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Unprotected tenants: Covid leaves homeless who could not pay a James Webb rent: who was and why NASA gave its name to the largest space telescope in history

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Children 3 and 4 years old saw from the windows of their department how they evicted one of the merchants who had their chicken sales down the building where they lived.

"Why do your things fuel?"Asked his great grandmother Laura—.I don't want my toys to be fallen to the street.

Laura García Vázquez, 53, her husband and daughter lived in that building in the Obrera neighborhood of the Mayor's Office Cuauhtémoc, in Mexico City, for more than two decades.But the owner died and her niece, who appeared as the heiress, asked all the tenants to evict the property because she was going to sell it.

Read: ‘I'm going to have to leave my apartment’: The crisis that hits tenants and homemade

"He never showed us, with a document, that she was really the heiress, so we went to trial," says Laura.On May 8, 2021, after losing the legal lawsuit, they left the building.They did not expect formal notification.Laura did not want her grandchildren to live the trauma of a forced eviction like the one her neighboring merchant had suffered.

After nine years of judgment and in full pandemic, when none of the family members have a stable job, they had to leave their home.

In Mexico, neither the federal government nor those of the different states adopted measures to stop the eviction during the pandemic.In 2020, only in the capital of the country there were 442 evictions derived from judgments in Civil Courts, according to the Superior Court of Justice of Mexico City from a request for access to the information made for this article.

In addition, there were 154 evictions for civil matters, which have to do with the lack of rental payment.The total figure is significantly lower than the average of 3 thousand evictions in years prior to the pandemic.This reduction is not due to protection measures by the Government for those who rent: it is due to the closure of the courts, for months, for the confinement measures, explains María Silvia Emanuelli, coordinator of the Office for Latin America of the International Coalition of the International Coalitionof habitat.

Find out: #Rentajusta: Tenants in CDMX ask for law to prevent them from evicting them during the epidemic

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As soon as the courts reopened, the trials were reactivated.In the civil process of written process there are registered, from January 2020 to February 2021, 13.412 special mortgage trials.

To the official eviction figure you have to add the evictions by their own hand that they do, without legal process, the housing owners and the invisible evictions of people who, in the face of the difficulty of paying, must leave their homes, as in the case ofLaura and her family.Those are not accounted for in any registry.

The impact of evictions

For Laura and his family today it is impossible to rent in the Obrera neighborhood, where they lived almost all their lives.

"It's sad, right?"Because a quarter of my life I lived here and I do hit you.My children grew here, my grandchildren were growing, ”says Laura.

Income in the area are around 10 thousand pesos.The income they have for now is only Laura's husband's pension, which is 8,900 pesos.The daughter was unemployed by the pandemic.Laura has barely returned to her cleaning work in a house, where they use it only two days a week.Sometimes, when you can, sell clothes or food.

The rent in the new department they moved is at 8 thousand pesos.That will consume your husband's pension.Laura and her daughter will have to get money for the rest of the expenses.

You may be interested: violent evictions, corruption and real estate harassment leave families without home in CDMX

Those that implemented measures

In Latin America, one of the few countries that, given the economic crisis generated by the Covid-19 Pandemia, implemented early measures to stop the evictions and help people pay their rental was Argentina.

President Alberto Fernández approved two decrees that established a series of economic and social measures that, among other things, froze the collection of rents and mortgage loans defeated for 10 months and suspended evictions due to lack of payment.

The regulation included an exception: payments freezing was not applicable in those cases where owners depended on that rent to meet the basic needs of their family.

He also extended the validity of the lease contracts that beat before January 31, 2021, and established that interest or other penalties could not be applied in these contracts.Until then the debts generated due to lack of payment, delayed payments or partial payments could be paid in three or six installments.

On April 1 of this year all measures were without effect, although the health crisis is not over and lost jobs have not recovered.The Association grouped Tenants, on behalf of the National Tenant Federation, presented an amparo to justice requesting the suspension of the evictions.

“We present an amparo and a precautionary measure so that justice asks the State to stop the evictions until it has a real plan to contain and protect housing.Without housing, today life is put at risk, ”said Gervasio Múñoz, from grouped tenants.

In Colombia, the Government of Iván Duque established special economic measures for the rental of real estate for housing or commercial purposes during the first part of the official confinement, which lasted from April 15 to June 30, 2020.In that period the evictions were suspended;The annual rental adjustment was postponed and it was stipulated that the parties involved should reach a direct agreement on the special conditions for the payment of income.

To face the housing deficit, which was exacerbated with the health and economic crisis, in July 2020 the Chilean government authorized to postpone up to six months the payment of mortgage loans for homes of up to 285 million (about $ 353).

It also ordered the delivery of 50 thousand rental subsidies for those who demonstrated a drop in income of 30 percent and whose rent would not exceed 300 thousand (the $ 411).Then, in August 2020, he simplified the requirements to apply for this subsidy.

In Brazil, protection measures were delayed.Only on May 18, 2021, more than a year after the start of the pandemic, the Chamber of Deputies approved a law that prohibits the evictions and forced removals during the pandemic.The measure includes those who cannot pay the rent.

The data of the zero seasonal campaign indicate that more than 72 thousand families in Brazil are at risk of losing their homes.

The Cuba government did not arrange any measure to stop the evictions or to help people in the payment of rent.Many of the tenants do not have contracts: lessor and lessee make informal agreements.There are no figures for how many people are in that situation.Those who were lucky came to an agreement with their landlord for payments.

Other countries such as El Salvador and Guatemala only gave support from different types to vulnerable families and small businesses.Many, like Laura, failed to be beneficiaries of any of those programs.

With information from Francisca Mayorga, Gabriela Cáceres, Mariela Castañón, Edgar Leyva and Jessica Tamyres Dos Santos.

This article is part of El Last Roof, a special transnational journalism laboratory of Cronos Lab.

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