Help Is Still Available for Tenants, Landlords After Eviction Moratorium Expires
By Jackie Ourada , Morning Edition Host & Reporter Nebraska Public Media
Aug. 3, 2021, 3:30 p.m. ·
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With the federal moratorium on evictions expiring over the weekend, landlords can now act on tenants who haven't been paying rent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Evictions were still active during the COVID-19 pandemic, but many were slowed by the federal moratorium put into place to protect tenants who couldn't make rent.
Monday through Thursday, landlords, tenants and their lawyers shuffle into Courtroom 21 at the Lancaster County Courthouse to discuss eviction notices. Abby Kunst is one attorney with the Housing Justice Project with Legal Aid of Nebraska, who helps tenants facing evictions. She said most tenants she's seen this week are just waiting on rental assistance funds.
"I've gotten fortunate in my cases where I had rental assistance applications pending. It was just a matter of waiting for the process. On the rental assistance project in Lincoln -- it does work," Kunst said.
"The problem that we face is just a timing issue. There are so many applicants that they deal with at one time, and you can only process so much information in a short amount of time. Landlords -- some are willing to wait out the process. They've used the process. They know the process works, and they trust it. Other landlords -- they get tired of waiting, so they would rather just proceed."
Kunst said most evictions are brought forth by private landlords typically represented by private lawyers.
"Landlords want their money, and tenants want to pay their rent. Tenants don't like being behind on rent, because it puts them in an incredibly vulnerable position," Kunst said.
The Legal Aid of Nebraska said it will have staff at eviction court hearings for those who show up needing assistance or representation, but it’s best to call the organization before the hearing date.
"Absolutely call an attorney. That's the best advice we can give. And right now the rental assistance application is still open, and in Lincoln, we're fortunate enough to have it online," she said.
Both tenants and landlords can find those assistance links here.