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With moratorium ending, eviction notices begin to pile up

Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 4:59 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Hundreds of landlords having trouble collecting rent through the pandemic, are moving forward with evictions proceedings. Federal protections will run out in just over three weeks, and some renters may run out of options.

“They know that the end of the CDC moratorium is coming up and people are rightfully concerned about what the next steps are,” said Cashaunna Hill, with the New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center.

Last September, the CDC imposed a moratorium on evictions due to the pandemic. But that moratorium runs out at the end of this month and eviction notices are piling up.

“Right here we have 410 pending eviction cases,” said 1st City Court Clerk Austin Badon.

Badon says on July 1st, four judges will start making some tough decisions about who will be able to remain in their homes, if they can’t pay the rent is a crisis that’s going to happen in 24 days here in New Orleans.’

Badon says what he is seeing so far is just the tip of the iceberg. He says one large scale property owner has told him in the next couple of weeks he may be initiating as many as 300 evictions.

“I have to increase staff, cut vacations and do whatever we can to address the situation,” said Badon.

Some renters tell us that through the pandemic, they’ve had a hard time finding a job and paying their rent.

“I am so worried I won’t have a place to live but the landlord needs to be paid to,” said Brian McLaughlin.

Even though the federal government has paid some landlords, they have still had to cover things like taxes, utility bills, and upkeep.

“They are in a tough situation I understand both sides,” said Badon.

Housing advocates say the only hope now is for President Biden to extend the moratorium, but the state could act too.

“We’re hoping the governor will issue a state wide ban on evictions,” said Hill.

But some say those options are long shots

“There are jobs out there and vaccinations are going up and I don’t think it’s going to be extended and evictions will proceed,” said Badon.

Badon says it’s important for renters to begin a dialogue with their landlords now, before they wind up in court, and possibly, on the street.

The New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center and New Orleans legal services stand ready to help tenant facing evictions. Legal services number is (504) 529-1000. New Orleans fair Housing is (504) 596-2100.

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