TULSA, Okla. — A federal judge in Washington D.C. ruled the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention didn’t have proper authority from Congress to issue an eviction moratorium.
The halt on evictions was to help those struggling to pay rent as a result of the pandemic.
Now, the judge's order is on hold until at least May 16 as the Department of Justice files an appeal. It gives those struggling to pay rent more time.
“This may sound scary, but the resources that are available to help are exactly the same and are still available," said Katie Dilks, executive director of Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation.
Dilks believes there are about 1,000 eviction cases in Tulsa on pause due to the moratorium. She said families should continue seeking rental assistance through restore hope.
“When people are behind on their rent, through no fault of their own, and there are resources available to pay it, the best thing for those renters, and for those landlords, is just to connect with that money so those bills can be paid so those landlords can maintain their properties," Dilks said.
The eviction moratorium was set to expire June 30. While possibly ending it before that could pose a problem for renters, it could also become an issue for the courts.
“One really unanswered question at this point is how the court is going to deal with needing to reschedule all of those cases," Dilks said. "Which is something they were going to have to tackle anyway whenever the moratorium lifted, it’s just we all thought we had until the end of June.”
Dilks said there’s a chance Congress could extend the moratorium. If you ever are facing eviction, she said to never miss a court date and reach out for legal help.
“It’s really important, I think, just to provide an avenue for people to take a breathe and connect with the resources that can help right now," Dilks said.
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