SHREVEPORT, La. — On Sept. 4, the CDC director issued an order to temporarily halt evictions in the United States for people financially affected by COVID-19.
That order was set to expire on Dec. 31 and has since been extended twice, with the latest extension date being March 31.
One woman met the guidelines to stay in her home but did not fill out the proper form to do so. On Tuesday, she was evicted.
Many people who are getting evicted because of financial strain from the pandemic are unaware of the form that needs to be presented to landlords to halt the eviction process.
That is the case for Wazeerah Moore. She said Corridor Apartments in Shreveport issued eviction papers on Jan. 20. Moore went to court on or around Jan. 26. Tuesday, Deputy Harris with the Caddo Parish Constable's Office knocked on Moore’s door and enforced a judgement of eviction.
Moore says that despite being late on rent, she was making payments, including the late fees from past months. She said that up to this point, February was the only month she was behind on.
The moratorium order states once a resident submits the paperwork to halt their eviction, the residential property owner cannot evict if they are facing hardship because of the pandemic.
Moore spoke with property management about the eviction. She said management did not want her gone, but she said she was given a timeframe of when she would be able to pay and was told it was unacceptable.
Unfortunately, Moore did not previously submit the paperwork needed to halt her eviction. She said she did not know about the document or that she had to assert her rights of moratorium protection during her January court hearing.
KTBS asked a woman at the apartment complex office if Moore could stay if she filled out the paperwork on the same day. After putting the phone on hold multiple times while assuring KTBS that she was looking for an answer, the woman refused to comment.
Although this moratorium is in place, it does not mean everyone is exempt from being evicted.
“Now, this is only a landlord filing an eviction for non-payment of rent. It does not exempt people from violations of their lease. So, if the landlord is evicting someone for something other than non-payment because the person violated the lease, then this moratorium won't apply to them in that case either,“ according to Shreveport interim city court clerk Bill Whiteside.
Whiteside also said that just because the eviction process is stopped it does not automatically prevent a landlord from filing a civil suit. It also does not exempt tenants from making payments. After the moratorium order is lifted, all back rent will be due.
The criteria to qualify for the COVID-19 “eviction halt” moratorium are as follows:
- The individual has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing.
- The individual either (i) expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for calendar year 2021 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), (ii) was not required to report any income in 2020 to the U.S. internal revenue service, or (iii) received an economic impact payment (stimulus check) pursuant to section 2201 of the cares act.
- The individual is unable to pay the full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses.
- The individual is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses; and
- Eviction would likely render the individual homeless—or force the individual to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting—because the individual has no other available housing options.
If any of the above apply to you, click HERE to access the form to submit to your landlord.
To view the 13-page CDC moratorium order, click HERE.