Some lawyers said they are not necessarily expecting a deluge of new cases to hit at once, but predicted a steady uptick as the weeks go by — with wide variations based on the state, or even the county, where a renter lives.
“I was in court in Mecklenburg County this morning, and the judges were taking eviction cases today,” said Isaac Sturgill, a housing lawyer with Legal Aid of North Carolina, referring to the county that contains Charlotte. “But it can look a lot different depending what county you are in.”
In Ohio, housing court judges in some counties have long acted as if the C.D.C. moratorium never happened. In Cincinnati, some judges this spring began allowing landlords to evict tenants for failing to pay rent, after a federal judge ruled that the C.D.C. moratorium was unconstitutional.
Those judges began to pause the evictions only after the Supreme Court in June rejected a challenge from landlords to the moratorium.
“Evictions have been proceeding on and off for a couple of months,” said Nicholas DiNardo, managing lawyer with Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, which includes Cincinnati. He said the court dockets for evictions are rapidly filling up again, with about 75 cases a day in Cincinnati for the next three weeks.
But a chronic complaint from legal aid lawyers and landlords alike is that the process of applying for rental assistance is too cumbersome and that Washington underestimated the negative effect of creating a painstaking process intended to combat fraud.
In Jacksonville, Fla., there is a backlog of several thousand applications for rental assistance, which is making it difficult for other renters facing eviction to apply for help.
“Not enough thought was given to the time needed to process these applications, and there was not enough trained staff,” said Mary DeVries, head of the housing unit for Jacksonville Area Legal Aid.