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Why you can still be evicted despite COVID moratorium

Woman thought CARES moratorium would cover her
Posted at 5:49 PM, Jan 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-08 21:17:21-05

CINCINNATI — The national moratorium on evictions was recently extended into this new year, to keep families suffering during the pandemic from ending up homeless.

Then why are so many renters still facing eviction?

That's what one Cincinnati woman wants to know.

Ayanna McClure got some bad news when she pulled up to her Avondale apartment one day this past fall.

Painters were taking everything out and putting in new locks.

"This is my apartment, and they changed the locks on me," she says in the Facebook video she recorded with her phone.

This health aide says she lost a month of work over the summer due to the pandemic, and had fallen behind on her rent.

"There was no way I could come up with $2,000 or $3,000," she said.

McClure, who is now staying in a local women's shelter, says she was evicted despite the CARES Act eviction moratorium.

"I guess the first day he could file for eviction, he did it," she said.

Many people facing eviction in pandemic

McClure is not alone.

Three days after Christmas, we found a sad scene in Cleves, where Amanda Barger and all her belongings had been tossed out of her rented mobile home.

"Where am I going to go now?" she asked. "I know this is a business, and you gotta pay your own way, but they could have a little kindness."

The good news for renters behind on their payments: the national moratorium on evictions under the CARES Act has been extended into the new year.

The bad news: there are many reasons why a landlord can still legally kick you out, according to Nick DiNardo of The Legal Aid Society of Cincinnati.

"Disturbing your neighbor, not keeping the apartment clean, those kinds of tenant duties, they can still proceed with eviction for these reasons," he said.

DiNardo says tenants need to know:

  • The eviction moratorium is not automatic.
  • The moratorium applies only to financial hardship, not eviction for damage, drug abuse, or being a nuisance.

"There are plenty of people who are being evicted right now, DiNardo said, among them, these two women.

In both cases, their landlord told us there were other reasons for their decision, besides late rent.

Finally, a landlord can still force you out at the end of your lease with 30 days' notice, for no reason at all. If you are on a month-to-month lease, he can ask you to move out after the next month if he wants to rehab or sell the building.

Facing eviction? Fill out that CDC form immediately, and present it to your landlord.

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