KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- It’s April 1 and rent is due.
Evictions have been paused across the metro, but some say this is a short-term solution to a long-term housing problem.
On a typical day, data from KC Tenants shows on average there are more than 40 families evicted in Jackson County every day. However, courts are closed right now, so evictions are on pause.
This does not stop landlords from starting the eviction process and making it official when courts reopen.
Governor Laura Kelly issued an executive order preventing evictions and foreclosure because of financial hardships related to COVID-19. In Missouri, Governor Mike Parson does not plan to take similar action. He addressed evictions in a press briefing earlier this week.
"Are people getting evicted now because of COVID-19? I don't think any of us want that to happen,” Governor Parson said. “But you have to evaluate each of those situations differently and we do that every day. It's difficult to make a blanket policy for the entire state of Missouri,” Parson said.
Tenants rights groups are calling for rent suspension on a federal and state level. KC Tenants director Tara Raghuveer says when evictions resume the metro area will deal with ripple effects.
“We are at risk of seeing a tidal wave of evictions on the other side of the moratorium if we don’t deal with this crisis at a systemic level,” Raghuveer said.
Some property management companies have been sending out letters reminding people that COVID-19 does not stop rent payments.
For some people, this means scraping together whatever they have sacrificing something like food or other essentials to avoid late fees or debt from landlords.
Tenants struggling to pay rent should first contact their landlord or property manager to ask for a payment plan or another arrangement.
If you and your landlord are unable to come to an agreement, KC Tenants can offer resources and help for people.
Some tenants will come together as a group to demand a rent suspension or something from landlords to make it easier for tenants right now.
“What’s interesting is that landlords will say things like, ‘Well, I have a mortgage to pay but the thing is landlords are in a position of privilege … they have something to borrow against, they have a bank to go to,” said Raghuveer.
KC Tenants will launch a hotline later this week that people can call for resources in this time of uncertainty.