Since quarantine measures began in March 2020, Maryland has faced a rough economic situation, just like the rest of the United States. To aid citizens, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a “temporary halt in residential evictions” in early September, preventing renters from losing their homes due to unpaid rent.
Even though the order lasts through the end of the year, many Maryland residents do not believe the measure goes far enough. If you’re struggling to keep up with bills, the eviction moratorium may not help.
Who can avoid eviction in Maryland?
The CDC’s eviction moratorium covers many people struggling with their bills, but not all. To qualify, you must:
- Exhaust all options for government housing assistance
- Make no more than $99,000 in Calendar Year 2020
- Be unable to make housing payments due to lost wages or “extraordinary” medical expenses
- Pay as much as possible every month
- Have no other housing options
Qualifying individuals must also sign an affidavit confirming the above facts, under penalty of perjury.
The order does not cancel payments
If you qualify, you may not need to pay rent now, but you will owe your landlord back rent after December 31, 2020. The order also does not prevent late fees, penalties or interest on the missed rent. You will likely owe even more money after the moratorium than under normal circumstances. A current U.S. Representative of Maryland asked, “What is going to happen when somebody’s got no money in their pocket and a year’s worth of rent to pay?” Currently, federal lawmakers are debating more relief bills to counter the economic disasters of 2020. No answers are yet forthcoming.
How Maryland is helping its residents
Maryland lawmakers are calling on the governor to release more relief funds to the citizenry. Covering rent for 200,000 Marylanders would cost $238 million for one month — so far, the governor has only provided $30 million. If the state does not relinquish more relief funding, many residents may find themselves in court. Those who hire a local attorney familiar with tenant right’s in Maryland will have a better chance of protecting their rights, livelihood and freedom.