“Can’t live for free”: Weekly rental tenants face eviction despite ban

Properties licensed as motels not bound by moratorium

Landlords and tenants of weekly rentals are facing off over whether the eviction ban applies to them. (iStock)
Landlords and tenants of weekly rentals are facing off over whether the eviction ban applies to them. (iStock)

Weekly rentals are a last resort for low-income tenants. But despite a national eviction ban, they have also become a battleground between landlords and renters.

The reason: Weekly rentals fall into a legal gray area. Many are licensed as motels, which are exempt from the eviction moratorium, but they function as rental apartments for tenants who spend months or even years there.

Some owners of weekly rental units aren’t waiting for the ban to expire at the end of the year to find out if it affects them, according to the New York Times.

Lynetrice Preston, of Georgia, said she was locked out of her $200-a-week apartment this summer when she fell behind on rent. She and two teenage daughters live at Efficiency Lodge, which is partly owned by a broker of former Gov. Roy Barnes.
Preston borrowed money to regain access to the unit but is now suing the landlord to stave off eviction.

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Governor Andrew Cuomo (iStock; Cuomo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo with Judge Lawrence Marks and Judge Daniele Chinea (Getty, Linkedin, iStock)
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State courts have taken different approaches to weekly rentals.

In November, an Orlando judge allowed one model to evict three people, but delayed the eviction until Jan. 1, after the moratorium is to expire. In Nevada, Gov. Steve Sisolak imposed a new eviction ban through the end of March, barring any for other than noise-related violations. In Texas and Arizona, courts have sided with the landlord in 50 percent of evictions proceedings filed by Budget Suites of America, owned by billionaire Robert Bigelow.

Barnes, the former governor, who is defending Efficiency Lodge in court, said the company is willing to work with tenants — to a point. “There are mortgages to be paid,” he said. “You just can’t live there for free.”
[NYT] — E.B. Solomont

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