TU Law Studies Compares Eviction Statistics Before, After COVID-19

Tuesday, June 9th 2020, 9:56 pm

TULSA, Okla. -

Thousands of families in Tulsa County are at risk of being evicted from their homes and apartments.

Eviction hearings resumed last week for the first time since the courts closed on March 16th due to COVID-19.

University of Tulsa law students studied eviction cases in the county this year so far. Their professor said COVID-19 is making an existing problem, even worse.

TU law students researching Tulsa County's eviction docket, said thousands of cases have been filed this year so far.

Their breakdown shows in January, before COVID restrictions, there were 1,395 cases on the docket.

97 percent of those were because of past-due rent.

"You can lose your home for as little as $50. It really doesn't take much to get evicted," TU Assistant Clinical Professor Roni Amit said.

Amit said they're expecting an increase in evictions because of COVID-19.

"They've moved the location of eviction proceedings to a larger building so they can implement social distancing, which is really important, and I want to commend the court for doing that," Amit said.

Amit said it's not clear if tenants have been notified of that change of location.

About two-thirds of tenants didn't show up to their afternoon hearings in January.

Amit said the in-and-outs of court can be confusing for people who don't have any experience with the process.

She said landlords don't need to give the court much proof or evidence, especially when a tenant doesn't show up.

She said two percent of those 1,395 cases in January, Landlords gave no reason for the evictions.

TU said their findings show only two of renters out of those 1,395 got a judgment in their favor.

"Once you get to eviction court, it's almost too late. There's very little that can be done once you're in eviction court," Amit said.

Read the full report by clicking here.