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The affordable housing crisis is driving evictions

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — The day before Thanksgiving, Reginald Wright said he expects to cook for his aging parents at home.

Instead, he waited for his name to be called before an eviction court.

“We’re fighting… food costs [are] outrageous. Insurance is rude. I’m a man and I’m not supposed to cry, but it’s hard,” he said in an interview with KFOR on Wednesday.

“Get to know all your rights, criminal or civil, don’t demand that someone do your job for you. If you don’t know your rights, how can you complain about someone trampling on your right side,” he added.

As the affordable housing crisis continues across the country, rents have also risen sharply across Oklahoma.

According to Redfin, rent rates in Oklahoma City have risen by just over thirty percent, which means eviction lawsuits have also increased dramatically.

Community Cares Partners’ Patrick O’Kane said once a tenant owes money that they cannot or do not want to pay, eviction proceedings can move quickly.

“Once a tenant defaults on rent, usually on the sixth of the month, that’s usually the earliest a filing can be made,” he said in an interview with KFOR.

O’Kane said the nonprofit is offering rent assistance to the tenant Covid, but the application was finally closed on September 1St.

“Today, if a person receives an eviction, typically within two days today, the sheriff will be on the property with a letter depositing the 48-hour lockout, and the tenant then has 48 hours to vacate,” he added.

Eviction lockdowns have been suspended over the holiday period but are expected to resume next week.

Attorney Richard Rice, representing landlords, said while evictions are necessary, landlords typically don’t want to evict their tenants.

“The vast majority of landlords have absolutely no intention of ever filing a single eviction. We’re all in this together and almost every single property I represent has made every effort to work with people to at least enable them to stay at home [the] Property.”

Tips for tenants facing eviction.

If you’re facing eviction in Oklahoma County, Legal Aid has free attorneys in the courthouse who may be able to help. For other counties, call the application hotline at 888-534-5243, Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m

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