Evictions In Tulsa Continue To Rise Despite Tenant Protections

Thursday, September 24th 2020, 6:15 pm
By: Jordan Tidwell

TULSA, Okla. -

Protections are in place to prevent people from being evicted from their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, but area advocates said it's still a problem in Tulsa County. 

The CDC has put an eviction moratorium in place, meaning people are not allowed to be evicted from your home.

With the CARES Act now expired, however, many are struggling to pay their rent and facing eviction. 

Eric Hallett, the coordinator of Housing Advocacy for Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, said it's something he sees happening every day.

"For next week we're looking at 100 families a day facing evictions in Tulsa County," he said. 

The eviction moratorium was put into place on September 4 and prevents landlords from removing someone from their home, but evictions are still happening. 

Katie Dilks, the executive director of Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation, said in the first 20 days of September, there's been a 20% increase in eviction filings in Tulsa County.

"So, what's happening now where people are still getting evicted, is that's only been enforced if people actually show up to court," Dilks said. 

Dilks said only 50% of people who have evictions filed against them show up to court.

With the moratorium, you have to sign a declaration saying you cannot pay your rent and give it to the judge, but when you don’t go, there's a default judgement ruled in favor of the landlord. 

"If you have an eviction notice, if you have been summoned to court, go. Go, go go, because that is your last chance to avoid eviction and right now you can because we have these in place," Dilks said. 

Hallet said in addition to letting people who can’t pay their rent stay in their homes, the moratorium will also help stop the spread of coronavirus. 

"They did that because they want to slow the spread of coronavirus, and when people become homeless, or have to double up with other families, that is going to spread coronavirus," he said. 

The moratorium will be in effect until the end of the year.