TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Cap News Services) – Governor Ron DeSantis has extended the moratorium on evictions for another month, but this time there were some changes.
DeSantis’ latest order may provide some relief to landlords who say they’re unable to pay their own bills and are being taken advantage of by some tenants.
The eviction moratorium, originally put in place back in April, was aimed at preventing people from losing their homes due to job loss or other pandemic related economic hardships.
But Ventura landlord Arik Lev told us some have taken advantage of the situation.
“First of all, they never hide it. They were so happy. They told me in the beginning, we’re still working… and then they didn’t pay and they sent even some kind of text message, which I have, [saying] oh the Governor said we don’t have to pay,” said Lev.
Due to a lack of payments Lev estimates he’s $20,000 in the hole.
“Water, sewage, garbage, cutting the grass. It’s at least $120 a month,” said Lev.
And even groups like United Way, which support the eviction moratorium agree more needs to be done to help landlords.
“Who are having to still be responsible for making payments on these properties, even though they have no revenue coming in. So there are multiple sides to look at on this and obviously the idea is to try to make everybody whole,” said United Way of Florida President and CEO Rick Owen.
DeSantis’ latest eviction order applies only to those negatively impacted by COVID-19.
It says once an individual is no longer affected, any late payments are due.
We asked the Governor’s Office how landlords can prove a tenant is no longer impacted by the pandemic.
Cody McCloud, press secretary for the Governor told us in a statement, “Every situation is different, therefor judges should work with both landlords and tenants on an individual case basis to determine if a tenant’s inability to pay rent is a result of COVID-19.”
But Lev thinks it’s likely too little too late.
He anticipates a flood of backlogged evictions, all but guaranteeing the bad actors staying in his properties will have a free place to stay for the foreseeable future.
“I’m not that naive. I’m not gonna see a cent,” said Lev.
And Lev told us some landlords are considering filing a lawsuit, if their situation doesn’t start to improve.
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