Eviction laws in Florida – as a Florida tenant you need to be aware of your rights and the rights of your landlord/landlady/renting organization. That’s why today we’re going to take a close look at some of what you need to know as we continue through this time of economic hardship for many families.
Eviction Laws in Florida: What You Need to Know As a Tenant
Only July 25th, the moratorium on evictions that resulted from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This coming Monday we will see the end of the 30-day notice period following that expiration. That means that this coming week we can expect to see what is only the beginning of a surge in evictions. The very thought of how many families and businesses are going to be impacted by this expiration is cringeworthy. So, today we’re going to cover some of Florida’s eviction laws so that if you are facing eviction, you can do so with knowledge in your corner.
The Eviction Moratorium
The eviction moratorium enacted by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided renters with four months of not having to worry about eviction as a primary concern while trying to put food on the table during COVID-19 shutdowns. Now that this moratorium has come to an end, though, renters are left asking “what now?” Well, now some 20% of the 110 million Americans in rental housing are at risk for being evicted by September 30th.
No Extension of the Moratorium
Extensions of the moratorium on evictions have been tossed around, but so far, no federal protections have been enacted and it’s unlikely that they will be in the near future. A second economic stimulus package is still being tossed back and forth and agreement is not expected to come in time for those renters who are already in trouble. So, as one of those renters, what should you know?
Action By Governors
In many states, governors are enacting their own eviction moratoriums, particularly for commercial renters. Unfortunately, Florida is not one of those states, and eviction processes are already in full swing statewide.
So, here’s what you need to know about the current state of evictions in the state of Florida and what rights you have as a rental tenant.
The Three-Day Notice
Under the three-day notice, tenants of a rental property are sent a “three-day letter” informing the tenant that they have three days (not including weekends or holidays) to pay what is owed or to vacate the premises. If you receive a three-day notice, you have three options:
- Pay back rent and remain in the property
- Vacate the property and forfeit your security deposit and risk being sued by the landlord if additional funds are owed.
- Failure to move out or pay what is owed. If you choose this option, your landlord will file a summons and complaint with the county court to initiate the eviction process.
The Eviction Process
If your landlord initiates the eviction process, they must win their case in court and be issues a writ of possession for the property before you can legally be evicted. During the time when your case is in court, you may not be evicted. This is important to know because as Florida courts expect a flood of evictions, there is a high probability that an eviction case may take much longer than “usual”. Don’t rely on this delay, though, if you are facing eviction, you need to act right away to save your home. You also need to know that during the eviction process, your landlord may not take place in activities that are considered “self-help” activities. This includes things like changing the locks on their property or shutting off utilities in an attempt to force you out of the property.
What Options Do You Have if You Are Being Evicted As A Result of Covid-19?
If you are facing eviction in the state of Florida, what options are available to you?
Protection From Eviction
Currently, there has been no extension of the moratorium on evictions, so this is a moot point, however, if the moratorium is extended in the final hour and you receive a notice of eviction, the first thing that you should do is contact a real estate attorney. Your attorney will help you to navigate the newest moratorium and explain what it means to be protected by the moratorium and what you need to do now.
Without Protection From a Moratorium
Without protection from a moratorium, you have the option to contest your eviction IF you have a reason to do so. The best way to navigate this part of the water is to contact a real estate attorney who can help you to fight your case.
If You Have No Other Options
If you have no other options under the current economy and you cannot pay what is owed and have nowhere to go if evicted, what should you do? There are some state resources available that can help you to navigate this difficult economic time. One of these resources is the emergency housing assistance program which you can apply to via the Public Housing Agency (PHA). This is also a great place to ask any questions that you might have about what you can do in your current situation.
Do You Have Questions About Eviction Laws in Florida?
If you have questions about eviction laws in Florida or if you are facing eviction and need representation from an experienced Florida real estate attorney, call Weidner Law today at 727-954-8752!