CDC’s eviction moratorium protecting Douglas County renters

6 News was at eviction court to see firsthand the impact the CDC’s moratorium is having on renters hit hard by the pandemic.
Published: Sep. 11, 2020 at 7:04 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A federal agency’s move to try and stop mass evictions is working so far in Douglas County.

6 News was at eviction court Friday to see firsthand the impact the CDC’s moratorium is having on renters hit hard by the pandemic.

Outside the courtroom relief for one young family on the verge of eviction.

“Before we came we were so stressed out, so nervous,” said Amanda Oliver, standing alongside her partner Johnathan Clark. “It felt like just everything was falling apart.”

But it didn’t fall apart, thanks to the CDC’s halt on evictions.

“We came in and the judge tells we can keep our place because of those CDC papers,” said Oliver, holding her six-month-old girl.

The “papers” she’s referring to is a declaration made available on the CDC’s website last week; on it renters state they’ve been financially hit by the pandemic and have made every effort to get assistance.

Oliver and Clark just learned about the protection the night before their eviction hearing.

“So I emailed a copy of it to my mom so she could print it off and give it to us,” explained Oliver. “And then we signed it, brought it to court, and gave it to our landlord.”

And that’s all that’s required; renters simply sign and give the declaration to their landlord.

“She tried to object it, or her lawyer tried to object it,” said Oliver. “And the judge basically just told us we could stay there.”

Legal Aid of Nebraska attorneys said that’s how it’s been going; judges upholding the declarations.

“We’ve helped people who’ve simply just fallen behind getting declarations on file to actually going to court with them,” said Caitlin Cedfeldt, an attorney with Legal Aid of Nebraska," notion the biggest challenge is people not knowing about the protection.

"We’re trying to get the word out that you need to download this declaration, sign it, get it to your landlord however you can, whether email or hand it to them.

For families still struggling it could make all the difference.

“It was just amazing that we could keep a roof over our six-month-old child’s head,” said Oliver.

The CDC’s moratorium on evictions doesn’t mean tenants are excused from paying rent. Once it expires at the end of the year renters will owe their landlords back rent for the months they missed.

Legal Aid of Nebraska told 6 news tenants still facing eviction after signing a CDC declaration should contact their offices for legal assistance.

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