Northeast Ohio sees spike in eviction cases filed ahead of CDC reinstatement of the eviction moratorium

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 7:03 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - 19 Investigates uncovered a big spike in evictions filed in parts of Northeast Ohio this week.

It’s what the experts said would happen when the CDC’s ban on evictions lifted at the end of July.

We were able to take a small-scale snapshot of what’s apparently happening nationwide.

You can search Elyria’s municipal court records online by case type.

That’s how we found out there have been more evictions filed in the city this week compared to weeks past when the old moratorium was in place.

Mike Selmon says he’s been waiting weeks for rent assistance to come through.

“I was told I was approved but the money is still not there yet,” he said.

He says he moved to Elyria this spring when he got a job as a truck driver. But, then in June, he had a heart attack and his health forced him out of the profession.

“It’s upsetting because I didn’t plan on none of this happening,” he said.

Selmon says he got a job in the fast-food industry to make ends meet, but just barely.

“Unfortunately I had to take a $5 an hour pay cut,” he said.

He says so far he’s had to spend every cent on car payments, medical bills, food, and essentials.

“I have no extra money for anything,” he told us.

This week, Selmon found out his landlord filed an eviction against him and three other families that live in his neighborhood, pretty much as soon as the CDC’s eviction moratorium lifted.

And 19 Investigates discovered they’re just a few of many.

Court records show that significantly more evictions were filed so far in Elyria this week, than in the first three days of every week in July.

But get this, right after Selmon found out about the cases filed against him on Wednesday, he learned that the CDC announced it was putting the moratorium back in place until October.

What does that mean?

It’s supposed to halt eviction cases like his against those who simply got behind on rent and are waiting for assistance.

“It makes me feel a little bit better,” Selmon said.

But, as housing advocates like Marcus Roth with the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio have explained to us all summer, an eviction can have a lasting impact on someone’s record, even if the person isn’t actually evicted.

“That’s why it’s so important that we do everything we can to prevent evictions from getting filed in the first place.,” Roth said.

Selmon was honestly shocked to find out that’s what’d happened in his case.

“They’ve known this whole time that I’ve been working on getting rent assistance,” he said.

His landlords did not want to go on camera.

Their attorney however told us however, that the office is “diligently communicating with their residents and have been regularly working with local agencies to help their tenants seek financial assistance.”

In the Census’s Bureau’s latest survey done in June, nearly 250,000 Ohio renters surveyed said they are not up to date on their rent payments.

In order for the moratorium to cover someone from being evicted, they must fill out the CDC declaration form.

19 Investigates compiled a list of applications for assistance, based on what county you live in:

You can look up instructions in any other Ohio County on the state’s website.

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