People unable to make their rent or mortgage payments got another extension late on Thursday, May 14, when the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department – the ones who conduct evictions in the county – announced that the current moratorium on tenant evictions is being extended from Friday, May 15 until midnight on Thursday, May 28.

However, unlike previous announcements of this sort, the new notice lets it be known that evictions will soon start up again. The department states that, on May 29 and continuing through June 1 of this year, sheriff’s deputies will start the padlocking process for about 140 eviction judgments that have already been decided by the courts.

The statement reads: “The existing moratorium on these 140 Court eviction judgment[s] first became effective on March 19, 2020, when the Sheriff’s Office suspended the execution and service of Writs of Possession – the legal documents issued by the Clerk of Superior Court that authorize a Sheriff to evict a tenant based on a prior legal judgment (e.g., a Small Claims Court judgment) entered against a tenant and in favor of the landlord. That initial moratorium period ended April 17, 2020. Sheriff [Danny] Rogers then extended that period twice (to May 1st and then to May 15th).”

According to the statement, the decision to end the moratorium on May 28 is based on several factors, including NC Gov. Roy Cooper’s decision to start re-opening some businesses recently – which is allowing some residents to begin returning to work. The decision is also due to the federal stimulus checks being distributed, the expansion of the state’s unemployment benefits, and the expectation that the 10-week eviction moratorium “has given tenants a reprieve in which to make other living arrangements.”

The Thursday night notice went on to state that the decision to end the moratorium was a hard one “made after much reflection and deliberation,” and that it was a genuine effort “to balance the respective interests of the tenants and landlords in the County.”

Written notice in advance will be mailed out to affected tenants to give them time to find other living arrangements or reach agreements with their landlords.