Thousands of Eviction Cases Still on Hold Across Metro Atlanta

July 20, 2020

Thousands of eviction cases in metro Atlanta will remain on hold as officials in the region’s largest counties ruled this week to suspend in-person eviction hearings for at least another month.

In a letter Wednesday, Chief Magistrate Judge Brendan Murphy wrote that “since that decision was made, the COVID-19 situation in our Cobb County has significantly changed.”

Landlords can still file for eviction against tenants during the pandemic. Fulton County’s Chief Magistrate Judge Cassandra Kirk wrote in a recent order that 6,500 evictions had been filed since mid-March, and an additional 2,500 cases were pending before the pandemic hit. 

A tenant cannot be legally evicted and removed from their home, however, until their case goes through the court system and a judge formally rules the eviction can take place. 

Lindsey Siegel, an attorney for Atlanta Legal Aid, welcomed the extended hold on in-person hearings. 

“We’ve been very concerned that no matter what additional protections courthouses put in place, just getting people into space where there’s not a lot of ventilation, and there’s more than one case being heard at a time … all of that puts people at risk,” Siegel said. Atlanta Legal Aid represents low-income clients in court cases, including many facing evictions.

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