Tsunami of evictions on the horizon if Congress fails to act

The federal moratorium on evictions has expired. If that’s not extended, by mid-August, eviction notices will be activated. 

Jobs have not returned for everybody. If they have, income levels aren’t necessarily the same. Some unemployment options are gone for 25 million people. And now this: Let’s look at the numbers. 

new study by market evaluators finds that in Georgia 46 percent of renter households will face a shortfall. That’s above the national average at 40 percent. At the top end, you see West Virginia at 59 percent, Vermont at 22 percent. 

These trends run across all socioeconomic bands, Bankhead to Buckhead. Lots of families rent, lots of families have a shortfall in income. 

Georgia ACT, a housing advocacy group that offers workshops and financial assistance, has seen its request for rental help go from three to four a week to as many as 25 a day now, and the eviction tsunami hasn’t even started. 

"We talked about a medical doctor having been affected by this pandemic,” Bambi Hayes-Brown of Georgia ACT told the FOX 5 I-Team. “We have people in the Lenox area, so it has just gone across the gamut. People of all income ranges who are now needing help and needing assistance.”

What do you do if you get an eviction notice? Don’t ignore it. Do. Not. Ignore. It. That’s the worse thing you can do. Georgia’s eviction process can be swift. Here is advice from Atlanta Legal Aid. 

You can be served with an eviction notice one day after your rent is late. When you are served, you have seven days to respond. You can respond by going to the courthouse or going online. The warrant should have instructions. 

If you don’t answer, you get no court date. Now the process is sped up. The landlord has the legal right to apply to have you removed immediately. A marshal could in theory arrive the next day and remove your things for you, but they are way behind. 

This is a two-way street. I get it. Landlords are operating businesses, too. When you don’t pay they don’t get paid. But I will tell you that getting involved in the process buys you time. On average it’s taking three-six weeks to have you removed. 

But know that if you can work this out with your landlord, that’s beneficial to you and to them. So keep the lines of communication open. 

Call Legal Aid. If you are in the immediate metro area call Atlanta Legal Aid: Atlanta, Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Clayton and Gwinnett. Counties. Outside of that area, call Georgia Legal Services.