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by Peter Moskos

March 11, 2008

No more "Moving Day"

There are many day-to-day things in the ghetto that start to seem normal, or at least routine, when you're in too deep. These are things that would shock most outsiders.

Take evictions. Every day you'd turn your police car into a street and see the insides of an entire home neatly piled up in the street. This structure often looked like a trash dumpster, but there was no dumpster. Just a whole lotta shit, piled high. Somebody would often be sitting by sadly, trying desperately to guard or sell the more valuable stuff while arranging for transport and a place to stay.

And while I know it's not nice to make fun of people's misfortune, cops love morbid humor. Luckily, evictions were not the job of city police. So the sad sight of people lives on the street might be greeting with a Groundhog-Day like exclamation of "Moving Day!" Hey, at least nobody died.

Well it turns out that having all your shit piled on the street actually is a Baltimore thing, hon. And now, happily, it's a thing of the past. The city recently started prohibiting landlords from tossing evicted tenants' belongings into the right of way. And guess what? Evictions have fallen 25 percent. Better yet, the number of tenants present for eviction day (the city sheriff keeps track of these things) dropped almost 40 percent.

Why is this? Because, as the Baltimore Sun reports:
Previously, after a landlord got approval from a judge to remove a tenant, the landlord would call the sheriff's office to schedule the eviction. Although the court would notify tenants that an eviction was imminent, they were not told the date when the sheriff would arrive.

No wonder people had their belongs thrown out: they didn't know when the eviction would happen.
The number of times Department of Public Works crews have been called to pick up personal property has fallen from about 580 a month to three in January and none in February.
The new ordinance requires landlords to inform tenants of the date and to send that notice three times, by two different forms of mail, 14 days before an eviction and, a week before, with a posting on the property. City officials said that providing a firm deadline gives tenants time to plan whether to move their belongings or pay their rent.

That seems like a no-brainer.

But what do they do with all the stuff?

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