BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Rent deferral program eases residents anxiety but raises landlords’

May 13, 2020, 2:30 PM
Utah rental assistance rent deferral...
Rendon Terrence Apartments. Credit: Tanner Siegworth

SALT LAKE CITY — For Utah residents ineligible for unemployment insurance during the global coronavirus pandemic, a new $4 million deferral program that took effect this week may help cover their rent payments and avoid eviction.

Gov. Gary Herbert’s executive order on rent deferral and evictions, which began April 1, expires Friday.

A group of advocates for low-income tenants are requesting Herbert extend the rent deferral program and eviction ban until July 15.

What about landlords?

Paul Smith of the Utah Apartment Association joined Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic to give a landlord’s perspective on a possible two-month extension on the rent deferral program.

“Is the apartment association willing to wait two more months if the governor extends this directive that landlords can’t go after evictions for tenants?” Debbie asked.

“We would oppose that. There’s no other industry that has floated citizens of Utah in this crisis,” Smith said. “Gas stations haven’t said ‘Hey, come fill up and take 45 days to pay. Grocery stores don’t say ‘Fill up your car and take 45 days to pay.’ We’ve done our part now.”

Smith explained that the rent deferral program froze evictions on a narrow population of tenants who were paid up through the end of March and who lost income, jobs, were hospitalized or quarantined due to COVID-19.

“We’re proud that we got behind that early. Landlords have really been super heroes in this crisis,” Smith said.

As soon as tenants received their unemployment-insurance payments or federal stimulus checks, they paid their rent, he said.

“Utah has the lowest delinquency in the United States. Most renters have paid. . . There’s always a certain percentage of people who struggle to pay rent. April of 2020 didn’t turn out to be much different than a normal month,” Smith said.

Who can get the rent deferral help?

Jonathan Handy, the Housing Community Development director at the Department of Workforce Services, also joined Debbie and Dave to explain the new $4 million rental assistance program for those not eligible to collect unemployment insurance.

“Can you give us an idea of what that person looks like, the people who are falling through the cracks?” Dave asked.

“People who have worked more than one full-time job,” Handy said. “So if you’ve working 40 hours, and you’ve worked another job on top of that, and lost that income, you probably not be eligible for unemployment insurance.

“Undocumented households are not eligible for unemployment insurance,” he added. “I know some reports of people who have had to take salary reductions. They may still be working 40 hours a week, so they are not going to be eligible for unemployment insurance.”

Who else is eligible? 

“What about folks who have had to be hospitalized or have come down with COVID-19? We have well over 6,000 cases now in the state of Utah. Would they be eligible for this program?” Debbie asked.

“Really the only criteria is you can’t qualify for unemployment insurance,” Handy said. “We always want to send people there first because not only will it help them make their housing payment, but it will help with all the other financial obligations that they have at that time. So if they can’t get help there, they’re certainly eligible for this program.”

Handy said the rent payment goes directly to the landlord.

“Everybody is made whole, and the tenant can stay housed in that unit,” Handy said.

“Where does this money come from and how long will you be able to provide this benefit?” Dave asked.

Handy said the assistance comes from two federal sources: $1 million comes from HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) and the remaining $3 million comes from the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security).

Handy said for those who don’t qualify for unemployment insurance and need rental assistance, begin by calling 2-1-1.

 

 

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

Today’s Top Stories

Business + Economy

Both Utah rail workers and Utah farmers expressed relief that a threatened rail strike was averted ...
Hugo Rikard-Bell

Union Pacific, Utah farmers, relieved threat of strike has passed

Union Pacific Railroad representatives said claims about days off, made by workers threatening to strike, were outright false.
2 days ago
The owners of long-time local favorite, Hell's Backbone Grill and Farm, thought they would have to ...
Hugo Rikard-Bell

Fiercely self-sufficient Hell’s Backbone cafe owners turn to public for help

The Hell's Backbone Grill and Farm owners were persuaded by friends and supporters to not give up. It looks to have worked.
2 days ago
A new Utah population estimate finds that most of the people that moved to or within Utah between J...
Simone Seikaly

Utah population update: 60K+ people have moved here since 2021

The Utah population spike noted this year is the greatest increase in 16 years. However, growth is expected to decline going forward.
2 days ago
Help wanted sign is displayed in Deerfield, Ill., Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022.  The number of availab...
Alicia Wallace, CNN Business

US economy added a robust 263,000 jobs in November

The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%, according to the latest monthly jobs snapshot from the Labor Department, released Friday morning.
2 days ago
making way for The Point, a guard tower is knocked down as part of the old state prison's demolitio...
Aimee Cobabe

As the old state prison goes down, development of The Point begins

The Point will take about two decades for developers to finish, but leaders in the project are optimistic that the planned community will be worth the wait.
4 days ago
Former Governor of Utah, Gary Herbert speaks at the start of demolition at the old Utah State Priso...
Aimee Cobabe

Demolition begins at the old Utah State Prison in Draper

It took years to get the Utah State Prison to this point. Now, the site will be repurposed and built into a so-called "15-minute community."
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Rent deferral program eases residents anxiety but raises landlords’