Counties Urge Pause in Evictions Cases to Receive ERAP Assistance

On February 16, 2022, Associate Policy Director D’Paul Nibber testified before the House Judicial Proceedings and Environment and Transportation Committees in support of HB 691 – Landlord and Tenant and Wrongful Detainer Actions – Eviction Prevention Services. This bill requires the court to grant a recess or a continuance in certain evictions related proceedings, including for the purpose of obtaining eviction prevention services.

From the MACo testimony

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and its associated economic effects, the potential for tenant evictions has threatened to compound our communities’ diffculties. To stabilize the housing market, counties have been relied upon to distribute federal emergency rental assistance to qualified tenants experiencing financial distress. County agencies have worked diligently to ensure this assistance is provided in a timely manner. A total of over 70,000 applications for rental assistance have been processed with over 40,000 households having received assistance.

Unfortunately, state and federal guidelines regarding payment distribution record-keeping, evidence of rental arrangements, and collection of qualifying income documentation contributed to recent delays in assistance payments. In recent months, counties have increased the efficiency and timeliness of their emergency rental assistance programs, yet eviction filings concerning tenants eligible for assistance persist.

MACo testified on the bill’s crossfile, SB 564, on February 22, 2022.

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