CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – President Donald Trump on Sunday signed a new stimulus package into law, which gives renters an extra month before evictions can resume. The original deadline was December 31st and has been extended to the end of January.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, more than 14 million Americans say they are not caught up on their rent.
That is 20% of renters. In addition to another month before they can be evicted for nonpayment of rent, the law also includes $25 billion to help renters get caught up.
“That will be available for tenants who are behind on their rent, are about to fall behind on their rent, or have utility interruptions or notices of nonpayment for utilities with a fourth-coming interruption,” said Nicole Paluzzi, lead housing attorney for Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services.
The relief money will be sent to local and state governments in the coming days. Some people are thousands of dollars behind on their payments. But the new law could help with past due, and possibly even a little bit of future rent payments for those in need.
Lease terms will need to include those future dates.
“For example, if a tenant was receiving three months of future rent, then their lease must have a term that is no sooner ending than the end of March,” said Paluzzi.
State Representative Wendell Gilliard says while this is good news, he feels it is a little too late.
“Anything towards that is going to help. Don’t get me wrong. Whether it be $25 billion or $100 billion, the fact is we played politics, we let time take over, and when that happens, bills tend to build up,” said Rep. Gilliard.
He believes the problem is bigger than some may realize. Gilliard said he has been approached several times in the past month by people waking up in parking lots who are essentially homeless.
“The people who did not have a chance to save their homes and jobs, they’re now sleeping in their cars, and those are the people who are fortunate enough to have cars,” he said. “Even now, the car is going to be repossessed.”