‘It’s really bad’: Many Rhode Islanders face eviction as national deadline nears

Coronavirus

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The nationwide eviction moratorium is set to expire next week, and without it, many Rhode Islanders would be left without a home.

Throughout the pandemic, 1-in-5 renters said they are not caught up with their rent, according to the Center on Budget and Policy.

Warwick resident Will Imbeault tells 12 News he is one of them. He said he’s spending his Christmas worrying about whether or not he will have a home next year.

Imbeault said in addition to facing eviction, he lost his job back in March, tested positive for COVID-19 in October and has since lost his health insurance.

“The first stimulus my mom and I paid a month’s rent and we kept $400 for food,” Imbault said.

Murray Gereboff, who specializes in landlord and tenancy law, said Imbault is not alone.

He said with the state’s unemployment rate at an all time high, many Rhode Islanders are facing eviction or foreclosure.

“If the current bill is not signed by the president, the declaration would expire and the executions could issue starting in January,” he said. “There are numerous cases on the court calendar scheduled for hearing in January, which were cases entered way back in the fall.”

Imbault, who also lives with his 13-year-old son and 80-year-old mother, said he’s been making payments and has applied for state help programs, but it’s just not enough.

He said he’s received his second eviction notice in six months.

“We paid $700, $300 last week and $400 Tuesday morning … I went to donate my plasma because it pays $100, I was turned away because they said my blood pressure was high,” he said. “I don’t understand how this current moratorium is helping anybody if landlords are still able to give you a five day demand letter.”

While also trying to figure out how to keep a roof over their heads, he said it leaves him with no money to get his son anything for Christmas.

“It’s bad,” Imbault said. “It’s really bad.”

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