Nebraska renters brace as federal halt on evictions ends

After being extended multiple times the federal moratorium on evictions came to end over the weekend.
WOWT 6 News 10 p.m. Sunday newscast
Published: Aug. 1, 2021 at 4:58 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - For the first time in a year-and-a-half renters hit hard by the pandemic are facing eviction.

After being extended several times the federal halt on evictions came to an end early Sunday morning leaving millions of tenants, including countless renters across Nebraska bracing for what’s next.

“You have rights as a tenant and you may not even understand what those options or defenses are until the time you’ve consulted with an attorney,” said Scott Mertz, attorney, Legal Aid of Nebraska.

As 6 News reported last week there are still millions of dollars of COVID-19 rental assistance available in Nebraska.

“We unfortunately have a bit of perfect storm, lack of money reaching people, the end of the moratorium, what is that going to look like in terms of increased numbers on the ground,” said Mertz, noting they’re hoping to avoid what could be a flood of evictions. “There’s going to be more volunteer attorneys on site at the courthouse.”

The goal is to work out a deal between tenants and landlord before getting inside a courtroom.

”There’s going to be mediation options, eviction diversion efforts here in Douglas County to try get people to work things out prior to court, prior to that hearing, and prior to an eviction order being signed.”

Even though there will be volunteer attorneys at the courthouse, Mertz said don’t wait.

“People who are scared,” said Mertz. “People who have an immediate threat of an eviction should talk to an attorney and if they can’t afford one they should talk to Legal Aid of Nebraska.”

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