Arizona ban on evictions set to end as heat, infections soar

A rental sign is posted in front of an apartment complex July 14 in Phoenix.

PHOENIX — Arizonans who can’t pay their rent will get a little more time before they face eviction.

Gov. Doug Ducey announced Thursday afternoon that he is extending his order blocking people affected by COVID-19 from losing their homes. That protection, which had been set to expire, now goes through Oct. 31.

But renters will face an additional hurdle.

Right now they need to provide evidence to the property owner that they have specific reasons for not paying their rent. These range from a requirement to be quarantined to job loss or reduction of income.

Under the new plan, they will have to certify to the landlord by Aug. 22 that they have applied for rental assistance from one of the state, county, city or private organizations that provide it.

That keeps the landlord at bay, even if they don’t have the assistance by that time.

Ducey’s order also is designed to provide financial relief to at least some property owners. It sets aside $5 million in grants that they can use to forestall foreclosure by those who hold the mortgage.

Aides to the governor said this is being crafted to be available only to those with one or just a few properties and not for owners of apartment complexes.

The order also provides $650,000 to go to community agencies that are processing applications for housing assistance.

Ducey said there is about $80 million available. But he said that distribution has been hampered because these community agencies, like Chicanos Por La Causa and Wildfire, have not had the staff to process the applications.

Those additional dollars would be earmarked to make those hires.

The timing of the announcement came not only ahead of the previously scheduled expiration date of the relief but also as the extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits provided by the federal government is set to expire at the end of the month. Unless extended, that leaves those out of work with only state benefits that are capped at $240 a week, the second lowest in the country.