ATLANTA - The Centers for Disease Control issued a stay on evictions through the end of the year. But, yet, just this week we saw a mass eviction at an extended-stay motel.
First let’s review what this new stay means. The CDC issued an unusual extension of the moratorium on evictions to prevent spread of COVID-19. This runs from September 4 to December 31.
Some things to know: Your pending eviction has to be the result of being unable to pay your rent due to the pandemic. Still, pay what you can! This is not a license to quit paying rent.
The income limit here is $99,000 for a single tax filer, for couples filing jointly it’s $198,000. This captures a lot of families. You also have to affirm you will be homeless if evicted.
Here’s where this gets muddy. Just this week Fox 5 reported that Efficiency Lodge, an extended stay motel, on Flat Shoals Road was kicking out about a dozen families staying at the motel. They were forcing them to leave over non-payment.
Fox 5 talked to the Housing Justice League. I talked personally with Atlanta Legal Aid and DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson who firmly believe this was an illegal eviction; nonetheless, they were kicked out.
According to Atlanta Legal Aid, if someone is staying at an extended stay hotel for 90 consecutive days they are no longer paying an occupancy tax and are now considered tenants. We are told some of these families have been living here for years.
I found a blog post from the Georgia consumer affairs department that addressed this back in April. It reads that under these conditions, extended-stay hotels, which it refers to as “landlords” can’t just kick people out. They must goes through the official evictions process.
So these families are out. Churches and other organizations are helping out. But, this won’t be the last time this happens, we suspect. So legal experts are asking the courts to quickly rule.
But, Commissioner Johnson said in DeKalb County this is clear: Neither the marshall’s office, the police department, nor the sheriff’s office will participate in removing people from extended stay residences for non-payment under the CDC moratorium.