Protracted Rent Moratorium Forcing Small Landlords Out of Business

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Extended rent moratoriums and the slow distribution of billions in federal rent assistance are driving many small landlords to call it quits.

“Nobody wants to become a landlord anymore,” said Diane Baird, executive director of the Lake Erie Landlord Association. “And we have very few new people entering into the business.”

The Lake Erie Landlord Association represents landlords in northern Ohio, southern Michigan, and western Pennsylvania.

Jon Frickensmith, president of the South Wisconsin Landlord Association, told The Epoch Times, “Multiple landlords have told me they are selling out. They ask us how to get out of the business and how to get the tenants out of their houses. These are mom-and-pop operators, the kind of landlords that are willing to take tenants with bad credit or a criminal history. This will only add to the housing crisis.”

The vast majority of landlords in the United States are individuals, with most owning one or two rental houses.

In Michigan, more than $500 million dollars of federal pandemic emergency assistance funds remain unspent, with thousands of applications for aid mired in state and municipal bureaucracies.

“Everyone in the process agrees the application process is flawed. The problems created by the system are intensified for private owners,” Greg Stremers, an attorney in Port Huron, Michigan, told The Epoch Times.

“Many property owners are selling off their properties, creating an even deeper shortage of rental properties. When I process an eviction, the tenants are having difficulty finding a new place to live, which is driving rents higher.”

Stimulus Not Paying for Rentals

Stremers added that the system is “undeniably deficient,” pointing out that, of the $46 billion allocated by Congress in emergency rental assistance, only $3 billion has thus far been distributed to applicants nationwide by state and local agencies.

According to the U.S. Department of Treasury, states and municipalities have until Sept. 30 to disburse the funds or they may be reallocated.

The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eviction moratorium is set to expire on Oct. 3.

The National Equity Atlas estimates that American landlords are owed more than $21 billion in overdue rent.

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