NPR Covers Landlord Pandemic Issues

This morning NPR released a story describing the pressures and issues that landlords have been facing.  The story covers one small landlord's situation, but it is one that we have heard time and time again from Vermont landlords.  Please share your stories with us.


More Information

Utility Assistance Programs - 8/23/2021

The Department of Public Service has a variety of Utility Assistance Programs available for people and businesses who need assistance with utility payments.

For Tenants - the application and process for Utility Assistance is through VERAP.

For Landlords/Homeowners/Businesses - there is the Vermont COVID-19 Arrearage Assistance Program for 2021 (VCAAP II).

There are also programs for Broadband, Utility Discounts, and more.  Information can be found here on all the Utility Programs. 


More Information

**UPDATED ** CDC Eviction Moratorium - 8/27/2021

On August 26, 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) struck down the CDC eviction Moratorium because it exceeded the authority of the CDC.  The Supreme Court indicated that only Congress could authorize an eviction moratorium.

SCOTUS Decision

News Summary of the Decision

******************************************************************************


Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) re-instated and extended the Federal Eviction Moratorium through October 3, 2021.
 
The federal moratorium works a bit differently than the Vermont moratorium.  The couple of quick take aways (more details below):
  1. Only applies to nonpayment of rent evictions
  2. The Tenant must request coverage

 Of course, those are a very simplified version of what the CDC moratorium covers, more information is below.
 
 The Tenant has to request coverage under this moratorium.  This means they need to give the landlord a declaration form, which is currently not available on the CDC website.  When it does go back up, it will be here:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-eviction-declaration.html.  The tenant can opt to send their own version, but it has to have all the same declarations and signature under penalty of perjury.
  1. If a landlord has not received a declaration, then they can continue with notices or filing with the court for nonpayment cases
  2. One of the required declarations is that the tenant is exhausting all rental assistance avenues – so they have to be actively applying for VERAP.
If the case or notice is for breach of lease and/or no cause the federal moratorium does not impact cases for those types of notices.
The CDC Moratorium only applies to those counties experiencing substantial or high transmission rates.  The map can be found here: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view  NOTE: Vermont is now up to 5 counties with substantial transmission, including Chittenden County.
The landlord does have the ability to challenge the Declaration – this could come up if you believe that the tenant has not actually applied to VERAP or is not being truthful on their declaration.
If you would like to read the full 19 page order, it is here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/Signed-CDC-Eviction-Order.pdf
 
The Association also understands that VERAP has time limit on Tenant Applications.  This means that if a Tenant does not complete their application (including uploading all the documents required) within 30 days, their application will be denied. 
 
As cases start to move through the courts, and declarations start being submitted this page will update with any new information.
 


New Rental Assistance Program Funded (2/12/2021)

The Legislature has approved $110 million for emergency rental assistance.  The new rental assistance programwill look different than the RHSP from 2020.

There are decent summaries of the main program requirements here: 

https://vtdigger.org/2021/02/11/lawmakers-approve-nearly-100-million-for-pandemic-rental-assistance/

 https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2021/02/11/lawmakers-set-aside-110-million-for-new-rental-assistance-program

 Vermont State Housing Authority anticipates 4-6 weeks before the program is operational.  When the program launch date becomes known, it will be posted.

VT Landlord should also know soon if the mediation program is being funded.  This means another resource for landlords and tenants while the moratorium is in effect.