The temporary halt to evictions due to the pandemic is over. And Madison County Magistrate Judge David Patton reports 37 eviction cases filed with his office since a state eviction moratorium was lifted June 15 after being implemented March 14.

Patton said there are no winners in eviction situations, since landlords and renters depend on each other.

“We do have many good landlords and property owners that will bend over backwards to help if the tenant truly makes an effort,” he said. “It’s sad to see a family from either side end up in this situation, definitely the hardest part of my job.”

Patton said 98 percent of “dispossessory” or eviction cases do lead to an eviction. Many cases are a “non trial,” with the tenant not contesting the eviction.

“Every once in a while, the landlord will dismiss if they resolve the issues on their own,” he said.

Sixteen of the 37 cases since the moratorium was lifted have gone to trial.

“I can’t think of any off the top of my head since COVID that were in favor of the renter because they were too far behind to climb out of the hole,” said the judge.

Patton said he emphasizes good communication between landlords and tenants.

“I encourage those that want to work something out to contact the other side and make an attempt,” said Patton. “Lack of communication for most is what put them in the situation they’re in. Most landlords depend on that monthly rent to keep them in good standing with their mortgage company, pay their taxes and insurance as well as maintenance cost. Many of them use this as a source of income and are struggling just like some of their tenants.”

Madison County had 201 total eviction cases in 2019, with 76 going to trial. The county as had 89 in 2020, with 33 going to trial.

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