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  • What Tenants Need to Know During COVID-19

    Eviction Protection logo The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a national moratorium on evictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, effective Sept. 4 through Dec. 31, 2020. Tenants need to meet certain criteria to qualify for eviction protection, and they are required to act in order to receive it, by filling out this CDC form and delivering it to their landlord.

    The receipt of the form prevents an eviction from being initiated against the tenant, or halts an eviction process that is underway.

    This action ensures renters impacted by COVID-19 will be able to stay in their homes while extending the time to access rental assistance programs. But the tenant is still responsible for all of the rent due and must follow all the other terms of the lease.


    UPDATES

    --The County partnered with the Community Investment Corporation (CIC) to distribute $3,625,000 to prevent evictions related to COVID-19. If landlords have initiated an eviction process via 5-day notice, court filing, etc. and have documented proof, they will be able to initiate the funding process on behalf of their tenants to get those tenants current on payments. Landlords: Look for a link to this website portal on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

    --The City of Tucson approved $3 million in CARES Act funds on Sept. 22 for rental/utility assistance. We will post any links to City of Tucson programs when they are available.

    APPLY for Rental Assistance

    You can apply for rental assistance through state, city, county or nonprofit programs. See below for more potential rental (and utility) assistance programs.

    A good place to start is the Pima County Community Action Agency’s (CAA) COVID-19 Rental Eviction Assistance program. This program may provide rent up to a maximum of $2,000 per month, for multiple months if needed. The payment goes directly to the landlord.

    Apply online at housing.az.gov or call toll free 2-1-1 to apply via telephone or for assistance in completing the application. You will need:
    • Your state-issued photo I.D.
    • A copy of your current lease
    • Documents proving the crisis that caused you to get behind on your rent
    NOTE: Incomplete applications can NOT be processed, so be sure all your documents are uploaded. If you also need utility assistance, let the CAA staff person know when you are contacted.

    FAQs on rental assistance from the Arizona Department of Housing

    After you apply

    After you apply via the ADOH, CAA staffers can answer questions regarding the status of an application, provide forms that are required for processing, offer direction and assistance to submit pending information, and direct applicants to other resources. Call their hotline at 520-724-2505.

    Other rent/utility assistance

    Contact the Pima County Community Action Agency at 520-724-2667 for non-COVID-related rent, mortgage and utility assistance (Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30-10:30 a.m.). For additional mortgage support and foreclosure assistance, contact the Pima County Housing Center (EL Banco) at 520-724-2460.

    Due to COVID-19, many agencies are offering video/telephone meetings. You may also qualify for utility or other assistance for which additional documents will be required.

    Contact one of these Pima County Emergency Services Network agencies:
    Ajo (Ariz.), ONLY: International Sonoran Desert Alliance, (520) 387-3570

    Legal help

    Video, Telephonic and Court Appearance Instructions

    AZLawHelp.org: Landlord and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities
    AZLawHelp.org: Understanding the Arizona Residential Landlord And Tenant Act (A.R.S. Title 33 Chapter 10)
    To find a food pantry near you: text FOOD or COMIDA to 877877 or visit the Community Food Bank’s website.

    Meals for children under 18: call AZ Hunger Hotline (602) 528-3434 or (800) 445-1914

    Information on job leads, job training or help navigating unemployment benefits: call the Pima County Dislocated Worker Hotline at (520) 724-5735 or go to www.PimaWorks.com

    Arizona Department of Economic Security: Apply for unemployment insurance and other financial assistance

    Understanding the eviction process

    Office Depot, OfficeMax, and Staples are offering free services if you need to copy, scan, or fax documents.

    More resources/information

    ArizonaTogether.org
    Ending Poverty Now
    Pima County COVID-19 Health Information
    Pima County Regional Resources
    Arizona has a moratorium on COVID-19 related evictions until Oct. 31, 2020. In some rare cases, a tenant may be covered by the state and NOT the CDC moratorium. For example, tenants are not covered by the CDC action if the landlord simply doesn’t want to renew the lease, although the tenant IS covered by the state moratorium.

    You must take the following actions to delay the eviction under the state moratorium:

    1. Notify your landlord or property owner using this form at jp.pima.gov and provide in writing supporting documentation of your ongoing financial hardship as result of COVID-19.

    2. Request a payment plan from your landlord. Here is a form that can help you complete the plan.

    3. Apply for rental assistance through a state, city, county or nonprofit program and provide your landlord or property owner a copy of the completed application along with any available supporting documentation.

    4. Keep and provide a copy of all this information to the constable, law enforcement officer, or court, if requested.
    • If you mail your letter to the address for your landlord on your lease, registered mail is best.
    • If you hand-deliver it to your landlord or property manager, take a photo or have someone witness you delivering the letter. Some courts will accept email proof, so keep a copy of any emails you sent.
    • Ask your landlord/property manager if they received it and keep a copy of the answer.
    5. Tape a copy of the letter inside your window so it can be seen from the front door. Write your phone number on it so a constable can call, if needed. Take a photo showing you can see it from your front door.

    Your landlord can’t force you out of your home; only a county constable or sheriff can. If your landlord files an eviction in court, you still need to appear at the hearing by phone or in person.

    *If you live in a property protected under the CARES Act, your landlord can not include any fees or penalties for the period from March 25 to July 25. You can check if your property is covered at these websites:

    Forms

    NOTIFICATION TO LANDLORD
    The letter every tenant needs to submit to the landlord required under the new Executive Order.

