Families Could Be Headed for Disaster Over Unpaid Rent During COVID-19

August 3, 2020

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ latest extension of the state’s eviction moratorium — this time to Sept. 1 — merely delays an inevitable day of reckoning, according to advocates for both renters and landlords.

When that comes, judges will begin signing stacks of eviction orders, sheriff’s deputies will begin serving notices to vacate, and an alarming number of families will be forcibly removed from their homes with nowhere else to go.

Alana Greer, the director, and co-founder of the Miami-based Community Justice Project, a legal services foundation for low-income residents, calls the prospect of massive evictions a state and national crisis. “I don’t think any of us have our heads wrapped around how bad it’s going to be. It’s going to overwhelm the courts, social service organizations, and the government at a time these resources are already stretched to the breaking point,” she said. 

The three counties’ data, which does not separate commercial from residential properties, underestimates the number of suits expected to follow the expiration of the moratorium because many landlords have interpreted the moratorium as preventing any court filings, advocates say. 

“We expect a massive number of cases when and if the moratorium expires. If called upon to defend any of the 1,600 eviction cases filed since March in Miami-Dade, the agency will argue “that they were filed in violation of the moratorium order and should be dropped and landlords need to start over,” said Sean Rowley, advocacy director at Legal Services of Greater Miami.

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