Charlotte congresswoman pleads for longer eviction freeze. Sheriff says he can’t.

By Lauren Lindstrom, The Charlotte Observer

As the nationwide eviction moratorium is set to end next week, Mecklenburg Sheriff Garry McFadden says his office has no authority to stop eviction removals once a court orders them, despite a request from U.S. Rep. Alma Adams.

Adams this week wrote to McFadden and officials with the local District and Superior court branches, urging them “to do everything within your powers to effectively extend the eviction moratorium in Mecklenburg County” for at least a month.

“In my discussions with the organizations and local leaders on the front lines of this crisis, it is clear we are unprepared for a deluge of tenants seeking assistance in August, and local service providers will have to resort to triage,” Adams wrote. She cited a Durham judge who extended eviction protections for tenants who have applied for rental assistance.

As the nationwide eviction moratorium is set to end next week, Mecklenburg Sheriff Garry McFadden says his office has no authority to stop eviction removals once a court orders them, despite a request from U.S. Rep. Alma Adams.

Adams this week wrote to McFadden and officials with the local District and Superior court branches, urging them “to do everything within your powers to effectively extend the eviction moratorium in Mecklenburg County” for at least a month.

“In my discussions with the organizations and local leaders on the front lines of this crisis, it is clear we are unprepared for a deluge of tenants seeking assistance in August, and local service providers will have to resort to triage,” Adams wrote. She cited a Durham judge who extended eviction protections for tenants who have applied for rental assistance.

But, McFadden said, after consulting with the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association, he found “no legal authority” to not execute removals once a court order is received.

Before courts closed and state and federal eviction moratoriums went into effect last year, McFadden had similarly said he could not unilaterally ignore eviction orders from the court.

“We had a crisis of homelessness in Mecklenburg County prior to the pandemic and I certainly do not want to add to that problem,” McFadden wrote Adams on Thursday.

The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office has carried out 1,390 evictions this year through July 20, McFadden said.

Questions from the Charlotte Observer to local court officials about the legal authority to halt evictions on a county level without a state or federal order were not immediately answered.

Read the original story at The Charlotte Observer. 

Main Photo: A padlock notice is taped to the door of an apartment, whose tenant was unavailable for comment, on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, in Raleigh, N.C. Photo by Casey Toth / The News & Observer / North Carolina News Collaborative  CTOTH@NEWSOBSERVER.COM

This story was produced by the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, a partnership of six media companies working together in an effort started by the Solutions Journalism Network and funded by The Knight Foundation.

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