NROP: Evictions – a Moral Quandary.

We often talk about the disconnect between what the heart wants and what the brain tells us to do. It has always been something that I had recognized, but was able to reconcile most of the time.

Do you ever have your brain battle your morality? It is definitely something I struggle with. Logic tells me that A should not be, while my morals/ conscience tells me that it is not “right” to go with logic.

The latest dilemma comes from a piece of news I read about evictions. You might know that due to the coronavirus pandemic, it had been announced earlier in the year that evictions were banned. Now, as we approach the end of the year, the topic is back on the table. Can we start evicting people?

To begin, I have to say that I am very thankful not to have been economically affected by the virus. I still have my job and so does my partner. We are definitely blessed. Even though I know of some people who have been let go, the vast majority of my friends and acquaintances are still working where they used to before the pandemic. Not being able to work can have devastating effects on our lives, our body, and our soul. Combine that with a pandemic, and you have the potential for a truly dire situation.

Another thing that I realize and keep in mind is that not everyone is able to save money even during their working time. We all have different circumstances. However, I always urge people to plan for the unexpected. You might not predict when the disaster will strike, or what it is going to be, but you can try and prepare for it as much as you can. Trust me – the unexpected WILL happen. You might not have believed me a year ago, but I hope it is much easier for you to believe in that now. If you are working (or collecting governmental funds), there is always some way to save some. It does not have to be a lot of money every single week. But, even a little here and there will make a difference when you ned it.

With all that being said, let us tackle the moral quandary from the article I linked above. First of all, while some people might think that the eviction ban was put in place out of mercy for those that are unable to pay due to loss of income, the real reason is a health concern.

“…the evictions of tenants could be detrimental to public health control measures to slow the spread of SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.”

Centers for disease control and prevention

What that means is that they are worried that some people that are quarantining, after being evicted, will go and infected others with the virus. Moreover, they are concerned that these people would end up in crowded places, where the likelihood of contracting the virus is greater than at their private home.

When I first heard about the eviction ban at the beginning of the year, back when I thought the virus would “go away” within a couple of weeks, I thought it was a great idea. There is no denying that COVID-19 caused a lot of chaos. I thought that giving people, who have been directly impacted (loss of income, sick with the virus), some time to figure things out was a good idea. However, I am not so sure anymore.

Apparently, all you had to do was to print out a form and sign it, stating you were unable to pay rent and that you have sought help from the government. You might call me jaded, but the reality is that I might have some experience you are lacking. Throughout the years, I have witnessed people wheeling and dealing as much as they could to milk the government, to not pay their dues, etc. All while they HAD the money. So, you cannot fault me for thinking that there are people who HAVE the money to pay their rents, but did not/ will not due to this CDC ban.

A woman in Texas claimed she could not pay rent but now lives in a hotel while she is trying to prove that her eviction was illegal. I do not know about your area, but where I live, the hotels are more expensive than rent. I did not know whether I should laugh or cry when I read that she called the FBI (and put it on speaker so her kids could hear that she had tried everything) for help. She believes she was wrongfully evicted.

After briefly sympathizing with those who are unable to pay rent, I looked towards the other side – owners of those apartments. If it is OK not to pay rent at this time, it means that it is OK for the owners to miss out on the money they otherwise would be collecting. Say Bob is renting an apartment from Bruce and Co. Bob filled out all the necessary forms, submitted them to Bruce, and now is watching TV with his feet up in his temporarily free apartment. Bruce, on the other hand, still has to pay the maintenance guys for fixing things in Bob’s apartment. This is a very simplistic look at this, but you should be able to catch my drift. Why are we denying Bruce and Co. the income? Why is Bob protected? If I owned an apartment complex, I would not have been happy. Not because I could not extort Bob for the money that he owes me, but because I, too, have basic needs that need to be satisfied, but cannot, without the income from renters.

How can the government (or a health agency) tell me that I cannot make money? Some states are suing because of that very question. Proceedings are not the same in all states. Some comply with the “ban,” while others do not.

Aside from the owners of the properties, I also think of all the people who struggle, but still pay their rent. They, too, could fill out a form and be protected. But that is not how they roll. They choose to do what is right and pay the dues where they are owed.

What many might not realize is that the bans/ moratoriums do not mean that your rent is forgiven. Officials urge people to pay as much as they can. But what will happen once all these bans expire? People will still end up being evicted. If they could not pay $1,000 this month, how will they be able to pay $5,000 five months from now?

So, how do you resolve the moral quandary in such a situation? Do you sympathize with the renters, or are you also able to see beyond?

Stay golden,

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28 thoughts on “NROP: Evictions – a Moral Quandary.

