DeKalb County Superior Court Chief Judge Asha Jackson signed an emergency judicial order July 30, creating a countywide eviction moratorium for 60 days following the expiration of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moratorium.
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.”
“This emergency order is a Godsend,” DeKalb County CEO Michael L. 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.”
On Aug. 3, Thurmond will present to the DeKalb Board of Commissioners a revised rental reimbursement proposal that would pay landlords 100 percent of all past due rent up to 12 months and three months prospective rents for eligible tenants.
“I am aware that this extension will increase the financial burden and stress on landlords, especially our mom-and-pop owners,” Thurmond said.
The current TLAC policy caps the amount of past due rent that can be paid to landlords at 60% of the arrearages up to $10,000 and two months of prospective rent. If adopted by the Board of Commissioners, this revision will address a major complaint that has been raised by some landlords and tenant advocates.
Originally launched in February, TLAC designed to provide financial relief to DeKalb renters threatened by eviction and landlords facing revenue losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On March 24, DeKalb County’s Department of Innovation and Technology was informed by federal agents of an international cyberattack that impacted TLAC. 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. As of July 29, TLAC has distributed $3.45 million, or 11 percent, 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.
There are currently 1,657 pending applications that have submitted by tenants and landlords.
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, as of Aug. 3, 1,504 cases of COVID-19 were detected in DeKalb County in the last two weeks. In Georgia, there were 24,106 COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks.