As Federal Eviction Protections Expire, Tenants In Metro Atlanta Feel The Effect
A federal law protecting many tenants from eviction expired this week.
Renters around Atlanta are noticing.
For Jasmine Nelson, the letter came as she approached one year in her Lithonia apartment.
“I was just really caught off guard with the whole thing,” she said.
Nelson is a cosmetologist who does hair. The building she worked in shut down with the pandemic. Then the Department of Labor denied her unemployment. Her appeal is still pending.
She said she’s tried to make money where she can.
“I was just finding clients to do at home so that I could make partial payments of my rent,” Nelson said.
She managed to cover about half of her $1,000 rent every month.
That is, until August.
She said her complex, the Life at Treeview, wouldn’t take her money anymore. Instead, it sent a 30-day notice. The letter said Nelson had to pay all she owed or leave.
Nelson was among tenants living in properties that were covered by the federal CARES Act. It prevented landlords with government-backed loans from filing evictions for five months.
But that time period has now passed.
“I do expect that we’re going to see a lot more of those in the coming weeks,” said Lindsey Siegel with Atlanta Legal Aid.
The CARES Act eviction moratorium was in place until July 24. After that point, it required landlords to send tenants a 30-day notice of eviction before filing their cases.
Siegel said her office has heard from a number of tenants who were able to make partial payments to their landlords until this past month.
“I think many landlords have decided they don’t want to work with tenants anymore to try to help people get caught up,” Siegel said.
If landlords allow incomplete rent amounts, that can jeopardize their ability to file eviction.
The Life at Treeview apartments did not respond to requests for comment.
The Atlanta Apartment Association said the landlords it represents continue to be flexible with tenants even after the expiration of the CARES Act moratorium.
According to the group, the priority of its members is to keep residents in their homes. But landlords are responsible for their own expenses, including mortgages and taxes.
The 30-day notice that Nelson, the tenant, received ends Friday. She said she doesn’t know how she could come up with the money she would need to move.
“I’m just really living on faith right now,” Nelson said.