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Arizona Eviction Moratorium Expires Oct. 31, But Tenants May Qualify For CDC Eviction Protection

Arizona’s moratorium on evictions during the pandemic expires Oct. 31. The CDC’s nationwide eviction moratorium will remain in place until the end of the year, but tenants need to be proactive if they want to claim that protection.

Even with the CDC order in place, Pam Bridge, director of litigation and advocacy with Community Legal Services, expects to see more evictions in Arizona with the expiration of the state order.

“I believe that we will see an increase of motions filed on Monday, which means that there is going to be an increase of tenants who are evicted from their homes,” Bridge said. "I think it's something we should all worry about, because we're still in a pandemic. Tenants evicted from their homes is a health hazard for landlords, tenants, all of us." 

To qualify under the  CDC’s order, renters must meet income requirements, show they’ve suffered financial hardship, make best efforts to apply for housing assistance, make partial rent payments if possible, and meet other requirements. Bridge said even if they’ve given their landlord a written declaration to qualify for the state’s order, tenants must also give their landlords a  declaration of the CDC requirements signed by all adults on the lease as soon as possible.

“These tenants may begin to be locked out next week. So it’s really important that those tenants, if they qualify under the CDC order, give their landlords a CDC declaration,” Bridge said.  

Multiple  rental assistance programs are available in Arizona through the state, counties, cities, and nonprofits. Arizona also has  resources available to rental property owners to prevent foreclosure. 

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The Show also spoke with KJZZ's Katherine Davis-Young for more details about the eviction situation in Arizona.

LAUREN GILGER: OK, so what does this mean for Arizona renters? Even with the CDC's moratorium on this as well, should we expect this to result in more evictions without this kind of state protection.

KATHERINE DAVIS-YOUNG: Well, for Arizona renters, if they were protected under Gov. Ducey's order and they showed their landlord that they met those state requirements, there's basically now another step for them. They need to now give another written declaration to the landlord outlining the CDC requirements. It's a sittle — similar set of qualifications, but tenants do need to show they qualify for the CDC order if they want to get this protection through Dec. 31. But the issue is, that's all very confusing. And if tenants don't give their landlord that CDC declaration, their landlord could file for eviction. So I've spoken with Community Legal Services, which is a nonprofit that works on this kind of case, and they said that they do expect to see an increase of eviction filings now that the state order is done.

GILGER: So who qualifies for this CDC protection?

DAVIS-YOUNG: Renters need to meet certain income requirements. They need to have an income below a certain amount. They need to show that they've suffered financial hardship, make their best efforts to apply for housing assistance, make partial rent payments if possible, and they need to meet a few other requirements as well. And all this needs to be sworn on a CDC declaration form, which the CDC has on its website. And every adult on the lease needs to sign that. And that all needs to be done as soon as possible.

GILGER: OK, so on the other side of this, what have landlords had to say about this moratorium throughout it here in the state? Like, have they been able to keep up their businesses as well?

DAVIS-YOUNG: Yeah, landlords are struggling as well. For many landlords, that rent money is their livelihood. So if tenants can't pay, that can be very hard on them. So there is assistance out there for rental property owners in Arizona as well. In fact, just last week, Gov. Ducey added another $5 million to the state's assistance program for landlords, which doubled the original budget for that program.

GILGER: So even as the state has seen this kind of economic growth — the recovery that we are in at this moment — it's been uneven. We've heard many times now that this has left those at the bottom of the economic spectrum behind in many ways. What kind of broader implications could this have, have for those who are still struggling to pay rent, to find employment at this point in the recovery?

DAVIS-YOUNG: Yeah. If people have lost income in Arizona, they're in a tougher position than they would be basically anywhere else in the country. Our maximum unemployment benefit is just $240 a week — that's the second lowest in the country. And we know that in the Phoenix area, the average rent price is higher than that. These moratoriums really only delay evictions. They don't take away that rent burden. So if people aren't able to pay rent, those bills are just piling up. And housing advocates particularly worry about the issue of eviction because that's something that stays with you. If you have a record of a past eviction, it can be much harder to find a place to live in the future.

GILGER: Right. All right. Much more to watch for there. That is KJZZ's Katherine Davis-Young joining us this morning. Katie, thank you so much for your reporting on this.

DAVIS-YOUNG: Thank you.

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Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.