Ron DeSantis

Despite Statewide Prohibition on Evictions, Residents Worry About Paying Rent

Many are suffering economic insecurity as a side effect of the pandemic, but it's important to keep in mind the special rights renters have

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COVID-19 has severely impacted people's wallets, and as many live paycheck to paycheck, others are struggling to pay their rent.

“Right now I don’t have no paycheck, no nothing, so I have to do extra to put food on the table,” said renter Yvette Dang.

Dang is a nail technician who has lived in her Miramar apartment complex for three months. She says she has always paid her rent on time, and even donated gloves to first responders during this pandemic.

Now, she is struggling to pay her rent.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered all evictions to stop statewide as of April 2nd, but Dang told NBC 6 she is worried she could be kicked out of her apartment. She received notices this month stating that her balance was due, urging her to pay it immediately.

“This month, I asked them can I make a rent payment and they sent me a late fee on top of my rent so it comes out to $1,800 or $1,900,” said Dang.

Lizette Senti, a neighbor in the same complex, told NBC 6 she is also concerned. Her hours at a dental office have been cut back, and while she was able to scrounge up enough cash to pay her April rent, she is still concerned about being able to make future payments to her property manager.

“What’s gonna happen next month? You know I paid the rent and I stayed with $58 dollars,” said Senti.

“You know nobody is returning my emails? What’s going on? Management has told us the rent is due when the rent is due.”

As of now, Dang has not received an actual eviction notice, and legally landlords can send you a late notice if you do not pay your rent.

Legal experts from Community Justice Project laid out some basic rights residents still have claim to during this uncertain time period.

“Renters need to know that right now there is a statewide moratorium through May 17th on evictions and foreclosures across the state if you can’t pay your rent," said Alana Greer of the Community Justice Project.

"Landlords are also prohibited from sending formal three day notices that say, if you don’t pay your rent I’m going to evict you. That doesn’t mean that they can’t reach out and remind you that the rent is due or that the rent is forgiven. Those are still owed at this time. And that’s why many tenants are organizing for further relief from our state government, from our federal government to really solve this problem."

Greer also said that landlords cannot file eviction notices in court during this specific time period.

“A large number of renters, about 50% of multi-family homes and everyone in public housing or section 8, has special protections under the new federal law, the CARES Act. They still owe their rent but they’re gonna be protected for a longer period of time through July of this year,” explained Greer.

If you do receive a formal eviction notice, you can seek assistance at Legal Services in Miami or Broward.

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