How Oklahoma evictions could increase after July

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A federal freeze on most evictions that was enacted last year is expected to expire on July 31, after the Biden administration extended the date by one month. The moratorium, put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September, has been the only tool allowing millions of tenants to stay in their homes. Many of them lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic and were months behind on their rent. The owners successfully challenged the order in court, arguing that they also had bills to pay. They pointed out that tenants could access more than $ 45 billion in federal money set aside to help pay rent and related expenses. Tenant advocates say the cash flow has been slow and it takes longer to distribute it and reimburse landlords. Without an extension, they feared an upsurge in evictions and lawsuits aimed at evicting late renters. As of June 7, about 3.2 million people in the United States said they would face eviction within the next two months, according to the US Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. The survey measures the social and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic every two weeks using online responses from a representative sample of American households. Here is the situation in Oklahoma: What is the status of the moratoriums on evictions in the state? Oklahoma has not enacted its own moratorium on evictions, so when the CDC expires, thousands of tenants will lose their protection. Before the CDC’s moratorium came into effect, the Oklahoma Supreme Court required anyone filing an eviction application to include an affidavit indicating whether tenants were protected from eviction under the federal CARES Act, which provided for eviction guarantees before the entry into force of the CDC moratorium. Help people threatened with eviction? Oklahoma set aside $ 260 million in federal funding last December to help with emergency rent assistance, according to Katie Dilks, executive director of the Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation, a nonprofit. who develops policy initiatives that expand access to justice for low-income Oklahoma residents. Rent assistance is distributed in Oklahoma by two groups: Community Cares Partners in Oklahoma City, which covers 57 counties in central and western Oklahoma, and Restore Hope in Tulsa, which oversees 20 northern counties. -est state. So far, Community Cares has distributed over $ 20 million in aid to nearly 6,000 households, while Restore Hope has distributed over $ 4 million to over 900 households. The state has also used about $ 1.3 million to provide legal representation to those facing deportation, Dilks says. There are employees in each of Oklahoma’s 18 legal aid offices who are at least partially paid with federal funds, Dilks said. How do the courts deal with eviction hearings? Despite the CDC’s moratorium, more than 14,227 evictions have been granted by Oklahoma courts since March 2020, according to Open Justice Oklahoma, a program of the Oklahoma Policy Institute, a Tulsa-based think tank. Dilks, with the Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation, said that because the moratorium only protects tenants from eviction for non-payment of rent, many landlords have requested evictions for other reasons, alleging violations lease or property damage. In some cases, Dilks said evictions were granted because tenants never appeared in court to argue they were protected from eviction. “The vast majority of people who have evictions filed against them, especially in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, don’t bother going to court for various reasons,” Dilks said. “They don’t have enough notice. They cannot take time off work. They can’t find daycare. They can’t find a means of transportation. Or, quite frankly, before the moratorium and the current protections existed, they knew they were going to lose. It was now important to go to court because the rules were really different. »How affordable is housing in the state’s major rental markets? Although Oklahoma City has the lowest overall median rent among the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas, at $ 834 per month according to a June report from Realtor.com, costs are rising in part due to a lack of affordable housing. The median monthly rent in the Oklahoma City area has increased 5.6% over the past year, according to Realtor.com. Median rents for a two-bedroom apartment in the Oklahoma City area were $ 895, 4.7% higher than the previous year. Should evictions create an increase in homelessness? It’s hard to say how much homelessness will increase in Oklahoma. Dilks said she and other advocates expect homelessness to increase due to the tight rental market and lack of affordable housing. Census data shows that nearly 44,000 state residents said it was “quite likely” that they could be deported within the next two months.

A federal freeze on most evictions that was enacted last year is expected to expire on July 31, after the Biden administration extended the date by one month. The moratorium, put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September, has been the only tool allowing millions of tenants to stay in their homes. Many of them lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic and were months behind on their rent.

The owners successfully challenged the order in court, arguing that they also had bills to pay. They pointed out that tenants could access more than $ 45 billion in federal funds set aside to help pay rent and related expenses.

Tenant advocates say the cash flow has been slow and it takes longer to distribute it and reimburse landlords. Without an extension, they feared an upsurge in evictions and lawsuits aimed at evicting late renters.

As of June 7, about 3.2 million people in the United States said they would face eviction within the next two months, according to the US Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. The survey measures the social and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic every two weeks using online responses from a representative sample of American households.

Here is the situation in Oklahoma:

What is the status of moratoriums on evictions in the state?

Oklahoma has not enacted its own moratorium on evictions, so when the CDC expires, thousands of tenants will lose their protection. Before the CDC’s moratorium came into effect, the Oklahoma Supreme Court required anyone filing an eviction application to include an affidavit indicating whether tenants were protected from eviction under the federal CARES Act, which provided for eviction guarantees before the entry into force of the CDC moratorium.

What is being done to help people threatened with deportation?

Oklahoma set aside $ 260 million in federal funding last December to help with emergency rent assistance, according to Katie Dilks, executive director of the Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation, a nonprofit. who develops policy initiatives that expand access to justice for low-income Oklahoma residents.

Rent assistance is distributed in Oklahoma by two groups: Community Cares Partners in Oklahoma City, which covers 57 counties in central and western Oklahoma, and Restore Hope in Tulsa, which oversees 20 northern counties. -est state. So far, Community Cares has distributed over $ 20 million in aid to nearly 6,000 households, while Restore Hope has distributed over $ 4 million to over 900 households.

The state also used about $ 1.3 million to provide legal representation to those facing deportation, Dilks said. There are employees in each of Oklahoma’s 18 legal aid offices who are at least partially paid with federal funds, Dilks said.

How do the courts deal with eviction hearings?

Despite the CDC’s moratorium, more than 14,227 evictions have been granted by Oklahoma courts since March 2020, according to Open Justice Oklahoma, a program of the Oklahoma Policy Institute, a Tulsa-based think tank.

Dilks, with the Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation, said that because the moratorium only protects tenants against eviction for non-payment of rent, many landlords have requested evictions for other reasons, alleging violations lease or property damage.

In some cases, Dilks said evictions were granted because tenants never appeared in court to argue that they were protected from eviction.

“The vast majority of people who are subject to evictions, especially in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, don’t bother to go to court for a variety of reasons,” Dilks said. “They don’t have enough notice. They cannot take time off work. They can’t find daycare. They can’t find a means of transportation. Or, quite frankly, before the moratorium and the current protections existed, they knew they were going to lose.

“It made a real challenge when the moratorium was put in place to let people know and let them know how important it was now to go to court because the rules were so different.”

How affordable is housing in the state’s major rental markets?

Although Oklahoma City has the lowest overall median rent among the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas, at $ 834 per month according to a June report from Realtor.com, costs are rising in part because of a lack of affordable housing. .

In May, the median monthly rent in the Oklahoma City area had increased 5.6% over the past year, according to Realtor.com. Median rents for a two-bedroom apartment in the Oklahoma City area were $ 895, 4.7% higher than the previous year.

Should evictions create an increase in the number of homeless people?

It’s hard to say how much homelessness will increase in Oklahoma. Dilks said she and other advocates expect homelessness to increase due to the tight rental market and lack of affordable housing. Census data shows that nearly 44,000 state residents said it was “quite likely” that they could be deported within the next two months.


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