Yesterday the Governor of Utah issued an Executive Order that has, unfortunately, been widely misunderstood and mis-characterized. I want to explain quickly what the order does and does not do.
It is NOT a Rent Deferral Order
Some people have been reporting renters no longer have to pay April rent. This is not true. Some renters are have understood this order to mean they are excused or “forgiven” of paying rent in April and May. This also is not true. It has been reported this prohibits all evictions. This is not true.
The order is ONLY a suspension of certain evictions for non-payment in Utah. It has nothing to do with deferring or forgiving rent. A full copy of the order is on our website. www.uaahq.org, under Covid-19 resources.
Evictions for rent before April 1, criminal activity, nuisance or lease violations can proceed. This order is designed to cover the most vulnerable in our society – those who lost income or employment because of government ordered health shutdowns. It is very short term, only 45 days. Housing providers will be unable to evict anyone who can demonstrate they suffered a loss of job or wages as a result of Covid-19. It applies only to rent after April 1. It does not create, require or imply rent forgiveness. It simply gives the most vulnerable tenants waiting on their federal stimulus or unemployment check more time.
Renters, please recognize housing providers have expenses too, and pay your rent as soon as you are able. If necessary, utilize your personal resources, loans from friends and family, help from non-profits and churches, and government programs to stay current on rent.
Housing providers, be patient and accommodating. We are in the business of housing people, not evicting them, and in this unprecedented time, it is reasonable for us to work a little longer with the most directly affected. 80% of renters still have jobs and should be able to pay rent as normal. You should only have to work with the hardest hit.
We all have a role to play in Covid-19 recovery. We each need to do our part and be patient. We will get through this together. The cycle of recovery includes three steps:
1 - government getting money into hands of renters as soon as possible through stimulus and unemployment checks
2 - housing providers accommodating their customer by waiting a few extra weeks for the hardest hit renters to catch up
3 - renters paying their rent as soon as they can so providers can pay their mortgage, taxes, payroll and maintenance expense
If we all do our part, we will all recover together.
Here is the full order. Clarifying notes are in red; emphasis in yellow background: