Robert Almquist
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Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions To Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19

eviction notice and mask

Arizona renters hurt by COVID-19 and struggling to pay rent shouldn't have to worry about losing their homes until 2021 due to a new federal action delaying most evictions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is banning evictions starting Sept. 4 . The order is to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus by keeping renters from becoming homeless or from living in unsafe, crowded homes.

New eviction ban rules

To qualify for the CDC moratorium, tenants must sign a declaration saying they:

  • Lost income during the pandemic. 
  • Can’t make full rent payments.
  • Will try to make partial rent payments.
  • Applied for rental help.
  • And an eviction would leave them homeless or in cramped, unsafe living conditions.

Under the CDC rules, renters can’t earn more than $99,000 a year to qualify. Couples, who file joint tax returns, can make twice that much and qualify.

To regulate the new moratorium, federal officials say tenants can be fined $100,000 for lying on their declaration forms, and landlords can be fined as much for breaking the ban, Bridge said.

The new federal moratorium is supposed to protect the nation's 43 million rental households until Dec. 31.

Both the Arizona and federal eviction moratoriums still allow landlords to evict for criminal activities, threatening the health or safety of other renters and damaging property.

Payments still due

When the eviction ban ends in 2021, tenants will owe landlords all of their missed rent payments.

Housing advocates are encouraging renters to at least make partial payments if that’s all they can afford.

But without more aid, most renters may be unable to catch up. And many landlords may not be able to keep their rentals.

Below is the Order, as published in the Federal Register.


COVID-19 Information

COVID-19

NOTE: This post will remain at the top of our News page indefinitely. The interactive map and chart below are continually updated. (In the chart, I have included the countries where the majority of my family, friends, and clients reside. If this information is of interest to you and I have omitted your country, please let me know and I will be happy to add it).

Like you, I am deeply concerned about the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, and the well-being of my family, friends, clients, and colleagues during this time. I recognize the unique challenges we are all facing, and I want you to know that I am here for you during this time. 

Almquist Law is fully operational and stands ready, willing, and able to help you as we all navigate these uncharted waters. While other law firms have faced logistical struggles adapting their practices to the challenges presented, I have fortunately not had to make any changes in order to provide services safely and securely to my clients.

The "new normal" in the way that other law firms look, operate, and deliver services has been "my normal" for many years.

I have long used cutting-edge technology to communicate with clients and to deliver services. The Internet, email, global mobile phone service, video conferencing, online invoicing and payments, "bots' with artificial intelligence, online research, automated document assembly, etc. have allowed me to streamline my practice for better service - at less cost - to my clients,  and have permitted me to enjoy my "digital nomad" lifestyle. 

Please stay safe and remember that this too shall pass.

Our Client Onboarding System

We are constantly looking for ways to be more efficient, with the goal of saving time and money for our clients. In our pursuit of that goal, we use technology to automate tasks whenever possible. One task that was ripe for automation was our client onboarding procedure.

Our system was already in place when I stumbled upon a blog post from Automio, a legal tech company with offices in New Zealand and Australia. The author does a great job of explaining the "why and how" of automated onboarding system: 

"Clients dislike meeting with lawyers. They dislike the inconvenient meeting times, the travel to and from the lawyer’s office, finding the lawyer’s office, finding a car park, finding out no one knows the law firm’s WiFi password, filling out new client forms, drinking sh*t coffee, having to explain their problem to get the lawyer up to speed … basically meetings with lawyers suck.

Yet the first meeting with a client is an important opportunity to impress the client with your wit and intellect, and to demonstrate the value you can provide and the results you can get. But is all that form filling out and getting up to speed on the client’s issue really an efficient use of your time and your client’s time? Is it adding value? The short answer is no."

So true!

The article goes on to describe a solution which is virtually identical to ours:

Step 1: Have the client answer an online interview

When a potential new client gets in touch, we provide them with the link to our onboarding page where a bot walks them through an interview and gathers information necessary to perform a conflict of interest check, open a file, prepare an Engagement and Fee Agreement, and set up access to our Client Portal.

The interview can be conducted at the client's convenience, in the comfort of his or her office or home.

Once the client has finished the interview, we are notified by email (and a transcript of the interview is sent by email to the client.

Step 2: We add the client’s answers to our practice management software
Step 3: Create terms of engagement

The client’s answers to the online interview instantly create a customized Engagement and Fee Agreement. We hold on to this draft agreement until after we've met with the client (see step 5), and then make any tweaks necessary before sending to the client for signature.

Step 4: The client schedules an online meeting

Upon receipt of the client's answers to the interview, we provide him or her with a list of available dates and times for an online video conference.

Step 5: We meet with the client online

By the time of this meet with the client we, of course, already have all their client information and the basics of the matter for which they seek representation, so we can dive straight into it without wasting any time.

Step 6: The Engagement and Fee Agreement is sent to the client

During our meeting with the client we’ll find out any additional information needed to update the Engagement and Fee Agreement. The Agreement is then sent to the client for signature using our electronic signature software.

Once the Agreement is signed, the client is given access to the Client Portal where secure communication and delivery of documents will take place. 

The client is now "onboard" and we are ready to provide whatever service(s) the client requires.