    GENERIC PAYMENT PLAN
    A template for a payment plan that every tenant is required to ask for under the new Executive Order.

    TENANT CHECKLIST
    A helpful tool to make sure that you’ve taken all necessary steps to protect yourself under the new Executive Order.

    MOTION TO RESPOND
    The form required to complete and file with the Justice Court if you seek to overturn an eviction order.

    NEW EO EXPLAINED
    An important overview of how the Executive Order works and what you need to know to prevent an eviction.
    The Tucson Pima Collaboration to End Homelessness and City of Tucson Housing & Community Development have published an updated Resource Guide for People Experiencing Homelessness During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

    Find information regarding health amid COVID-19, and contacts for:

    • Emergency Shelter
    • Coordinated Entry (Housing Assessment)
    • Day Centers
    • Meals
    • Food Bags and Emergency Food Assistance
    • Medical and Behavioral Health Care
    • Overdose Prevention and Treatment
    • Resources for Military Veterans
    • Domestic Violence Resources
    • Resources for People Living with HIV/AIDS
    From Gov. Doug Ducey:

    If you are a landlord or property owner, and you are struggling to pay your bills due to late payments from your tenants, here are steps you need to take:
    1. Open up a dialogue with your tenant. Communicate that you want to work with them, and establish a payment plan. Waive any late fees.
    2. Share with your tenants the resources that are available to them, if they are struggling to pay rent. The state has developed a resource guide for rental assistance programs. If they are experiencing unemployment, the Department of Economic Security has developed a guide for navigating resources available.
    3. Work with tenants who are financially struggling due to COVID-19 by offering payment plans.
    4. If your tenant is not immediately responsive, keep trying. Keep a record of your attempts to communicate with your tenant.
    We expect all landlords and property owners to work with their tenants to establish fair and reasonable payment plans, and to share the resources available to tenants.

    * * *

    The Rental Property Owner Preservation Fund (RPOPF), established by the Governor’s Office, provided $5 million in assistance to rental property owners across the State of Arizona who were facing rental income issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A property does not have to be at risk of foreclosure in order to be eligible for this funding. The program is closed but check back for more funding opportunities from the state.

    More resources

    Frequently Asked Questions

    HOW do I prove I applied for rental assistance?

    Apply for rental assistance as soon as possible. The application does not need to be accepted. You must have written proof the application was completed, not just started. If you do not receive a confirming email that your application was completed, reach out to the governmental agency or nonprofit and ask for written confirmation.

    HOW do I prove I attempted to enter a payment plan with the landlord?

    Propose a payment plan that you can afford, in writing, to your landlord as soon as possible. The landlord does not need to accept your proposed plan in order for the delay to be granted. Here is a template for a payment plan.

    CAN the landlord still file for an eviction?

    Yes, the landlord can still go to court and get a judgment against you. Remember, the EO did not stop the eviction process, it only delays the constable or sheriff from removing you from your residence. Providing notice to the landlord/property manager keeps the constable or sheriff from evicting you until August 22. After August 21, you have additional requirements:
    1. Re-notify your landlord of your COVID-19 related hardship and provide any available supporting documentation;
    2. Written proof you completed an application for rental assistance from a city, county or state or nonprofit;
    3. A payment plan, or written proof you asked your landlord for a payment plan.
    The constable or sheriff will request to see all the documentation provided to your landlord. Keep careful records.

    WHAT if I didn’t receive a notice of the hearing?

    You can file a Motion to Reconsider or contact an attorney immediately. You have five days from the day of your hearing to act. See the Legal Resources tab for free legal assistance.

    WHAT is a Motion to Compel and what should I do if my landlord files one

    A motion to compel is a request to Court from the landlord/property manager to compel the constable or sheriff to remove you from your home regardless of your circumstance. If a motion is filed, the court will set a hearing and you will be notified of the court date. It is important that you attend the hearing and show the court your notice to the landlord and all of your documentation concerning your COVID-19 circumstance.
    • You may also want to seek legal advice and/or representation. See the Legal Resources tab for free legal assistance.

    WHAT happens once the judge rules on the Motion to Compel?

    If the judge rules in your favor, you will continue to receive a delay in the enforcement of your eviction. If the judge rules for the landlord, the sheriff or constable can return to your residence within 24-48 hours to lock you out.

    If the judge rules against you, you can file a motion to respond. Complete this form and file it with the court immediately. You may only have 24 to 48 hours to do so. Be sure to include in your statement why you should be able to stay in your home or apartment. Be sure to attach all the related documentation noted at the beginning of this FAQ. You should make every attempt to seek legal advice.

    WHO will request to see the notice?

    If the court, constable, or sheriff requests to see the notice and documentation provided to your landlord, you must show them the notice and documentation. If the constable or sheriff still intends to lock you out of the property, you may want to contact an attorney immediately.

    WHAT am I responsible for if I have a delayed eviction?

    You are still responsible for all monthly payments of rent and late fees. If rent is refused by the landlord/property manager, save it for future payment as long as you remain in the property. Document all of your efforts to pay monthly rent. Remember, you are still obligated to comply with the law and your lease for as long as you and your family reside in the property.

    More FAQs from the Arizona Department of Housing

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