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State evictions moratorium changes troublesome for landlords, property managers

The state’s ban on evictions and foreclosures is extended for another month. There’s a new line in the governor’s executive order this time, but property managers worry it won’t help much.

We spoke to a landlord Monday who hopes it’s at least a step in the right direction, and we also spoke to a landlord attorney who explained some of the constraints people he would represent might face.

“This has been trying,” property manager Erika Sharer said.

The update to the evictions and foreclosures ban is a blessing for those feeling the financial strain from the coronavirus pandemic and a curse for landlords and property managers like Sharer. She told us they filed to evict tenants back in March for not paying rent, before the major effects of the pandemic began.

“It’s frustrating because this was an issue before COVID, and we’re now six months into it,” Sherer said. “And these owners haven’t received any payments. They’re paying their own mortgage on top of this mortgage and insurance and property taxes.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ most recent executive order again stopped all evictions and foreclosures but offered a change.

It is stated in section three, “All payment, including tolled payments are due when an individual is no longer adversely affected by the COVID-19 emergency.”

Attorney Charles Cartwright said that line is not a license to file evictions again.

“It’s a dangerous game to go into court as a landlord when you don’t have the easy win,” Cartwright said. “Under normal circumstances, you fail to pay rent, you win. There’s not an argument about whether the tenant has the means to pay.”

Other attorneys we spoke to said it’s OK for property owners to start the eviction process but say the court process is moving slower.

Like Cartwright, Sharer isn’t convinced the amended section will help.

“It’s about $500 to evict somebody,” Sharer said. “That’s a lot of money when you haven’t received rent, and then, to add on the attorney fees, you’re looking at thousands of dollars.”

Reporter:Taylor Petras
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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