Tulsa Co. Leaders See Increase In Unlawful Evictions
TULSA COUNTY, Oklahoma - Tulsa County leaders and local nonprofits are warning about unlawful evictions.
Right now, the county has a 14-day moratorium on evictions, but some landlords are ignoring it.
Tulsa County leaders said landlords have filed for hundreds of evictions since last Monday. For many people, especially those out of work, it's making a scary situation even worse.
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With so many job losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's tough enough. Now for many struggling to pay rent it's getting worse.
"We have a crisis of evictions already, even before the COVID-19 crisis hit," Restore Hope Ministries Homeless Prevention Initiative Executive Director Jeff Jaynes said.
The Princeton University Eviction Lab shows Tulsa has the 11th highest eviction rate in the nation, before COVID-19.
Jaynes said me they're getting many calls right now from people who are either being threatened with eviction or are being locked out of their home.
"Without any kind of legal recourse, without going to the judge first, which is wrong on several levels. It's illegal, but it's also immoral at this point," Jaynes said.
Tulsa County said more than 350 evictions were filed in the last ten days. But under a county order, no eviction hearings can be held until at least April 15th.
"If you receive an eviction or foreclosure notice, don't move out until you are told to do so by a court or a law enforcement official," Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith said.
Jaynes said most of the local landlords aren't an issue right now, it's a few out-of-state owners. He said landlords should weigh the circumstances, and the impact, of evicting people from their homes during a national crisis.
"This is a time when we need to do what's appropriate, what's right, what's moral, and think about those things above the other motives that we might have, for those things," Jaynes said.
Restore Hope, and the county, say you can get legal help by calling 2-1-1.