Memphis landlords and rental property owners can begin to evict nonpaying tenants again.
While an eviction moratorium has been in place for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a federal judge has struck down the CDC’s ban on evictions, allowing landlords to begin enforcing their rent collection and eviction policies again. Additional lawsuits that were filed claiming that the federal government overstepped its authority were also ruled in the favor of landlords.
What does this mean for you?
Courts Open to Eviction Filings
The decision is already being appealed, but a stay on evictions was rejected by a federal appeals court. And, in Memphis and Shelby County, which have always been generally landlord-friendly markets, eviction filings are already underway. If you have a tenant who has not paid rent and has shown no interest in working with you through partial payments, payment arrangements, or long-term agreements to catch up, you can get the necessary paperwork together in order to move towards an eviction lawsuit.
Housing advocates are worried that this will lead to a crisis of homelessness. However, we don’t think it has to be that way. Tenants who have struggled through the economic implications of the pandemic have been able to access government resources. Most of them have returned to work. We’ve found that tenants acting in good faith have been willing to work with landlords to get the rent paid and those residents aren’t going to be the first that landlords want to evict.
Expect an Eviction Backlog
If you have tenants who need to be evicted, don’t expect your case to be heard quickly. At the beginning of this year, Shelby County had a backlog of about 10,000 eviction cases. The federal court’s decision to overturn the CDC moratorium was announced in late March, and the two weeks that followed saw more eviction cases in Tennessee than were filed in the entire month of February.
It’s going to take some time for the courts to catch up, so make sure you’re using that time to get yourself organized. You should have a copy of your lease agreement, payment histories, and copies of any correspondence between you and your tenants. When it comes to evictions, tenants only win a contested case about two percent of the time. But, we don’t know how the courts will respond to the current situation.
Continue Working with Your Tenants to Get Rent Paid
We know that many landlords have done a great job of leveraging the good relationships they have with their residents during this crisis. If you’ve been a resource to them and you’ve been willing to work with them on collecting as much rent as possible, it’s probably a good idea to continue nurturing that relationship. They’re more likely to get caught up with the rent that is overdue if they know you’re not in a hurry to evict.
This is also an important time not to be making irresponsible and unnecessary mistakes. Protect yourself and your property by following the correct legal process. Work with a Memphis property management company so you can be sure you’re compliant and doing the best you can for yourself and your investment.
We’d be happy to help you through this unique time. Contact us at CrestCore Realty.