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Rebound Idaho: Know your rights -- Here's some tips to avoid being evicted

A federal moratorium on evictions ends this week.
Posted at 10:39 PM, Jul 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-28 00:49:23-04

IDAHO — As we reported Wednesday, the U.S. Census Bureau reports about one in four Idaho adults are experiencing housing insecurity — up from 18 percent in the first week of the pandemic.

As the first of the month looms and a federal ban on evictions on rental units ends this week, Idaho News 6's Rebound team is dissecting what you need to know to stay protected in your housing.

On Sunday, a top white house advisor told CNN that a new round of coronavirus relief will extend the federal eviction moratorium that’s protected thousands of Idahoans-- as well as folks across the nation -- from being kicked out of their homes during the pandemic.

“I think that’s good news," said Ali Rabe, executive director, Jesse Tree of Idaho.

And even though that moratorium only effects some Idaho renters, or about 30% of renters nationwide, according to the Urban Institute, this housing expert says it’s a step in the right direction.

“[It will] probably decrease the number of clients that we’re getting here," said Rabe.

And Jesse Tree is getting a lot of clients. Rabe says before the pandemic, they saw about 200-300 calls come in per month for eviction intervention services. Now, she says that number has doubled to about 500.

But she also says more than one-third of these Idaho tenants are calling because they got a three-day notice from their landlord. So she wants to remind you to know your rights. A three-day notice does not mean you have to move out if you can’t pay.

“Some landlords will tell tenants that’s the case, and so tenants will just move out without going through that court process," said Rabe.

But doing so without paying could cause problems for you down the line.
“The landlord can still separately file a small claims suit in the court to sue them for the back-rent that they owe," said Rabe.

That’s where volunteers and staff at Jesse Tree’s housing crisis line can help; not only with payment assistance, but with expert financial management advice.

“We also tell them how they can set up a payment plan, and try to meet the agreement so they can try to avoid court entirely with their landlord," said Rabe.

If you are at risk of being evicted, call Jesse Tree’s housing line at (208) 383-9486.

The Idaho Housing and Finance Association’s Housing Preservation Program is another resource for people needing financial help with rent, who have been impacted by COVID-19.

St. Vincent de Paul is another resource for emergency financial need.

Don't hesitate to send us an email at therebound@idahonews6.com with any questions or concerns. We are happy to help direct you to resources or shed light on your story.