Legal aid attorneys interviewed across the country confirmed they are seeing a steady increase in cases where tenants were approved for rental help and still faced eviction. Landlords who received assistance moved to end leases early, increased rents to unaffordable levels, or found other reasons than nonpayment to evict someone, lawyers said.
“It’s not solving the underlying problem, which is a lack of affordable housing. People are on the hook for rents they cannot afford to pay,” she said. “Simply finding something cheaper is not an option because there is not anything cheaper. People have to be housed somewhere.”
The National Housing Law Project, in a survey last fall of nearly 120 legal aid attorneys and civil rights advocates, found that 86% of respondents reported cases in which landlords either refused to take assistance or accepted the money and still moved to evict tenants. The survey also found a significant increase in cases of landlords lying in court to evict tenants and illegally locking them out.