NEW ORLEANS — In about a week, there will no longer be eviction protection for tenants. That's especially hard on the many people who are out of work due to the pandemic, so anyone at risk of eviction is encouraged to speak to their landlord, immediately.
"I'm not looking forward to this at all," said First City Court Clerk Austin Badon.
A surge of evictions is expected to be filed in New Orleans and across the country in about a week.
"This is another pandemic that might fall upon the city of New Orleans as well as other major cities across the United States," Badon said.
Badon began preparing his office for the influx starting August 25. That's when the 30-day notice ends since the CARES ACT expired. He' said he's expecting a surge in evictions next week.
"I've had one resident agent who already put us on notice that's he's bringing 250 evictions, so I'm going to extend hours. I'm training staff to handle the increased workload I'm anticipating," Badon said.
The clock is ticking, so Badon says now is the time for tenants who are at risk of eviction to speak with their landlords.
"Try to set up a payment plan. Try to work with (your) landlords on doing something, paying them something, because I understand both sides," Badon said. "The landlords are in a tough situation as well. They're afraid of losing their property, but I hate to see the possibility of families being put on the street and going through an eviction — especially when we're going through this pandemic right now."
The City of New Orleans is still accepting applications for its Rental Assistance Program, but funding is limited and will go to households with the greatest needs.
"Creating a city of homeless people is not the right way to approach this," said Davida Finger, Associate Dean of Students at Loyola College of Law. She's urging for new policies to protect renters and assist landlords during the pandemic.
"It's really a time where we can ill afford to see evictions. I stand behind our renters' rights advocates in the city who are calling for a new moratorium. I think that's the only viable solution right now," Finger said.
Housing advocates are calling on the state and federal government for a new moratorium on evictions.
"What this situation calls for is creative policy solutions. We need the owners to be able to maintain their property and to upkeep what they need to, and the solution is not putting renters out into the street," Finger said.
Lawmakers would have to act fast as current protections end in just over a week.
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