850K+ Florida renters at risk after state’s eviction moratorium is lifted

By The Numbers

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis attends an event with President Donald Trump on the environment at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has allowed the statewide eviction moratorium he put in place at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic to expire after six months.

DeSantis’ moratorium, which still allowed landlords to file eviction paperwork, was extended multiple times as coronavirus spread across the state.

With 2.7 million renters in Florida, more than 850,000 renters will be at risk after millions of furloughs and layoffs in the wake of coronavirus.

In Hillsborough County alone, more than 200 evictions were filed between Sept. 14 and Sept. 20 – the highest number since late February. Foreclosures in Hillsborough, however, have reached their lowest weekly total since the last week of July. Only six foreclosures were filed between Sept. 21 and Sept. 26.

Source: Hillsborough County Clerk of Courts
Source: Hillsborough County Clerk of Courts

By the end of summer, more than 2,600 evictions were pending across Florida.

DeSantis allocated $250 million of Florida’s CARES funding for rental and mortgage assistance in June, with $120 million going to the Florida Housing Finance Corp.

Of that, $75 million in housing assistance was to be distributed on the local level with Tampa Bay area counties receiving these amounts:

  • Citrus: $440,765
  • Hardee: $175,200
  • Hernando: $638,069
  • Highlands: $309,029
  • Hillsborough: $4,284,932
  • Manatee: $1,169,599
  • Pasco: $1,566,900
  • Pinellas: $3,156,103
  • Polk: $2,427,270
  • Sarasota: $772,298

The  U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as 40 million people are facing eviction in America. More than 2,300 evictions were filed across the country between Sept. 20 and Sept. 26, according to the Eviction Lab.

In early September, the CDC ordered a nationwide eviction moratorium through the end of the year, citing stable housing as a contributing factor to health. But that moratorium is separate from that in Florida.

In order to apply for the CDC’s moratorium, renters have to submit a declaration form to their landlord, agreeing to a series of statements.

“Eviction moratoria facilitate self-isolation by people who become ill or who are at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 due to an underlying medical condition. They also allow State and local authorities to more easily implement stay-at-home and social distancing directives to mitigate the community spread of COVID-19,” the CDC’s moratorium reads. “Furthermore, housing stability helps protect public health because homelessness increases the likelihood of individuals moving into congregate settings, such as homeless shelters, which then puts individuals at higher risk to COVID-19.”

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