Supreme Court ruling on eviction moratorium and its impact on South Cobb
Many renters across South Cobb are bracing themselves for an expected rush on evictions following the U. S. Supreme Court’s ruling that ended the eviction moratorium.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s moratorium was the single measure holding landlords back from filing evictions with the courts to get tenants out who have not been able to keep up with rent because of financial hardships brought on by COVID-19. The original moratorium began in March 2020 as an effort by Congress to assist jobless workers from being evicted as the pandemic overtook the nation.
Many in the community say the moratorium was always on unsteady ground. They felt an end was near once it reached the highest court in the land. The Supreme Court judges voted 6-3 to end the federal moratorium and went on to say any new housing moratorium must be authorized by Congress. This is disappointing news to renters and to housing experts who say the need for assistance is still great. With this stopgap no longer in place and the delta variant out of control, thousands of people including families, seniors and the disabled could find themselves impacted as judges move forward in signing writs and marshals prepare to carry out evictions.
A group that has little sympathy for the moratorium ending is the Georgia Association of Realtors. They see the decision as a return to normalcy in their industry which includes mom-and-pop landlords who were forced to sit quietly each month because tenants could not pay their rent. The group issued a statement that said, “These landlords have shouldered the burden of the financial hardship caused by a lack of rental income for a year and a half.”
Renter housing advocate Monica Delancy reacted to the news of the moratorium ending by saying, “It is very unfortunate that evictions will take place during a pandemic. We will continue to inform residents about rental assistance and continue seek long term solutions to address housing needs for our essential workers, disabled residents, and single income households.”
Nearly $46 million in federal dollars have been allocated by the government, which is money that could go to landlords, but tenants are struggling with getting the system to release funds. The U.S. Department of the Treasury says that in Georgia, only 10% of the funds allocated has been spent as of end of July. If the money is not spent, it must be returned to the federal government. That deadline is quickly approaching.
Carrying out evictions will be determined by court and law enforcement staffing, which has also been impacted by COVID-19. In Cobb, Chief Magistrate Judge Brandon Murphy says evictions proceedings will resume, but not at full capacity due to COVID health restrictions. Murphy pointed to 60 eviction filings that were halted due to the moratorium that can now advance to hearings over the next couple of weeks. Cobb renters served with an eviction notice have seven days to respond. The Magistrate Court recommends that renters needing legal assistance should contact Cobb Legal Aid or the Cobb County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service.
Judge Murphy issued an update on evictions in Cobb. Click below to read his FAQ on the situation: