly as possible,” Neuhauser said.

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