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Evictions returning to pre-pandemic levels in Mecklenburg County

Rent control and stronger protections are among the solutions housing advocates want to see.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — New data suggests evictions are returning to pre-pandemic levels in Mecklenburg County, meaning they're back on the rise. But housing advocate groups fear it could get worse with inflation and high rent prices. 

“It is a public health issue," said Jessica Moreno, a community organizer for Action NC.

The nonprofit has a renters hotline, which has reported an increase in calls from tenants being evicted by corporate landlords.

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“Corporate landlords own such a huge percentage of homes, and they keep buying and buying homes, they’re really controlling the market," Moreno said, "and so even people who don’t rent from corporate landlords will be affected and will be priced out and displaced."

While prices vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, there's no doubt it costs more to rent these days.

According to a RentCafe study, the average rent for a Charlotte apartment in July 2022 was $1,639. In July 2019, the study found it was around $1,200. 

“People are not able to afford that type of rent," Moreno said. 

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 According to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office, from January 1 to September 1 of this year there have been 6,157 evictions. During that same time frame in 2019, there were 6,893 evictions. In all of 2020, there were just 4,354 due to the eviction moratorium.

Action NC is pushing for rent control to regulate how much landlords can increase prices, all in the hopes of limiting evictions. 

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“We do need strong tenant protections that will help with evictions," Moreno said. “It's going to take the city, the county, and state legislators to push for a solution."

Housing advocates say if you are at risk of being evicted, make sure you show up to your court date and do not ignore it.

Contact Lexi Wilson at lwilson@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

WCNC Charlotte is part of seven major media companies and other local institutions producing I Can’t Afford to Live Here, a collaborative reporting project focused on solutions to the affordable housing crisis in Charlotte. It is a project of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, which is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. See all of our reporting at charlottejournalism.org.

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