How to Avoid Covid-19 Eviction in Maryland
During the pandemic the State of Maryland imposed a moratorium on evictions. That moratorium expired August 15, 2021. Landlords will be starting to evict tenants for not paying rent.
Read below to learn more about some of the alternative programs and services available to help you if you are behind in your rent. If the alternatives fail, you can file bankruptcy.
While tenants may want to work with their landlords, there is a good possibility the rent arrears are just too significant to pay. Often, after paying rent and bills there is nothing left. Rent is usually the biggest bill and is often more than $1,500 to $2,000 a month.
If you have not paid rent for a year, chances are you owe your landlord more than $20,000 – and have no way to catch up.
Here are some of the alternatives to filing bankruptcy.
RENT RELIEF PROGRAM
There are a few things that you can do. If you live in Montgomery County, you should apply for the Covid-19 Rent Relief Program. This program is paying out more than $2,000,000 in grants each week Here’s the link
When you access the relief program you will be asked to complete an application. The program will provide up to $12,000 to eligible households. To be eligible for the program you must have suffered a decrease in income due to Covid-19.
There is additional help for residents who earn in the bottom 30% bracket. If you fit into this category, you should apply for assistance. The website established by Montgomery County provides a series of frequently asked questions and the answers.
HOUSING INITIATIVE PARTNERSHIP
Don’t despair if you do not qualify. There are also other efforts undertaken by your local government to help keep you in your home. There is a Zoom meeting being conducted by a housing initiative partnership. You can participate by phone at 301-715-8592 or go to Zoom.com and enter these credentials – Meeting ID: 982 288 5774; Passcode 2021). Learn more here.
WORK WITH MARYLAND LEGAL AID
If the eviction process has started, and you have a court date – go to court prepared. There will be attorneys from Maryland Legal Aide there to help you. Bring proof of loss of income due to the pandemic. You can will need proof that the income you earned in 2019 – before the pandemic was more than you earned in 2020 during the pandemic. You should also bring proof of your current income.
If all fails, you don’t qualify for relief, your landlord will not work with you so that you can remain in your home, and legal aid was not able to help, then file bankruptcy.
FILING BANKRUPTCY WILL TEMPORARILY HALT THE EVICTION PROCESS.
However, you will want to consult with a bankruptcy attorney to determine whether bankruptcy is the right option. Bankruptcy is the right option when there is no other better alternative.
Bankruptcy will wipe out your rent arrears – but you will lose your apartment. In the alternative, you could file a Chapter 13, and you may be able to negotiate a payment option. If you have substantial rental arrears, find out from your landlord whether he will work with you, and how. If you cannot reach a compromise you can afford, check out the options above.
If all fails – call us.
Additionally, here are some interesting statistics around Covid effect on personal bankruptcies: After the Covid-19 onset, personal bankruptcies decreased:
- Chapter 13 filings are down 55-65% less than 2019
- Chapter 7 filings are down 20% as compared to 2019
However, large corporate business bankruptcies, on the other hand, have increased 200%
Talk to an experience bankruptcy attorney in Germantown
We have been helping clients understand their rights in bankruptcy and assisting them through the bankruptcy process for more than 30 years. Our team at Paré & Associates, LLC (formerly Law Office of Alice Paré) are experienced, compassionate and committed to helping you throughout your situation. Feel free to call us or visit us online to schedule an appointment.
Remember, rent arrears are unsecured debts – the type of debt that is forgiven in bankruptcy and allows you to have a fresh start.