The U.S. Marshals Service will begin Saturday evictions in Washington, possibly as soon as next week, under a recent agreement with city landlords by which the landlords will reimburse the service for the overtime work.
Until now, evictions have been carried out only on weekdays. City landlords, acting through the Apartment and Office Building Association (AOBA), asked for the Saturday evictions to begin as a way of cutting down a backlog of some 4,000 pending evictions, according to Anthony J. Furka, U.S. marshal for the District.
"AOBA has been screaming bloody murder because we can't get anybody out," said Chris Christienson, an AOBA vice president. "It really hurts tenants who pay on time to have to carry the tenants that don't."
The first 98 Saturday evictions were scheduled for today, Furka said, but were canceled after D.C. government officials told the marshals that the city had not been informed of the change in procedure.
Furka said the evictions, mostly of tenants who are behind in their rent, would be rescheduled for next Saturday.
Landlords, who once could get evictions within 30 days of receiving the necessary court documents, must now wait two months, said Christienson. The backlog stood at 2,000 cases three or four months ago, and then doubled after marshals decided to schedule evictions between noon and 5 p.m. only, instead of between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Christienson said.
The number of evictions sought by landlords has also increased because of the growing number of tenants falling behind in their rents because they have lost their jobs. About 30 evictions are scheduled on an average weekday, Furka said.
The agreement provides that every Saturday, 10 teams of two marshals each will work seven-hour shifts. The teams will attempt to complete an eviction each hour, but will not evict if the tenant has proof that the rent delinquency has been corrected.
The marshals will be paid $16.10 an hour for the overtime. Under the agreement the landlords who ask for the Saturday evictions will reimburse the marshals service for the overtime pay.