Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a temporary order to stop evictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, this federal eviction moratorium had been extended several times, and on August 3, the CDC extended it again for counties where COVID cases are rapidly spreading. On August 26, 2021, the moratorium ended for everyone. Unless there is a local, state or county moratorium, renters now face the possibility of eviction if they still owe back rent. And on top of that, scammers can take advantage of the panic caused by this situation.
How might they do that? Scammers reach out to renters facing eviction, promising rental assistance and pretending to be with the government. When they contact renters, they ask for bank account and other personal information, saying that they need this information so they can transfer emergency rental assistance money directly into these accounts. But instead of depositing much-needed funds, they use the information to withdraw the little that’s left.
If you’re a renter facing eviction, there are several sites and services available to you:
- Connect with state and local organizations that are distributing federal rental assistance in their communities by visiting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB’s) new Rental Assistance Finder.
- Check with your local court system for more details about the eviction process and your rights as a tenant. You may also qualify for free legal services through your local legal aid organization.
Remember, never give out financial or personal information to anyone who contacts you, even if they’re promising to help you. Federal aid for emergency rental assistance was distributed to states, territories, and other localities. If someone contacts you saying they’re from the federal government and they can help you with back rent, it’s a sign of a scam.
These government services aren't just for tenants. If you’re a landlord facing a loss of rental income, the CFPB also has useful information on their Help for landlords page.
Note: This post was updated on 9/2/2021 with the date the moratorium ended.
The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.
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In reply to Appreciate the information, I by CathyV
In reply to The County I live in will not by Sissy
Go to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau site for link to the Housing Authority of Kern County or all (661) 578-5339 for the Rent and Utility Assistance Program. The Kern County site tells you who is eligible for assistance and how to apply.
California also has a state COVID-19 rental relief program. You can check to see if you are eligible for help on that site, and apply on that site. Or call 833-430-2122.
In reply to I've got no income and I've by Diane
You can follow the link in this blog to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau information about rental assistance in Iowa. To find out if you are eligible for free legal help, apply at IowaLegalAid.org or call 1-800-532-1275.
If you have questions about the Rent and Utility Program in Iowa, call the Housing Recovery Support Team at 515-348-8813 or 855-300-5885.
You may also want to call the Area Agency on Aging in Waterloo at 319-874-6840 to ask about other local support.