Mecklenburg County plans to start eviction trials at end of July

Mecklenburg County plans to start eviction trials at end of July

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Many renters are facing eviction, but legally their landlords couldn’t kick them out during the pandemic.

Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke found out Mecklenburg County plans to start holding eviction trials again starting July 20.

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The county is telling landlords and tenants about other options to thin out the docket. It’s sending renters a list of resources to help them keep paying rent and sending both landlords and tenants a flyer about a mediation program. In both cases, the goal is to chip away at the number of cases that actually go to trial.

“Those resources are there. People just need to take advantage of them,” Isaac Sturgill with Legal Aid said.

Sturgill serves on a court committee that discussed options for landlords and tenants.

“It’s really a win-win for everybody,” he said. “The important thing is that landlords and tenants just take advantage of these programs. We’ve got a lot of different groups have been working hard to roll out these resources, but people have to make the calls.”

The court has about 1,400 eviction trials (about 870 that were in progress when the pandemic hit and about 530 new ones) -- and about 160 eviction appeals on the docket so far.

Demaris Williams is on disability. He told Stoogenke the pandemic delayed his checks, so he’s behind on rent. He said he owes about $4,500 and his landlord plans to evict him.

“It’s rough… it’s rough… thankfully I’ve got family to help me out a little bit and everything, but it’s putting more stress on them,” he said. “Very stressful. Doesn’t do anything but make my other condition worse.”

Legal Aid is helping Williams.

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