COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The Centers for Disease Control ban on evictions was set to expire Wednesday, but the agency has extended it for a fourth and final time, giving renters one last month to catch up on their rent or make other plans.

The true impact of the policy in central Ohio is hard to tell, with lawyers with Legal Aid saying the policy has directly stopped 40 evictions in Franklin County since it was announced last September.

Those same lawyers said the fact that the moratorium on evictions even existed actually helped bring landlords and tenants together.

The moratorium allowed tenants and landlords to agree on payment plans or negotiate compromises instead of going through the eviction court process, where the results may have been more one-sided.

Since September 2020, the policy has been extended three times, with the CDC saying this fourth extension is intended to be the last one.

Local housing advocates said they have been overwhelmed for months trying to provide assistance to struggling tenants and that the extension will give everyone time to catch up.

“Gives people a little bit more breathing room because, you know, what we see in a lot of cases is, tenants are basically in a paperwork race between the eviction court processing their eviction and getting emergency rental assistance, so it’s a real tragedy if someone gets evicted while they’re waiting for the paperwork to get processed,” said Marcus Roth, with the Coalition on Homelessness And Housing in Ohio.

That is why agencies encourage anyone eligible for assistance to apply now before the moratorium expires.

One agency, Impact Community Action, has helped more than 300,000 people since December.