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30 Second Evictions

May 16, 2021

Legal gavel, Author Blogtrepreneur (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

Since the coronavirus pandemic, health concerns have moved eviction hearings online.  At least 43 states now allow virtual evictions; 7 states mandate that eviction proceedings take place online.

Unfortunately, online evictions often deprive tenants of their rights [1].

CDC policy bans residential evictions for non-payment of rent through June 2021.  Many landlords have though continued to file evictions.

The CDC eviction moratorium can only be raised as a defense at an eviction hearing.  The CDC eviction moratorium (enacted under the Public Health Service Act of 1944) has, itself, been struck down at least four different times [2].  And CDC policy does not apply when a lease has expired (a fact unscrupulous landlords exploit).

During virtual evictions on video platforms like Zoom, internet connection issues are common; multiple tenants may appear on screen at the same time; and participants are often muted.

Depending on the state, electronic filing procedures may prohibit all but lawyers from filing critical documents online.  Just 10% of tenants facing eviction have such legal representation.

As a consequence, virtual eviction hearings can take as little as 30 seconds.  This eliminates any semblance of equal justice for the poor.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly…” (Prov. 31: 8-9 NIV).

[1]  CNBC, “30 Second Trials.  Judges Muting Tenants.  The Problems with Virtual Evictions” by Annie Nova, 5/1/21,

[2]  New York Times, “Federal Judge Strikes Down Moratorium on Evicting Renters” by Glenn Thrush, 5/5/21,


  1. Shameful 😦 So much for us all being in this together!

    • It is a travesty.

      • It is. We spout the platitudes about living in a civilised society but in the face of something that has not been seen since medieval times, I would have hoped the cup of human kindness might have had a few more drops in it. Even just enough until people are back on their feet after this tumultuous year.

    • You are right, it is a shame.

  2. One more example of less than brilliant ideas by our less than brilliant leadership leaving human casualties in the wake of said all this less than brilliance mess!

  3. I think we have long neglected the O.T. ‘Minor Prophets,’ who are anything but ‘minor’ in my opinion! Just a plain reading of the Book of Amos, for example, would remind us how seriously the God of the Bible takes these issues of justice and ethics, especially when ignored by those professing to be ‘Christian.’ Thanks Anna for your prophetic ministry (in the biblical sense) in alerting us all to such issues in our own society and set-up.

    • I do not compare myself to the prophets, Erroll. But I do often feel like a voice crying in the wilderness. It can be exhausting. Still, Scripture assures us that His word does not come back void (Isa. 55: 11). All we can do is speak the truth, and hope someone is listening.

      • That’s precisely what I meant, Anna, by ‘prophetic ministry.’ I’m sure it’s both exhausting and frustrating, but Hebrews reminds us of the reward (Jesus himself) awaiting those who persevere to the end. That’s one of the things that keeps me going when the going gets tough, I’m sure you too.

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