In Oklahoma There’s Money for Rental Assistance to Prevent Evictions

July 29, 2020

Some landlords refuse to accept rental assistance that would prevent their tenants’ evictions for a month or longer. A legal aid attorney and two service providers told Big If True that some landlords never followed the rule in the first place and filed evictions in violation of the CARES Act.

“The CARES Act protection really helped a lot of people, and as soon as it’s gone, we’re going to see those numbers go up in ways that we’ve never experienced,” said Becky Gligo, housing policy director for the city of Tulsa.

Michael G. Figgins, executive director of Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, said some landlords attempted to evict despite receiving federal funds. However, at times they weren’t aware of the ban applied to their property. 

“If you’re dealing with a tenant who’s not going to show up, a tenant who’s going to default, and one of the tenants who does not have access to civil legal services because there’s just not enough legal aid lawyers, yeah, you can get away with it,” Figgins said. 

Now that the federal eviction ban is over, landlords must give tenants 30 days’ notice before filing an eviction. Service providers expect landlords to give tenants notice of their plans immediately, as they may have tenants who are months behind on rent.

“That’s when we’re going to start seeing this really snowball,” Upward Transitions CEO Periann Pulliam said.

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