As the national ban on evictions was ending, an Atlanta area judge enacted her own county-wide moratorium keeping landlords from removing tenants struggling to pay their rent because of the coronavirus pandemic.
DeKalb Chief Superior Court Judge Asha Jackson signed a new emergency order creating a ban on evictions throughout the county for another 60 days, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Sunday.
Jackson filed the order Friday. It took effect when the federal eviction ban expired Saturday.
“This emergency order is a godsend,” DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond said in a news release. “Without this local extension to the (federal) moratorium, thousands of DeKalb residents faced the stark reality of having their belongings set out on the street in the midst of surging COVID-19 infection rates.”
The judge’s order cited the continued COVID-19 public health emergency and a cyberattack that targeted DeKalb’s Tenant-Landlord Assistance Coalition earlier this year, which delayed distribution of federal aid for tenants and landlords.
Jackson wrote that DeKalb County tenants are estimated to be $50 million behind on rent payments and that 145 writs of eviction already had been scheduled to be executed in the county, while another 1,650 were pending with the local marshal’s office.
DeKalb has distributed about 11% of the $31 million allocated for rental and utility assistance, the newspaper reported. The county had helped 763 households, but still had 1,657 pending applications from tenants and landlords.
Though states and counties around the country have been slow to distribute available federal rental aid, DeKalb had the extra hurdle of recovering from a March cyberattack that wiped out many initial emails and applications for its assistance program.