Web Extra: Government Standoff Putting Landlord & Tenants at Odds

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DUMAS, Ark. – While many federal employees are still dealing with the uncertainty of when they will return to work –  we are now seeing other effects of the standoff as it heads into its fourth week. 

People on federal assistance are upset they may be evicted, while landlords are worried they might not be able to pay the water bill. 

But, who’s to blame?

Annette Cowen, at ASC Property Management in Dumas, Arkansas says she’s been receiving calls after a letter she sent out warning tenants of the unforeseeable future. 

“I may have to even send people home in my own office because if we don’t get rent we don’t get paid,” says Cowen. “I can’t even get the funds to pay the mortgages.” 

Cowen runs over 50 apartment complexes all over the state of Arkansas and while the standoff has her tenants upset with her she doesn’t know what she can do.

“Running a property is more than just keeping the lights on,” explains Cowen. “Our concerns are we furnish safe, decent, sanitary housing for these tenants – we’re on the verge of not being able to furnish that safe decent and sanitary housing.” 

There is liability and laws governing the way Cowen runs her housing. She says she risks losing everything if proper standards are not met. 

“I don’t want anyone to put in a precarious situation to where there is not water, there is not heat,” says Cowen. “It’s more than just having a roof over their head but what good is that if there is no water and no heat – it’s almost like homeless people.” 

An estimated 100,00 low-income households – elderly, people with disabilities and families with children – already face repair and service cutbacks, and could face rent increases and displacement, if funds are not restored soon, according to a report released by the Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

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