Eviction suspension amid pandemic to expire in July, renters survey shows concern

An executive order by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz suspending evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic is set to expire in two weeks. A number of organizations are working to get renters the resources they need before time runs out.

Housing Link, a local non-profit, recently conducted a survey involving more than 900 low- to moderate-income households.

“There’s a large segment of lower income residents who don’t feel like they have a lot of options,” said Dan Hylton, the research manager at Housing Link.

While many renters have been able to keep up with rent, there are concerns that could change when COVID-19 relief resources come to an end.

“One of the things that was the most alarming was the percentage of renters who either lost their job or have reduced hours,” said Hylton.

Prior to COVID-19, 91 percent of moderate- to low-income respondents said they were generally able to pay rent. Seventy-two percent have remained current on payments since the national health crisis began.

“You hear a lot of talking about standing on the edge of a cliff and that’s what it feels right now, it’s a position a lot of these folks are in,” said Hylton.

Walz’s order that prevents renters from being evicted is set to be lifted July 13. Extra unemployment benefits are also set to expire on July 31.

“26% of the respondents don’t think that they’ll be able to pay rent after July 31st without some other intervention,” said Hylton.

With the moratorium on evictions looming, in Hennepin County the Board of Commissioners is allocating about $15 million for emergency rental. Residents are encouraged to apply now. Hylton is hopeful more COVID-19 relief is on the way.

“It seems that there’s going to have be some sort of additional, federal intervention direct money to renters or a large number of them will not be able to stay current on their rent,” he said.

In Hennepin County, rental assistance can be used to pay this month's rent, as well as past due rent from previous months. For more information, click here.