MACON, Ga. — Time is running out on the CDC's eviction moratorium issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It's leaving families uncertain on where they'll call home once protections end.
Next week, landlords in Central Georgia could be handing out hundreds of eviction notices. Jesse Clark is one landlord who tried to file, but was stopped by the CDC's moratorium.
"It's very painful for landlords," said Clark.
He says after two years, his tenant stopped paying rent almost the very moment the moratorium was passed. He also says the tenant damaged his property, and without the right to evict, he's at a complete loss.
How much did it cost him?
"I am probably into about the $20,000 range," said Clark.
Now that the moratorium is almost over, he's relieved.
"The CDC is overstepping their guidelines on the 5th and 14th Amendment. It is a private contract between tenant and landlord, and they have no right to step in and tell them that we do not have the right to collect payment or eviction," he said.
To be protected as a renter, you had to have taken three steps.
- Sign the CDC Eviction declaration.
- Certify that your answers are true.
- Give the documents to your landlord.
Attorney Shannon Mills says renters still have time to get help.
"The Georgia Rental Assistance Program provides assistance directly to the landlord on behalf of the tenant, and the program is covering 12 months rent dating backward and three months of rent ahead of time," said Mills.
Despite the help, Mills says there's still cause for concern.
"I'm really concerned that we're going to have a lot of individuals with children who were preparing for school but can't go because they're unfortunately evicted, and that's going to be a sad sight," he said.
The Georgia Legal Services Program is helping residents who face eviction for free. You can also apply for the Georgia Rental Assistance Program here.