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Landlords can once again evict tenants who don't pay rent as ban expires

At this point, it is not expected that a moratorium will be put back in place.

NEW ORLEANS —
Landlords can now evict tenants for not paying rent after the CDC's nationwide eviction ban expired this weekend. The moratorium was put in place last year to help tenants struggling due to the pandemic and to prevent further spread of COVID by putting people on the streets and into shelters. 

"Washington dropped the ball on this," Orleans Parish First City Court Clerk Austin Badon said. "They knew it was coming, they knew we had a problem, and they saw an explosion from the Delta variant coming about and the data clearly shows that when you have a possibility for evictions and people are being evicted, the numbers spike."

Badon already has a pile of 400 eviction petitions on his desk ready to be filed with likely many, many more on the way.

"I have one landlord who says he's bringing in over 300 evictions on his own," he said. "The vast majority of landlords in New Orleans and Baton Rouge area are mom and pops and they financially can't sustain it anymore because they have the taxes, insurance, water bills."

At this point, it is not expected that a moratorium will be put back in place.

"At some point, the rent moratorium has to stop. If you're a landlord, at some point you have to collect rent," Senator Bill Cassidy said. "If you look at the financial support congress has given to the unemployed, I figured it out, from March to March, the amount of support a family of four receives is $70,000 to $110,000."

President Biden is calling on state and local governments to disburse emergency rental assistance funding to landlords and tenants. 

"I call on all state and local governments to take all possible steps to immediately disburse these funds given the imminent ending of the CDC eviction moratorium. State and local governments began receiving Emergency Rental Assistance funding in February and were eligible for an additional $21.5 billion passed in the American Rescue Plan. Five months later, with localities across the nation showing that they can deliver funds effectively – there can be no excuse for any state or locality not accelerating funds to landlords and tenants that have been hurt during this pandemic," President Biden said in a written statement Friday.

Both tenants and landlords have expressed frustration as they've struggled to get that assistance. 

"There has been such a huge roadblock of getting the money out to the states as well as to the landlords," Badon said. 

The City of New Orleans' Rental Assistance Program has exhausted its funds for now. 

"I expect people to be very desperate for assistance and we know that," said Marjorianna Willman who is Director of the city's Office of Housing Policy and Community Development. "I do think our partners at the state level will move very quickly to try to release funds."

For those at risk, talk to your landlords about a payment plan. 

"Let them know you have applied for rental assistance, let them know you are applying for work, and perhaps they will be more lenient," Willman said. 

The city's Rental Assistance Program is hosting a community event in two weeks to help tenants to apply for funding. It's scheduled for August 10-12 at Joe Brown Park. 

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