There is a growing dilemma for tenants who have lost income and for landlords with ongoing costs. Both are caught in the middle of a statewide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures that offers few legal solutions.
There are 2.6 million renter households in the state of Florida, and landlords across the U.S. could lose as much as $21.5 billion in unpaid rents once evictions start if their tenants cannot pay the back money they owe.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis extended the statewide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures until Sept. 1. The new order allows landlords and banks to file court papers and serve tenants and homeowners with summons notices that have been prohibited since April.
The governor’s extension forbids “final action” on evictions and foreclosures, a vague term that legal experts say could range from final judgment on cases to authorization to remove residents from their homes.
A handful of eviction summons have already been served in Miami-Dade, and more are in the pipeline. The amendment in DeSantis’ latest order moves Florida closer to the day when cash-strapped tenants and borrowers will be forced to resume monthly payments on their homes.
Lawyers say no one knows how the courts will rule, because no cases have been heard yet.
Some landlords have already started trying to circumvent the slow legal process via creative and illegal means. Renters who receive a five-day summons should seek legal advice on how to respond or avail themselves of free tools such as the Florida Eviction Answer Interview, which guides users through the process.
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