Thousands Brace For Eviction Moratorium To Come To An End

CHARLOTTE, NC – Confusion and worry for thousands of people in Mecklenburg County and across North Carolina as eviction looms.

State evictions were put on hold when the pandemic began. But beginning Thursday, the moratorium runs out and the court proceedings can move forward.

Providing a last minute lifeline for some is a federal eviction moratorium that keeps protections in place.

“Many of these are hardworking folks who haven’t been in this situation before and are now having to deal with it,” said Juan Hernandez, an attorney with the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy.

He says the state eviction moratorium expiring on Thursday means fewer protections for some people. It comes at a time when their office is receiving about six times more calls for help than two years ago.

“It prevents the eviction, the physical eviction from happening. However, that does not prevent the landlord from filing evictions,” said Hernandez.

Right now, thousands of eviction cases are on pause in district court.

Once the moratorium is lifted then the cases can continue. People will likely be locked out within 30 to 45 days.

“That’s when the rent really comes due. And that’s when the people will start having to count days until the sheriff does a lock out,” explained Hernandez.

But the federal CDC moratorium remains in place until the end of July. Delaying the start of many eviction hearings. But only for those who qualify:

– Received a federal stimulus check

OR

– Were not required to report income to the IRS in 2020

OR

– Earn less than $99,000 per year, AND cannot make rent due to lost income

Time is ticking. And  Hernandez says the impact is taking a toll on people he works with.

“I do see people getting tired. I see a weariness to them that I wasn’t seeing previously,” said Hernandez.

The CDC director said this week that the latest eviction moratorium extension, which expires on July 31st would be the last.