News 12 First at Five, October 31, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga.--- It's a common sight for the Richmond County Marshal's Office. More and more families are losing their homes. From 2006 to 2007, the Marshal's Office has seen a 10-15% increase. Right now, they're scheduling 16 evictions a day.
"Obviously if we're doing 16 a day. It's a serious problem. But again, I think a lot of it is because of the economy," Marshal Steve Smith said.
75-80% of the evictions, the tenants have already left. 20% know it's coming, but haven't been able to make new living arrangements, and in some cases the people don't have anywhere to go.
In this case the tenant didn't pay their rent for two months. Commissioner Joe Jackson works for Kirby Locksmith and today he's changing locks for the apartment owner. Jackson goes to four evictions a week.
"It's a shame the times that we live in, but a lot of people want something for nothing. And I know that times are tough right now, but we've all got to tighten our belts and move forward," Commissioner, Joe Jackson said.
This eviction took about an hour and a half. The apartment owner is then responsible for removing all the tenant's personal belongings.
"You know, in this case it's sad that you're throwing a family out. I've been to several evictions where the kids aren't in school and they're loading a UHAUL to go move somewhere else," Jackson said.
But it's not just hard on the residents, it's hard on the owner. The owner here will have to pay about $5,000. This pays for the eviction process, hiring movers, getting the locks changed, buying new appliances, carpet, painting the walls, and don't forget about pest control. It's a loose-loose situation. The owner looses money. The renter looses their home.