Renters claim landlords evicting them for nonpayment despite moratorium

Many say landlords evicting renters for nonpayment despite moratorium

GASTONIA, N.C. — Larriel Lynch and his family rented a house in Gastonia. He said he lost hours at work so they couldn’t afford rent anymore and his landlord filed eviction papers.

Under the CDC’s and Governor Roy Cooper’s eviction moratorium, your landlord can’t evict you for nonpayment through Dec. 31, but he or she can kick you out for other reasons.

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In the Lynches’ case, the court papers say their landlord is evicting them because the lease ended and that the landlord has “other plans for the property.” That’s perfectly legal.

But Lynch says his family was month-to-month and couldn’t pay. He believes that if they could have paid, their landlord would have let them keep living there.

“It just seems so surreal to me ... ‘Where am I going to go? What am I going to do? How can I fix this?’” Lynch told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke. “And, honestly, right now, I don’t know.”

He said he even signed the CDC’s declaration saying he couldn’t pay, the one that’s supposed to protect renters from eviction.

Lynch told Stoogenke he, his wife, and their 4-year-old are living in their car now.

“I’ve got to have faith. I know God is good and I know every wrong should be right,” he said.

Action 9 asked their landlord, Ramsey Properties, more for its side of the story. It didn’t respond in time for this article.

Isaac Sturgill is with Legal Aid. He says a lot of landlords are finding ways around the moratorium.

“Some landlords are following the spirit of the law. They are not evicting tenants who claim protection under the CDC order. But other landlords are finding other ways to try to evict them,” he said. “If it’s clear that the real issue is nonpayment and the landlord’s trying to be clever and get around that, we will still try to argue that the defense should apply.”

If you think your landlord is breaking the law, contact Legal Aid here.

Lynch has established a GoFundMe account for his family. WSOC is not able to verify how the funds will be used, but if you are interested in donating directly, click here.

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