coronavirus pandemic

Governor Extends Moratorium as Another Rent Assistance Program Launches

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Gov. Ron DeSantis has extended a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for another month through Oct. 1.

Across South Florida, tenants are struggling to pay their rent due to loss of income during the pandemic. Though the state’s moratorium was extended for another month, starting in August, the language in the moratorium changed.

The new language suspended the final action of requiring renters to vacate their units, but allowed landlords to start the eviction process.

“We are already seeing those evictions getting filed, as of Monday there were already more than 850 evictions filed in Miami-Dade County and that number is going to grow significantly,” Sean Rowley said.

Rowley is the Advocate Director of Tenants’ Rights for Legal Services of Greater Miami. He says his organization is bracing for an uptick of tenants looking for help.

“The three-day notices and evictions are already happening, because remember under this executive order it doesn’t prevent the landlord from starting the process,” Rowley said.

Across South Florida, tenants are struggling to pay their rent due to loss of income during the pandemic.

Some tenants have turned to programs managed by their local municipalities. In the City of Miami, three different relief programs have launched since May.

A City of Miami spokesperson told us $3.6 million dollars has been allocated to these programs, and so far 353 households have received assistance with roughly 850 applications are being processed.

In Miami-Dade County, $10 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds under the federal CARES Act was allocated by the County to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

Applications are still being processed and it is estimated that landlords will receive payment by Sept. 15. So far, 4,100 households or families have been approved to receive their rent payments through this program.

Miami-Dade County is also rolling out new relief programs in the coming weeks. According to a county spokesperson, a housing assistance program to provide mortgage and rent relief for active military personnel and veterans and a program geared to assist landlords with less than five units will roll out within three weeks.

There will also be $5 million allocated for another round of Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

On Monday, Broward County launched its Residential Online Rental Assistance program. Qualified residents impacted by COVID-19 can apply online for up to five months of rental assistance. The $25 million allocated to the program is funded through CARES Act funds.

According to the county, it will provide between 60% and 75% of assistance to qualified residents for unpaid rents between April and August.

Landlords must agree to participate and accept the partial rent as full payment. Payments are made to landlords. 

Applications will be accepted online only until Sunday, Sept. 6 at 10 p.m.

Rowley says if you are facing eviction you should seek legal help and communicate with you landlord.

“We have advised people to keep lines of communication open with their landlord, work out what you can, when you can, if you have the money to pay, it’s best to pay, even if the moratorium doesn’t apply to you, because like you said there is no rent forgiveness,” Rowley said.

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