NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— The federal eviction moratorium was extended to October 3rd to prevent people getting put out for non-payment of rent, not only in New Orleans but around the country.
Today at Joe Brown Park, the effort continued to try and help folks applying for rental assistance through the city’s programs and the amount of people applying remains high
Marjorianna Willman, NOLA Director of Housing Policy and Community Development said, “Oh, so far about 16,000 and it continues to increase.”
Also on hand today was Clerk of Civil District Court Austin Badon who stated, “I’m actually giving all of the tenants the federal declaration that they are responsible for to give to their landlords which helps them to not be evicted.”
Badon says that these declarations were around during the initial moratorium, but have been revived in the extension. He also says that in spite of the moratorium his office has orders to schedule evictions.
“I was directed the other day to start scheduling court dates so what’s going to happen is evictions can proceed and will proceed. The judges are going to receive those eviction dockets and they’re going to decide at that moment whether they can hear the case and if they can hear the case, they will do so that day or it will be continued until after the moratorium expires,” said Badon.
Some tenants, like Stacy LeBlanc are already having trouble with landlords. According to LeBlanc, “I went to Georgia by my daughter for a couple of days and when the door locks were changed, so I couldn’t use the key.”
LeBlanc sought legal aid and managed to stay in her unit but is seeking rental assistance WGNO legal analyst Cliff Cardone offer this advice for all parties:
“The best practice from a landlord standpoint and a tenant standpoint is an open discussion. Talk to the tenant; tenants talk to your landlord and see if you can work out a payment plan, avoid litigation.”
Kirk Britton is a tenant seeking help, but he also is in dialogue with his landlord, “She’s been good. I’ve been at the same address over 2 years so we have a little rapport going so she’s been good.”
Badon went on to explain that the direction to schedule court dates came from the Chief Judge of Civil District Court.
Infractions like damaging property, and illegal activity, by themselves or coupled with non-payment of rent could get one evicted before the moratorium expires.
He also stated that the decision was driven by the high number of cases currently awaiting litigation.