Miami-Dade is Processing Evictions Again

August 21, 2020

The stakes are huge. There are 2.6 million renter households in the state of Florida, according to the University of Florida’s Shimberg Center for Housing Studies. According to Bisnow, landlords across the U.S. could lose as much as $21.5 billion in unpaid rents once evictions start if their tenants cannot pay the back money they owe.

On Aug. 1, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order extending Florida’s ongoing moratorium on evictions and foreclosures related to people impacted by the COVID-19 through Sept. 1. This new order came with a twist: landlords and banks can now file court papers and serve tenants and homeowners with summons notices — notices that have been prohibited since April.

But the governor’s extension also forbids “final action” on evictions and foreclosures, a vague term that legal experts say could range from final judgment on cases to authorization to remove residents from their homes.

As of Aug. 18, a handful of eviction summons have already been served in Miami-Dade, and more are in the pipeline. But what happens after that will be decided by the individual judge presiding on each case, according to Eunice Siegler, spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade circuit court.

David Winker, a Miami lawyer who has been representing tenants facing eviction, said the amendment in DeSantis’ latest order moves Florida closer to the day when cash-strapped tenants and borrowers will be forced to resume monthly payments on their homes.

“It’s still not going to result in people being on the street,” Winker said. “But it’s a step forward to thousands of families being put on the street. You’re basically awaiting the final stage.”

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