The “tsunami” approaches: With federal moratorium killed, Atlanta braces for crush of evictionsA household's belongings are strewn across the yard after an eviction. (Credit: Kelly Jordan)
For more than a year, Atlanta renters have dreaded the crash of what Terri Lee, the city’s chief housing officer, called a “tsunami” of evictions — a tidal wave of displacement in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, it seems that wave is cresting, as the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Biden administration’s nationwide ban on evictions, effectively killing the most powerful tool against displacement that people financially throttled by the public health crisis had relied on.
As courts resume — or ramp up — eviction proceedings, experts say the results could be catastrophic. Hundreds of thousands of Georgia renters could now be at risk of eviction. Nearly a fifth of metro Atlanta tenants owe back rent, and those with arrears are behind by an average of $3,891, according to a New York Times analysis.