Atlanta-area judge enacts countywide eviction moratorium
A metro Atlanta judge enacted a ban on evictions in DeKalb County for 60 days that went into effect when the federal eviction moratorium expired at midnight on Saturday.
DeKalb Chief Superior Court Judge Asha Jackson filed an emergency order on Friday that would establish a ban on evictions in the county for 60 days, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The order, which took effect at midnight on Saturday, was based on the continued threat of COVID-19 and the cyberattack earlier this year that was aimed at DeKalb's Tenant-Landlord Assistance Coalition, which slowed the issuance of federal aid.
Michael Thurmond, the CEO of DeKalb, said the emergency order was a "godsend."
"Without this local extension to the [federal] moratorium, thousands of DeKalb residents faced the stark reality of having their belongings set out on the street in the midst of surging COVID-19 infection rates," he said in a statement, according to the newspaper.
The federal eviction moratorium officially expired at midnight on Saturday, putting millions of Americans at risk of being driven out of their homes even as COVID-19 cases are beginning to spike largely because of the highly infectious delta variant.
Tenets in DeKalb County owe an estimated $50 million in rent, according to the emergency order, cited by the Journal-Constitution.
Approximately 145 previously scheduled writs for eviction would have been processed if the moratorium were not extended, according to the order. There are around 1,651 writs for eviction currently pending in the DeKalb County marshal's office.
DeKalb has allocated roughly 11 percent of the $31 million it set aside for rental and utility assistance, according to the newspaper. The county reportedly aided 763 households, but 1,657 applications are still pending.
President Biden and House Democrats pushed for the moratorium to be extended, but the House adjourned for recess on Friday without having the votes needed to continue the ban on evictions.
Once it was clear that the House would not have the means to pass an extension, Biden urged local governments to use federal funds to block evictions.