Lawmakers looking at eviction policy as moratorium comes to an end

Mike Seals - July 30, 2021 12:07 am

A federal moratorium on evictions ends this weekend and that has some worried about a potential surge of filings against people who struggled to pay rent throughout the pandemic.

On Monday, there are 87 eviction cases on the docket in Oklahoma County.

That is similar to dockets throughout this week.

“I definitely know that the numbers will increase,” said Ginny Carl from Community Cares Partners.

Community Cares has been able to help more than 9,000 households with rent, giving out more than $37 million in federal aid.

Carl says most landlords have been eager to work something out, but it’s the larger out-of-state property owners she worries are waiting for the moratorium to evict tenants.

“We’ve heard from landlords that come from out of state and say they like to have property here in Oklahoma, because we are so landlord friendly with our laws and policies,” Carl said.

“The preponderance of the evidence shows that it’s out-of-state folks that are doing the vast majority of the damage here,” said State Representative Forrest Bennett.

Bennett is working on a bipartisan study of the state’s landlord tenant law this year.

He believes the law favors landlords and allows them to use loopholes to easily evict people.

One specific change he’s looking at is to how they can charge fees on top of rent.

It could be a while before any new laws are passed.

In the meantime, Bennett worries about what will happen next week.

“I am profoundly concerned about what will happen,” Bennett said.

Community Cares Partners has 13 months left to spend about $160 million in aid.

Carl says she is confident they’ll use it all, with about 400 applications coming in each day.

Applications for rent assistance can be found on its website.

 

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