DeKalb County judge issues emergency 60-day moratorium on evictions

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A DeKalb County judge has issued an emergency 60-day moratorium on evictions.

As of 11:59 p.m. Saturday, the CDC’s federal moratorium on evictions expired, leaving both tenants and property owners in limbo.

“This emergency order is a Godsend,” DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said. “Without this local extension to the CDC moratorium, thousands of DeKalb residents faced the stark reality of having their belongings set out on the street in the midst of surging COVID-19 infection rates.”

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Thurmond said he is aware of the burden this will cause for landlords, so he will propose a revised rental reimbursement program at a county meeting on August 3.

The program would pay landlords back 100% up to 12 months. The current policy caps the amount of past due rent that can be paid to landlords at 60%.

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According to Judge Jackson’s order, the judicial emergency declaration in the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit is authorized pursuant to O.C.G.A. §38-3-61 because of the “continued COVID-19 public health emergency and cyberattack on the TLAC (Tenant-Landlord Assistance Coalition) program, which delayed relief targeted at parties to dispossessory proceedings.”

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The county learned of an international cyberattack that impacted the TLAC program in March.

Due to the cyberattack and the ongoing federal investigation, the county did not have access to pending applications, emails or documents submitted to TLAC prior to the date of the attack.

The TLAC application process was reopened on a more secure platform on June 21, 2021.

There are currently 1,657 pending applications that have been submitted by tenants and landlords.

As of July 29, TLAC has distributed $3.45 million, or 11%, of the $31 million that was allocated for rental and utility assistance to 763 DeKalb households. Since the relaunch, the county has paid out approximately $460,000 per week in assistance.