Why the eviction moratorium extension does not apply to Tennessee

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)-More than 70 families were on the docket for eviction court today.

Even though the CDC extended the eviction moratorium through October of this year, the sixth court ruled that it was unconstitutional-which means families in Tennessee had to deal with eviction court this morning.

Tears, pleas and sometimes arguing filled the courtroom as Judge Gary Starnes heard from a host of families today.

Some of the cases that Judge Starnes heard this morning have been on the docket for more than 15 months.

Nathina Chhetri faced her landlord for over 10 years.

He said that she owed him more than $5000 in rent.

Chhetri says that she offered to pay more than $3000 during the lock down.

After hearing both sides of the argument, the judge ruled that she didn’t owe any money.

But, she has 10 days to move out.

Nathina Chhetri says, “I’ve always try to take care of my responsibilities, My bills and everything I need to do is to make sure that my children and I are taken care of. I offered to make sure the past due was taken care of and that it was paid and I was not just sitting in the home freeloading on him and just living and having free rent. That was not the case.”

Tennessee is not the only state that is affected by sixth circuit court of appeals decision.

Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan are also under the courts ruling. (Page 13 of below document)

[pdf-embedder url=”https://wdef.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Signed-CDC-Eviction-Order.pdf”]

We spoke to the city attorney who says that other courts in Tennessee might be finding differently.

Emily O’Donnell, the Chattanooga City Attorney says, “They might be waiting for an appeal or another decision. I really don’t know. I have only been in this courtroom today. So, I think that there are still a lot of things that are still unknown at this point.”

Judge Starnes says that eviction court is not a day that he looks forward to.

He suggests that families that are still struggling should look for unemployment because financial assistance may be running slow.

“I feel bad for all of these folks, the tenants and the landlords. It’s one of those situations where nobody put you in the situation, for whatever reason, wherever it came from, whatever, they are just in a bad situation and unfortunately, when it ends, which it has for Tennessee, you have to do something”, adds Starnes.

O’Donnell says that families and landlords , can still apply for THDA assistance.

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