$5M Fund to Help Arizona Landlords Runs Out of Money in Just Over 30 Days

Article originally posted on AZ Central on September 14, 2020

A rental sign is posted in front of an apartment complex Tuesday, July 14, 2020, in Phoenix.

A $5 million Arizona fund to help landlords hurt by COVID-19 and eviction bans is out of money.

In just over 30 days, the Rental Property Owner Preservation Fund has committed to pay 458 Arizona landlords money to cover tenants’ missed rent payments, according to the Arizona Housing Department.

The landlord aid was launched after Arizona’s eviction moratorium was extended.

The landlord funds were tapped days after a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eviction ban, which will keep most renters in their homes until 2021, went into effect.

Struggling Arizona landlords still can receive help from about $78 million left in state and local renter-aid programs.

More help needed

Arizona landlord advocates say the current renter-aid programs aren’t enough.

“Our economic analysis has shown that if only 1% of Arizona renters haven’t paid rent since the beginning of the Governor’s eviction moratorium, the lost income for property owners would be more than $87 million,” said Courtney Gilstrap LeVinus, CEO of the Multihousing Association.

She said landlords don’t want renters to be evicted during a pandemic, but they don’t have a moratorium on paying their bills.

About 32% of U.S. renters missed payments or made partial payments at the beginning of September, according to Apartment List.

That’s flat from May and June and down slightly from 35% in July and 34% in August. The research doesn’t break out payments by city or state.

In August, the Arizona Multihousing Association, the Manufactured Housing Communities of Arizona and several rental owners filed a lawsuit to stop the state’s eviction moratorium, saying it’s unconstitutional and violates apartment owners’ contracts with renters.

The case is pending at the Arizona Supreme Court.

Faster aid response

Arizona’s first fund to help renters and landlords, launched in late March right after the state’s eviction moratorium started, was initially slow getting out money.

About $3.7 million of the $5 million Rental Eviction Prevention Assistance Program, which is separate from the landlord fund that is now out of money, has gone to pay rents for 2,000 Arizona tenants struggling because of the pandemic.

“We have streamlined the Arizona Department of Housing program and provided additional funding for staffing to local Community Action Agencies to speed up delivery of state resources,” said Janelle Johnsen, a spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Housing.

Find Complete Article Here: https://www.azcentral.com/story/money/real-estate/catherine-reagor/2020/09/13/5-m-fund-help-arizona-landlords-runs-out-money/5764733002/