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1,200 pending eviction cases are piled up in Tulsa County

Free resources available to help landlords and tenants
Posted at 1:01 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 19:38:41-04

TULSA, Okla. — The number of pending eviction cases in Tulsa County has doubled over the past couple months since courts closed, according to Tulsa Housing Director Becky Gligo. To avoid a wave of evictions, Tulsa is offering free services to help landlords and tenants find a solution out of court.

Tulsa County courts will reopen May 18, which means eviction cases can once again be heard. 743 evictions have been filed in Tulsa County since March 15, according to Open Justice Oklahoma, bringing the total to more than 1,200 backed up in the court system.

Tyler Parette is the program manager with City Lights Foundation, a Tulsa-based homeless outreach program. He says the potential wave of evictions has been a growing possibility for the past three months.

"This has been the wave slowly building in the distance," Parette said. "It's been at the top of my mind."

Parette and Gligo say that number could be catastrophic for tenants and landlords in the county, and is urging both sides to find a solution out-of-court.

Tulsa County's Early Settlement Mediation Program is designed to help landlords and tenants come up with creative and practical solutions to balance costs and payments. Whether that's a payment plan, pushing back pay dates, or shifting finances, the program helps avoid costly court battles and evictions.

To reach the program, call (918) 596-7786.

If you get a notice or court paperwork for evictions from your landlord, 211 can provide you with legal resources. Gligo says 211 is the connection you'll need for any services related to housing and payment disputes.

If you live in public housing, section 8 housing, or federal veterans, disabled, senior, or rural housing, your landlord cannot evict you or file for eviction because of non-payment until July 25. No late fees can be charged.

Gligo says she has had several landlords reach out to ask how they can help their tenants avoid eviction, and tenants are looking for a way to fulfill their obligations. She says by avoiding a wave of evictions, already-crowded shelters can avoid a nightmare situation, and properties can stay afloat to keep people housed.

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