In support of National Consumer Protection Week 2021, the Receivables Management Association International (RMAI) provides the following information. Additional information on this topic and more is available online from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Visit RMAI’s webpage for Consumers for more National Consumer Protection Week articles — like finding help for mortgage payments.
If you are having trouble making rent payments because of the coronavirus pandemic, you are not alone. Fortunately, federal, state, and local governments are taking action to offer relief and protect renters from eviction. Keep in mind that even if you are protected from eviction, you are still responsible for payment your rent on time. If you fall behind on rent or are not sure if you can pay your rent on time, you may want to apply for help with housing costs and talk to your landlord.
Remember, you can still be evicted for reasons other than nonpayment of rent. This includes breaking other agreements in your lease, violating the rules where you live, or engaging in criminal activity. If you believe your rent should be reduced or set-off because of repairs or other housing problems, be careful not to sign away any rights.
CARES Act Protections for Renters
Most tenant protections under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act have expired. But some protections may still help. If the CARES Act applies to you, your landlord cannot:
- Collect late fees or other charges solely because you did not pay rent between March 27 and July 24, 2020, or
- Evict you for not paying those late fees or charges.
Under the CARES Act, your landlord can still collect fees and charges from before March 27 or after July 24, 2020. If you live in a building with five or more units, or an VA Real Estate Owned property, and your landlord has a federally backed mortgage and is getting CARES Act mortgage forbearance relief, you cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent. Learn more about protections for renters when your landlord is getting mortgage relief.
These CARES Act protections may still help if:
- You receive federal rental assistance from a voucher or grant program
- You or your landlord receive assistance through federally subsidized housing programs
- Your rental home or apartment building has a federally backed mortgage
Even without the challenges of a pandemic, falling behind on the rent can happen for many reasons. The sudden loss of a job, the needs of an aging parent, car repairs and hospital bills can all make paying the rent second in priority. If you find yourself in one of these unforeseeable situations, and you think you may need a lawyer, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers resources for how to find an attorney in your state.
About the Bureau
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives.
About Receivables Management Association International:
Receivables Management Association International (RMAI) is a nonprofit trade association representing more than 550 companies that purchase or support the purchase of performing and nonperforming receivables on the secondary market. The Receivables Management Certification Program and Code of Ethics set the global standard within the receivables industry due to the rigorous uniform standards of best practice which focus on the protecting consumers. More information about RMAI is available at www.rmaintl.org.