(WSVN) - The governor has lifted his ban on evicting renters, but the federal government says you can’t evict some renters. Confusing? It can be, and it’s why we brought in Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser to clear it all up for landlords and tenants.
It’s difficult for everyone. Tenants lost their jobs, and they can’t pay rent, and landlords still have to pay the mortgage on the property.
Now, as the state ban on evictions is lifted, while the federal ban kicks in, it’s about to become chaotic.
Nordia Paul: “‘Cause right now I have hardship. This is hardship.”
Ardrekra Latimore: “Very — very scared.”
Let’s begin with Ardrekra, a single mom, a renter with both hands full.
Ardrekra Latimore: “I have three boys and two girls, and it’s hard managing right now.”
When the coronavirus hit, Ardrekra lost her job as a security guard, couldn’t pay the rent, and her car was repossessed.
Ardrekra Latimore: “Yes, I have applied for unemployment. They haven’t responded to me.”
As it becomes easier to evict tenants, Ardrekra’s landlord is vowing to make her life even worse.
Ardrekra Latimore: “She gave me a call and was, like, that I would be evicted. I have my kids. You are just going to kick us out? Where are we gonna go? With no shelter, no nothing.”
Ardrekra found a job but does not have the money to pay the back rent, and she fears she and her five children will be homeless.
Ardrekra Latimore: “I’ve never been evicted before, so I don’t know what to expect.”
That’s the face of a mother fearing eviction.
The state now allows evictions, but the federal order bans some evictions. Howard, what can renters expect?
Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “You can block the eviction if you can prove you can’t pay the rent. The key here: you have to fill out an affidavit swearing that you have experienced a substantial loss of household income because of layoff or furlough. You also have to prove you have tried to make partial rent payments, and you would become homeless if evicted. Then you have to turn that affidavit over to your landlord.”
Then there are the landlords like Nordia, who tried to be understanding to their renter.
Nordia Paul, tenant wouldn’t pay rent: “If you can’t pay, that’s understanding. Let’s work it out, let’s come up with something, ’cause anything is better than nothing.”
Nordia’s tenant wouldn’t pay anything for the house, even though she was still working.
Nordia Paul: “Texting me, ‘I have to talk to you later. At work in a meeting,’ but you can’t pay your rent. Really? Wow.”
But Nordia has a mortgage on the property. She has to pay the bank or lose her house.
Nordia Paul: “I had to pick up extra shifts. I had to pick up extra hours, just so I can pay the mortgage.”
The tenant owed Nordia $6,000 in back rent. When we contacted them, they told us they did not have the money to pay the back rent.
Nordia Paul: “I want them out. They have gotten their free ride, and the ride is over now. Get out, get out, leave. You have already got three months. Get out.”
Well, Howard, Nordia has a tenant she says is using COVID as an excuse to stop paying rent. Can Nordia now evict her?
Howard Finkelstein: “Yes. If the landlord can prove the tenant can pay the rent, they just need to go through the normal eviction process and get the judge to sign the order to throw them out.”
Nordia Paul: “It’s Nordia, the landlord, trying to get a hold of you.”
Good news for Nordia: her tenant started paying rent, caught up and then moved out.
Ardrekra Latimore: “Freaking out.”
The news is not as good for Ardrekra. She got a job and got laid off from that. She will fill out that federal paperwork to avoid eviction, but she lives in fear every day of being homeless.
Ardrekra Latimore: “I’m looking for work. Give me a chance. Can I try some type of payment?”
The evictions are going to slowly begin. To see if you qualify under the federal rules to avoid being evicted, go to the links at the bottom of this Help Me Howard for that information plus the form to fill out. Also, there are links to information about your rights as a tenant and a landlord.
Howard Finkelstein: “And if you have a problem or questions, whether its COVID-related or not, get in touch with us. We will do everything we can to help you.
FOR TENANTS ABOUT TO BE EVICTED:
Broward Legal Aid
FOR LANDLORDS TRYING TO EVICT TENANTS
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