By Emily Tencer
OMAHA, Nebraska (KETV) — It’s been a year and a half since the start of the pandemic, and landlords say they’re frustrated over repeated extensions for the federal eviction moratorium.
“It’ll take years, if ever, to recoup what you’re losing now,” said Rick McDonald.
McDonald has been a landlord for 30 years. He’s also the vice president of the Metropolitan Omaha Property Owner’s Association.
He said some of his tenants are taking advantage of not being able to be evicted.
“All of a sudden you find either a new animal in the house or additional animals. You find people that have moved in and that you don’t even know who they are,” McDonald said.
John Chatelain is the president of the association. He said most landlords are happy to help when tenants’ apply for assistance.
“The problem is, if the tenant knows they can never be evicted because of the rental eviction moratorium, then they don’t even bother to go get the money,” Chatelain said.
He said landlords are leaving the profession because it’s too costly to continue maintaining property.
“If there’s rental subsidy money available, the tenant can apply for it, the landlord will cooperate, and everything would get worked out,” he said. “If we can work things out with the tenant and not have a vacant unit, then it’s better for us in every respect.”
Douglas County Commissioner Jim Cavanaugh said rental and housing assistance needs to continue being available in the community.
“This isn’t a turn-key operation to go from where we were during the pandemic to where we are going to be after we recover,” he said.
It was one of the many issues discussed at a Douglas County Health and Human Services Committee forum Thursday night.
Commissioners listened to the public’s suggestions on how the county should spend the $110.8 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.
“People are still going to need help because of the pandemic, and a big part of that is keeping them in their homes, keeping their lights on and the water on and the gas on,” Cavanaugh said.
Cavanaugh is encouraging the public to reach out to him or the committee on programs and issues you believe the federal money should go to help. He said they also plan on hosting more listening sessions.
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