Bay Area Legal Services See Surge in Calls Over Eviction Fears

May 11, 2020

Fewer people in Tampa Bay made rent payments during the first week of May compared to the same month last year, which was also the case in April. Renters in low-income properties had lower rates of rent payment than in luxury apartments, indicating the deeper financial pain for workers without savings.

At the beginning of each month, the offices of Bay Area Legal Services have seen a surge in calls from people worried about evictions, said Tom DiFiore, team leader of the housing unit.

DiFiore said one of the most common questions stems from confusion around Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. Tenants who have received eviction notices wonder how it’s legal for their landlords to begin eviction proceedings in court.

Unless it’s extended, the moratorium expires after May 17. Rising rents in the Tampa Bay area combined with unemployment spurred by the pandemic are creating a “perfect storm” for a wave of evictions after that date, DiFiore said.

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