Report: Evictions up 32 percent in Shelby County - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Report: Evictions up 32 percent in Shelby County

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Evictions are up nearly 32 percent over the last four years in Shelby County.

The Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis reports that in 2003, some 20,291 renters were served eviction notices. In 2007, more than 26,700 were given court orders to leave their homes.

General Sessions Court Judge Deborah M. Henderson says while there are some tenants who just don't intend to pay, once the eviction reaches the courts, most tenants don't contest their eviction and there is no trial.

Housing and other experts say the growing numbers are further evidence of hard times brought on by a sluggish economy and are another component of the nation's mortgage foreclosure problems.

Henderson said it's not uncommon for tenants to be caught by surprise: "Unfortunately, what we run into is a situation where the tenant is not aware of the foreclosure until they're served."

They may have paid the rent, but if the landlord no longer owns the property, the new owner, typically a bank, wants the property vacated, she said.

"A lot of times, if a landlord is dependent on the rent payment for the mortgage, they may end up in foreclosure because (the tenant) didn't pay the rent," Henderson said.

Renters who don't leave willingly have their possessions removed from the property, a process overseen by the Shelby County sheriff's office or a private processor.

What the tenants don't take with them is left on the street. The city requires landlords to pay $100 an hour for each worker on the crew to have the debris removed, said Keith Richardson, administrator of Memphis Solid Waste Management.


(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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