A Rented Legal Disaster

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Temporary eviction ban

Landlords all across the country are fighting government orders that afford leniency to tenants and temporarily ban evictions.  About nine states, including New York, Kentucky, Connecticut, Arizona, and Illinois, are entertaining lawsuits filed by suffering landlords.  The argument in many of the lawsuits relates to the unconstitutional nature of the orders in regard to contract impairment.  While many landlords have devised workable plans with their tenants, other landlords are dealing with tenants who are taking advantage of the opportunity to not pay rent.  While current measures are protecting tenants, landlords are still expected to pay their mortgages.

In a lot of cases, particularly in New York, rented buildings act as businesses to landlords, and as the economy suffers, their businesses suffer.  During normal circumstances, if a tenant refuses to pay rent, then the landlord may proceed with necessary steps to evict the nonpaying tenant.  Given the current state of the economy and the nation as a whole, however, landlords are left strapped in dealing with both sides: the possible issue of nonpaying tenants and the obligation to pay their mortgages. Now, they believe their only form of relief is to take legal action in a court of law.

Some of the filed lawsuits have proven ineffective, as a lawsuit by three landlords was just dismissed last month.  The judge dismissed the case on the grounds that the tenants who have not been paying will still be required to pay their rent once the order against evictions is lifted. The problems landlords are facing, however, are the instances of tenants who can actually pay their rent and have not lost their jobs due to the pandemic but choose to not pay.  At this time, there are no immediate consequences for tenants to ignore their contractual responsibilities.  While some tenants appear fearful of the evictions they may eventually face, others agree that the reinstatement of evictions will force tenants to make their necessary rent payments.