Landlords, rental assistance leaders prepare for eviction moratorium to end

Renters are hoping for another extension of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium, but some landlords say enough is enough.The current moratorium was extended until June 30 back in March.Throughout the past year, local organizations have stepped across Iowa to help renters stay in their homes. The Polk County Housing Trust Fund is one organization that knows the mission all too well. “We used about $1.7 million in rental assistance that covered a little over 1,000 families,” explained executive director Eric Burmeister. The money was given first by Polk County and soon after by private donors. Burmeister’s team would intervene at eviction hearings and pay off what tenants owed from the months of September to near the end of February. They would also take the time to help educate renters on where to go for assistance and how to get back on their feet. Burmeister says now with IMPACT having an application for emergency rental funding, his team helps connect them with the organization.Something that Burmeister says became apparent over the last few months as federal aid became available for landlords, was that landlords became more agreeable to using the federal program.It’s a fact that doesn’t come as a surprise to Andrew Lietzow, the executive director of the Iowa Landlord Association. “These are people that are committed to running professional businesses,” said Lietzow. In addition to being the executive director, Lietzow was once a landlord himself. He says they don’t want to evict renters, but notes some are facing a tough choice. “Banks aren’t forgiving landlords of their responsibility to make payments,” explained Lietzow. “They’re just pushing them out to the back.” A report by the National Equity Atlas shows about 14% of U.S. renters are behind on their rent. Back in August, Lietzow sent out a survey across Iowa to landlords who are members of the association. He says the findings then still ring true: about 16% of landlords said their tenants were behind on payments. Now he’s seeing some landlords have to sell their properties. It’s an issue he believes will impact both landlords and prospective renters in the future. “It’s going to create a housing problem because they’re going to want to sell off rental properties to somebody else,” explained Lietzow. “But a lot of them — they’re going to be sold to owner-occupants.”

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Renters are hoping for another extension of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium, but some landlords say enough is enough.

The current moratorium was extended until June 30 back in March.

Throughout the past year, local organizations have stepped across Iowa to help renters stay in their homes. The Polk County Housing Trust Fund is one organization that knows the mission all too well.

“We used about $1.7 million in rental assistance that covered a little over 1,000 families,” explained executive director Eric Burmeister.

The money was given first by Polk County and soon after by private donors. Burmeister’s team would intervene at eviction hearings and pay off what tenants owed from the months of September to near the end of February. They would also take the time to help educate renters on where to go for assistance and how to get back on their feet.

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Burmeister says now with IMPACT having an application for emergency rental funding, his team helps connect them with the organization.

Something that Burmeister says became apparent over the last few months as federal aid became available for landlords, was that landlords became more agreeable to using the federal program.

It’s a fact that doesn’t come as a surprise to Andrew Lietzow, the executive director of the Iowa Landlord Association.

“These are people that are committed to running professional businesses,” said Lietzow.

In addition to being the executive director, Lietzow was once a landlord himself. He says they don’t want to evict renters, but notes some are facing a tough choice.

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“Banks aren’t forgiving landlords of their responsibility to make payments,” explained Lietzow. “They’re just pushing them out to the back.”

A report by the National Equity Atlas shows about 14% of U.S. renters are behind on their rent.

Back in August, Lietzow sent out a survey across Iowa to landlords who are members of the association. He says the findings then still ring true: about 16% of landlords said their tenants were behind on payments. Now he’s seeing some landlords have to sell their properties. It’s an issue he believes will impact both landlords and prospective renters in the future.

“It’s going to create a housing problem because they’re going to want to sell off rental properties to somebody else,” explained Lietzow. “But a lot of them — they’re going to be sold to owner-occupants.”



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