RIVERVIEW, Fla. (WFLA) – The move by Governor Ron DeSantis to extend the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures until August 1 is meant to help Floridians struggling to make ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic and economic recession.
But, it is also taking a toll on landlords in Tampa Bay who may have missed out on more rent checks when the calendar flipped to July.
“There are a lot of landlords going through the same problem,” landlord Michelle Fields told 8 On Your Side.
Fields said she has tried working with her out-of-work tenants at the Fairfax Mobile Home Park.
“They’ve done everything they can,” she said. “They’ve made partial payments, they’ve helped work around the park. I have some that are two months behind.”
Fields told 8 On Your Side she tried to evict one tenant shortly after he moved in back in February for reasons unrelated to the pandemic or recession. Now, she said he is exploiting the situation at her expense.
“They have several deliveries through Amazon and FedEx,” Fields said. “They’re just having a good time on my dime. They owe me about five months of rent right now.”
Fields worries landlords could lose their business the longer the eviction moratorium continues, she said.
“What is your message to Governor DeSantis as he keeps extending this moratorium?” 8 On Your Side asked Fields.
“I think there should be exceptions,” she said. “My eviction was filed way before this started.”
Fields said she is concerned about the backlog in eviction cases only getting bigger until the governor ends the moratorium.
According to the Florida Housing Justice Alliance, as many as 2,600 evictions are cued up and ready to start moving through the court system.