WHITEWATER TOWNSHIP, Ohio — CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified that the Barger's mobile home was in Cleves, when it is in Whitewater Township. WCPO regrets the error.
The latest pandemic aid package, just passed by Congress and President Donald Trump, is supposed to extend the moratorium on evictions through Jan. 31, 2021.
But many people are still facing eviction as 2020 ends, forced to move out of their rental home or apartment on New Year's Eve in some cases.
That is not how anyone wants to spend the holidays.
Family gets Christmas week eviction
Amanda Barger's life's belongings are on the sidewalk, outside her mobile home in Whitewater Township, Ohio.
"Every single thing is out here," she said. "Everything from the kids' bedrooms to the kitchen and everything. All my stuff's out here, and it will either go to storage, or people will all take it."
This mom of four and her husband have been unable to pay rent for several months.
"He was sick with COVID," she says of her husband, "and lost his job."
But Barger says her mobile home park, Westbrook Village in Whitewater Township, was able to get a court order to force them out, and told us that maintenance crews removed her and her family's possessions Tuesday morning.
WCPO read the Hamilton County court order that shows they owe $3,200 in unpaid rent and late fees over the past six months.
"I know this is a business, and you have to pay your own way, but they could have a little kindness," she said.
The federal CARES Act prohibits most evictions from rental homes and apartment buildings.
Eviction moratorium has many loopholes
But mobile homes fall into a category of their own, because in many cases you don't rent the home but instead rent the land.
And land rental is not covered in the eviction moratorium, allowing park owners to force tenants out.
Experts say that's just one of many loopholes in the pandemic aid law.
Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval told WCPO's Larry Seward that landlords filed more than 200 evictions in the county since November 1st, and in many cases the law is not preventing landlords from forcing tenants out.
"This is not an eviction moratorium. If you are a tenant, you can still be evicted right now for things other than failure to pay rent," Pureval said.
The pandemic moratorium specifically requires renters to be suffering pandemic-related hardship (not just out of work), and to be applying for government aid.
Barger's four children are now safe at their grandmother's house, she says, but she has no place for her two dogs.
We called the managers of the mobile home park to ask why the Bargers can't have more time to pay their back rent, but have yet to receive a return call.
And so despite attempts to help people suffering job loss and pay cuts this year, another family is falling through the cracks of this seemingly endless pandemic.
As always, don't waste your money.
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