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  1. This is a difficult one, there are always good people who try to do their best to pay their way and others who take advantage of the situation. No rent received no income for the landlords it is a hard one as the landlord has obligations to maintain their property but how can they as you say with out the rent to cover costs.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Interesting in all of this is the economics. Some actions are good in the long-term, some bad. Rent control, for instance. People hear “rent freeze” and think “awesome” but what it usually means is a corresponding decrease in supply and thus an increase in potential homelessness.

    And yeah, some people game the system. They piss me off.

    Here, the Premier screwed up with rent controls but the other choices are better. They froze evictions, but they provided money. Both sides could apply for relief and assistance. Which means no increase in homelessness during the pandemic. Some landlords are douchebags about it, but that mostly seems to be the case with commercial enterprises. And there are rent assistance programs for that. too.

    What I find most interesting about this massive change to our circumstances is the collective determination for no changes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are many things in life that seem to go the opposite way of what I think is the right way. Normally, I’m not a fan of change. There has to be a reason for a change to make sense. Changing something for no good reason doesn’t make sense. Why fix something that’s not broken. However, while the pandemic pushed us towards some sort of change, I find that many people are reluctant to change anything. This didn’t teach them anything. They are hoping that once the vaccine gets more popular, things will go back to “normal.” I, however, am now all about change.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A reason for change is a good philosophy. Change for change’s sake is often wasted energy. But like you, I’ve noticed so many people are very resistant to anything being different.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. The other side of this equation is that there are a lot of terrible landlords who pay no attention to property maintenance or keeping their property in basic working order. A lot of these slumlords are probably the people most hurt by the current eviction moratorium, as they tend not to screen their renters very well. I would feel bad for an honest, hardworking landlord who’s really trying to do the best for their tenants, but I feel differently about a sleaze ball landlord who’s only trying to pad their own pocketbook and doesn’t really care about the type of housing they are providing.

    That said the eviction moratorium can’t last forever, and when it ends things could get crazy. I was reading last week about a situation in Portland where a family’s house had been foreclosed on a couple years ago, but they had been squatting there ever since. When the cops showed up to remove them from the premises it set off a major backlash, and protestors occupied several blocks around the house. It seemed like a very strange situation, but if that was the reaction to one, well I don’t know if it’s technically an eviction, but something like an eviction, what will the reaction be when the moratorium is lifted?

    I don’t know, but it seems like a bad situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear ya. Some landlords really don’t care.

      Great description of what I’m worried about. I’ve heard about people not paying their mortgage and then living there anyway until they got physically removed. Before the pandemic, that could take a few months. So, they didn’t pay, and in the meantime, saved up some money for later. Sounds fair to those of us who are never late on a payment… Absolutely I foresee riots. And you bet there will be race thrown into that one way or another.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You are right, it is a huge moral problem. Of course there are always those who will take advantage of others, but there are those who honestly can not pay due to loss of income during shutdowns. Now, I own a house that I rent out. I have a mortgage on that house as well as taxes, insurance etc. If I do not bring in rental income, I can not pay those things. I am retired and on a fixed income. I had planned to sell the house in the spring of 2020, but could not ask my tennants to leave. Luckily they are still paying rent, but it could have been disastrous for me. I am not big business, just a retired woman who owns a house that we bought for my son when he was going to University. It is a tough call unfortunately. How do you prove if someone can pay??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for mentioning what I forgot. Some people rent out only single bedrooms, apartments, or houses. I didn’t do my research, but I’d guess there’s not much help for those people…

      I’m glad to hear that you are still getting the rent money and able to pay for things.

      Great question! I bet there are some official definitions of not being able to pay, but there are loopholes everywhere.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My daughter went into the properties business just in time to have to deal with this, and in our area renters were encouraged not to pay rent, even if they could. My daughter is blessed to be married to a man who hasn’t lost his job, but you have to wonder about the people who depend on their rentals for their income. I’m afraid in this fallen world there will never be a perfect solution that helps everyone. We just need to be aware of ways that God may be calling on us to help whom we can, when we can.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your (well, your daughter’s) experience. I mean, at some point, even the most honest of people get tired of doing the right thing while others get away with murder. I’m glad to hear that your daughter is doing alright with the help of her husband.

      Indeed! Helping wherever we can is a win-win for all parties involved.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. We have/had a similar situation when government banned evictions on non-payment of rent…
    Of course property owners are taking matters into their own hands and evicting tenants anyway and the government just looks the other way.
    ~B

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I would like to have seen the government reduce cash payments Or extra unemployment and make those payments directly to the landlords – the landlords could submit the form that the person filled out stating why they can’t pay their rent to the government. At least this would keep people in their homes and the landlords would still be able to operate their business.
    When my daughters had to wait for unemployment in the spring the first thing they did once their money started coming in was catch up on their rent. I’m sure that was not a priority for everyone.

    Liked by 2 people

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