Landlords in Tampa Bay filing evictions despite governor prohibiting them

Better Call Behnken

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Hundreds of evictions have been filed in Tampa Bay area courthouses, even though state and federal law prohibits evictions during this time.

Some landlords say they are filing evictions to be first in line when the moratoriums are lifted, but some attorneys, such as Consumer Attorney Matt Weidner, says even filing for eviction right now is against the law.

“I am shocked by the number of filings I see here in Pinellas and Hillsborough County,” he said. “We have an act of Congress that should keep this from happening right now.”

Here’s what many tenants don’t understand: The governor has ordered a stop to all evictions, but that protection runs out May 15. That’s why many landlords are filing now, so they are ready to evict soon.

However, Weidner says some landlords don’t realize they still can’t evict in many cases. That’s because Congress approved a federal act that halts evictions until August 24. Here’s the catch: this only applies to mortgages that are backed by the federal government. Weidner says most are.

“Quite frankly,” he said, “I think good judges will not allow them to trample over citizens during this time of crisis. So, landlords need to take a deep breath and think this through.”

If you face eviction, document every conversation you have with your landlord and seek legal advice. If you cannot afford an attorney, you can seek guidance from Bay area Legal Services, https://bals.org/, or https://gulfcoastlegal.org/.

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