Issues After The Florida Eviction Moratorium
The eviction moratorium instituted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), intended to aid those experiencing difficulties in finance, was allowed to expire in August 2021, according to a per curiam (unsigned) opinion from the Supreme Court opinion issued late at night. Since then, some states have begun to institute their own eviction moratoria, though Florida is not one of them as of this writing. Floridians are understandably nervous about their own futures, but it remains to be seen what the potential redress might be.
Landlords Are Incentivized To Engage In Unethical Behavior
Something that must be understood is that eviction is not merely a pandemic problem; rather, it has caused, and will continue to cause, long-term psychological damage to many, particularly young children. The current capitalist systems in place in the United States make it potentially profitable to engage in ‘slumlord’ type behavior, where a landlord can play hardball with their low-income tenants, because very often, there are five waiting to take that tenant’s place. This means more evictions than might be strictly necessary, and more damage done to low-income renters.
Despite the sad ubiquity of eviction for low-income people even in “normal” times, the amount of evictions facing Floridians – and indeed, Americans – is unprecedented, almost certainly due to unemployment during 2020. Even if someone is gainfully employed as of this writing, they are very likely to be carrying at least a few months’ worth of back rent owed, because so many people were out of work in 2020 and have not been able to catch up. This is endemic in Florida, where tourism is a big part of the state’s revenue and many lost their jobs in a 2020 that had a record downturn in tourism travel.
Tenants Have Few Options
Something else to keep in mind, as either a landlord or a renter, is that while in theory, pandemic rent relief has been available, very little of it has reached Florida renters as of this writing. As of mid-2021, only around 7 percent of potential rental relief had reached needy recipients; while some landlords refused rent relief out of a desire to subtly push their tenants out, in some cases the paperwork was simply not completed or another bureaucratic snafu caused issues. A landlord’s laziness or recalcitrance can sometimes be held against the tenant, through no fault of their own.
In general, some landlords will be accommodating to their tenants having a hard time, and some will not. Unfortunately for renters, Florida is a very landlord-friendly state, with no limits on rent rates or late fees; between this and the amount of money that an enterprising landlord can make in an unstable Florida market, most of the power is decidedly on the landlord’s side. If you are a renter and are fearing eviction since no moratorium is currently in place in Florida, consulting an experienced attorney may be the difference between you getting to stay in your home and having to leave.
Contact A Tampa Landlord-Tenant Attorney
It appears to be unlikely that any further eviction moratorium will be passed through the Florida legislature, but there may still be a way for you to keep your home. If you have questions or concerns about your situation after the end of the moratorium, calling Alicia Seward and the Seward Law Office may help to get them answered. The stakes are very high and you need a Tampa landlord/tenant attorney who you can trust. Contact our office today either via our website, or on the phone at 813-252-6789.