(WSVN) - Many people have lost their jobs and cannot pay rent, but some landlords are complaining many other renters still have a job, have the money to pay rent and still aren’t paying. It’s illegal to evict a tenant right now, but can a tenant live for free? Let’s bring in Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
People think their landlords are rich. People are wrong.
Zayda Bogarin, landlords are struggling: “They think that you’re making a lot of profit. You still owe money on the house.”
Zayda’s family has to pay a mortgage, taxes and insurance on their house while their renter refuses to pay anything.
Zayda Bogarin: “She is just trying to live there for free.”
Zayda is not alone. Many landlords are calling us after the government blocked landlords from evicting tenants who don’t pay rent.
Caller: “I am a landlord, and I have a couple of tenants who are working, and they are just using this environment in reference to not paying their rent.”
Caller 2: “Unsustainable, impossible. Please, when are the evictions gonna start?”
If her renter did not have any money, Zayda said she would work with her, but…
Zayda Bogarin: “So if she sends me proof, she’s getting back like $5,000 on each tax return, she’s got her stimulus check.”
Zayda said while her tenant refuses to pay rent, she is spending money on parties.
Zayda Bogarin: “She’s rubbing it in my face. Saturday, she threw a party there. For someone that does not have money, how do you have money to throw a party?”
Zayda asked her renter to pay something, anything to help Zayda pay the mortgage on the house.
Zayda Bogarin: “She basically told us that she wasn’t paying nothing, that, by law, nobody could get her out of the house, and she was going to stay living there till July for free.”
Zayda’s family even offered the tenant a job.
Zayda Bogarin: “And she said, ‘No,’ that she is not working. Of course, it’s going to get me mad, upset.”
Well Howard, many tenants who are not paying rent during the coronavirus think they are living for free, but is it really a free ride?”
Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “No, if you can’t or won’t pay the rent, you need to be careful. Right now, the landlords’ hands are tied, but when the state of emergency ends, the renter will owe all the money they did not pay. If you don’t repay it all, you will be evicted. There will be a judgment against you that you will have to pay in the future, and it will be very difficult for you to rent another place with that eviction on your record.”
Howard, also infuriating are the hundreds of thousands of people laid off who can’t get unemployment because the state’s system is a mess. Will Florida end up getting sued over this?
Howard Finkelstein: “They may, but you will only get the unemployment you were deprived. The state has what the law calls sovereign immunity, meaning you cannot collect damages for their incompetence.”
People can’t renew their driver’s license and tag since the offices are closed. Legally, are they gonna get in trouble?
Howard Finkelstein: “With a recently expired driver’s license, no, because the state has already granted an extension. With an expired tag, you can be ticketed, so go online and renew it.”
We are hearing from parents who rented caps and gowns for their high school seniors. Districts are doing virtual graduations, and many kids we are hearing from don’t want to wear those outfits and want their money back. Can they get it?
Howard Finkelstein: “No, the schools will argue a virtual ceremony counts as a graduation, so you have to pay the rental company for the cap and gown, even though a student will not want to wear it.”
Zayda Bogarin: “I think something needs to happen. Something needs to change.”
Zayda says, if something doesn’t change quickly, many landlords won’t be able to pay their mortgages and may lose their properties because of some tenants who took advantage of the crisis.
Zayda Bogarin: “Once the three months is over, she is gonna move. Then, how do I get my money?”
And of course, we hear from many tenants who lost their jobs who want to pay but cannot. They tell us they are embarrassed to not be able to pay.
Howard Finkelstein: “And probably the only solution for a landlord: convince their lender to move some mortgage payments to the end of their loan because they need that help as well.”
If you have questions, check out the other stories under the Help Me Howard tab. We have put many answers there, including how to find out where your stimulus money is, and if you need help, remember, we are always here for you.
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