Last week Gov. Ned Lamont extended the moratorium on evictions until Oct. 1 due to the ongoing financial strife caused by the coronavirus pandemic. But landlords say they’re left footing the bill and the burden of tenants who aren’t making the rent.
“They’re not getting paid and there’s nothing they can do about it,” said John Souza, head of the Connecticut Coalition of Property Owners. “So even if a person is intentionally not paying there’s nothing they can do about it. I would say about half aren’t paying intentionally.”
Souza says things aren’t going well for many landlords who have tenants who haven’t paid them since March.
“They haven’t been paid in five, six, seven months. There’s nothing they can do about it. How long would you work your job if you weren’t getting paid? They’re making us work and we’re not getting paid,” Souza said.
Small landlords have been hit even harder.
“The governor is making these declarations and the people are taking advantage of it,” Terry Waller said.
Waller says two of his five tenants are not paying.
“I still have to pay my taxes and pay my mortgage so how am I supposed to do that?” Waller said.
Even though Lamont increased the amount of rental assistance to $20 million, it’s not enough, according to some landlords.
“We still estimate that that’s only going to help a total of 5,000 tenants and we know that the need is much greater than that,” said Erin Kemple, executive director of the Connecticut Fair Housing Center.
Kemple says estimates show that when the moratorium ends there will be more than 100,000 households in Connecticut unable to pay the rent and will be at risk of eviction.
“Right now the courts don’t operate. Even if they did operate fully as they’re supposed to today, the line would be so long because they’ve been closed for five months there’s nothing you can do,” Souza said.
Landlords say they want to work with their tenants.
“Landlords don’t want to get rid of tenants,” Rick Bush, a landlord, said. “They don’t want to evict their tenants. They want their tenants to have good paying jobs and keep the places nice and we want to keep our tenants for as long as possible. It’s not in the best interest of landlords to evict their tenants -- it’s absolutely not.”