Evictions ARE Happening During Covid

Word on the street is evictions are off the table. Landlords frequently call with the impression that they are stuck with problem tenants. The federal government certainly extended the eviction moratorium through early October. Despite that, we have handled more evictions this year than any other time — and the judges are granting them.

If you have a problem tenant, the time is right to move forward with an eviction. The government has extended the eviction ban for nearly two years at about one month at a time. It is unlikely any immediate end is in sight.

Expect at least another two extensions by the government. I doubt they will allow evictions to resume with the onset of winter and cold weather in many parts of the country. My best guess is they will keep the stay in effect until at least March 2022.

What most people (and some judges) do not realize is the so-called ban only covers evictions for nonpayment of rent when the tenant claims their situation was caused by the Covid pandemic. There is a specific affidavit the tenant has to execute. We have challenged the accuracy of many of those forms. It is surprising that people will sign the affidavits without actually reading them. When we ask them for specifics, the usual response is that they only understood they were required to sign the form, but they never bothered to actually read it.

If the tenant cannot show a work loss or other problem from Covid, the judge will let the eviction go on, regardless. The government ban is not absolute.

The ban does not protect against non-rent related issues. Nuisance tenants and people who don’t live up to the other provisions of the lease are still fair game. The first step we usually take with an eviction these days is to send an investigator to the location and do an inspection. If the tenant refuses inspection, that is usually a ground for immediate eviction. 

It is also amazing what inspections turn up. The lease may prohibit pets at the location, and they may have several animals running around. Many leases prohibit smoking. Our investigator has found lots of lease violations.

Despite the perception from the news media, judges are ready to help with problem situations. Things are much more complex than before. In the good old days, all the landlord had to do was show up in court and say the tenant was behind on rent. We can usually get to the same result. It just takes more work and creativity.

The Biden eviction ban is having trouble with the courts as well. The US Supreme Court recently struck down the previous version of the moratorium. Basically, they did not believe the CDC had the authority to institute a nationwide moratorium. The current version is slightly different than the one the court struck down, but it is doubtful it will survive any scrutiny.

The Gouner Law Office has been very successful with evictions. Contact us today if you need help with one of these. 

Written by Greg Gouner

May we help you with a legal situation? To schedule a private consultation, call the Gouner Law Office at 225-293-6200 or toll free 800-404-1921You can also fill out our contact form.

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