AUSTIN, Texas - Hours after taking office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to extend the ban on evictions through March 2021. Proponents of halting evictions said it's saving lives, but many Texas property owners believe there's a better way to help.
Right now, millions of Texans are having trouble affording one. Data released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows nearly one in five renters were behind on rent in December.
No one knows that better than property owners and landlords.
"We’re very much trying to help our residents. We're very invested in improving the lives of our residents, and it's very sad that some of them are in very dire financial need," Louazna said.
To help keep people in their homes, both federal and local leaders have relied largely on eviction moratoriums. Currently, the City of Austin and Travis County have an eviction ban in place until February 1st.
The mayor and some council members credit the protections for "saving lives."
Last week, President Joe Biden extended a federal eviction ban through March. Those extensions seem to keep coming.
"In layman's terms, we're just kicking the ball forward, but the issue is still there. Residents are still being affected by the pandemic and we just believe that helping them with the immediate financial relief, in order to pay their rent and get caught up, would actually help everybody more so than extending the eviction moratoriums," said Louazna.
As months go by, the amount of rent owed by people struggling continues stacking up. Making help more difficult and, in some instances, property managers said less likely.
"In those cases, it's even hard to get rental assistance, when the amount is so high that the charities or the organizations may not even want to participate in helping," Louazna said.
For property owners, deadlines on expenses and property taxes haven't changed at all.
"Our obligations have not ended and, yes, especially in the City of Austin, but in general in Texas, taxes have increased significantly year over year. And there's been no relief and no signs of upcoming or future relief," said Louazna.
That's why instead of leaving the burden solely in the hands of property owners, the Texas Apartment Association said rental relief from lawmakers would do more to ensure everyone who has a place to live can keep it.
For those struggling with rent payments, property owners said the best thing to do is let the leasing office know as soon as possible. That way they can help get necessary forms completed and provide resources before the situation gets any worse.