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Maine landlord and tenant react to temporary halt of evictions

The Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have issued an order to temporarily halt some evictions through December 31.

MAINE, USA — Landlord Duane Lahaye is concerned about his properties after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control temporarily halted evictions for eligible renters through December 31.

"Repairs, upkeep, which all cost money," said Lahaye.

Renters covered through the executive order must meet four criteria. They must:

  • Have an income of $198,000 or less for couples filing jointly, or $99,000 for single filers.
  • Demonstrate they have sought government assistance to make their rental payments.
  • Affirmatively declare they are unable to pay rent because of COVID-19 hardships.
  • Affirm they are likely to become homeless if they are evicted.

Officials said local courts would still resolve disputes between renters and landowners about whether the moratorium applies in a particular case.

"At this point, I'm down $6,000," said Lahaye.

The director of the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition said while rent eventually needs to be paid. The temporary halt is a relief for tenants.

"In the middle of a pandemic, now that you know one way or another you are not going to be put on the street, that's got to be an enormous relief," said Maine Affordable Housing Coalition Director, Greg Payne.

Tenant Amanda Wentworth agrees.

"I think it's good. It helps ease the unknown among people and myself," said Wentworth.

But she said she understands landlords' concerns.

"If they have tenants that can't pay their rent because of what's going on, how do they...what happens to them," said Wentworth.

It's a question Lahaye is trying to answer.

"Probably thinking about borrowing money to pay taxes," said Lahaye.