LICKING COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) — The Licking County Municipal Court announced Wednesday that recent administrative action by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created a moratorium on evictions of tenants leasing residential property effective Friday, Sept. 4 until January 1, 2021.
The order only applies to evictions based solely on allegations of unpaid rent.
Administrative and Presiding Judge David N. Stansbury stressed that the court is still accepting eviction filings through the civil division of the Clerk of Court’s office.
“The moratorium does not prohibit filing eviction complaints,” Stansbury said. “The CDC order places the burden on the tenant to show that they are covered under the protections it created.”
Landlords may still obtain eviction judgments based on a tenant’s engaging in illegal activity, endangering the health and safety of other residents, damaging the property, or a violation of the lease terms except for non-payment of rent. It is the tenant’s burden to show that they are covered by the moratorium.
The tenant must submit a sworn statement, the form for which will be available in the clerk’s office, addressing all of the criteria and any false statements, according to the CDC order, could result in a criminal charge for perjury.
The court will address claims of protection from eviction at the beginning of each eviction hearing, if raised by the tenant. The form needed to make a moratorium claim is available in the clerk’s office and will be accepted up to and including the day of the eviction hearing.
To be eligible for protection, the tenant must show:
1) He or she made their best effort to obtain available government assistance for rent or housing
2) He or she was eligible to receive an Economic Impact Payment (i.e. stimulus check) or has an annual income less than $99,000 for an individual, or $198,000 for a family
3) He or she is not able to pay the full rent due to substantial loss of income, wages, or hours, or because of extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses
4) He or she made their best effort to make partial rent payments
5) He or she has no other available housing options and, if subject to an eviction, would need to move into a new residence shared by other people who live in cramped conditions, or would need to move into a homeless shelter
Stansbury noted that the order does not cancel the tenant’s obligation to pay rent during the moratorium and that landlords can seek money damages for unpaid rent after it expires.
It is anticipated that a legal challenge to the order will be made. The court will monitor the situation for any changes. If and when they occur, the court will update its website, www.lcmunicipalcourt.com, which can be accessed by the public for additional information.
Individuals with questions not answered by the website can call the Clerk of Court’s office at (740) 670-7800.