Patrick Weir said his tenants stopped paying rent in April.
“I’m being taken advantage of,” Weir said. “After they stopped paying, I sent them emails, I sent them texts and I called them. They have not responded.”
For the past five months, Weir said he has kept paying the mortgage on his property – even though the tenants owe him more than $10,000.
He told NBC 6 he is frustrated by the situation.
“I’m paying for somebody who is not paying, who has parents that live here who, he could very well, with his spouse move into his parent’s house,” Weir said.
On Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis extended the eviction moratorium that has been in place for months to help people who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic and can’t afford to pay their rent.
The executive order extended the moratorium to October 1.
“The Executive Order does not cover tenants whose lease expires or when non-payment occurs due to reasons other than the COVID-19 emergency,” Frederick Piccolo, the Director of Communications for the governor’s office, wrote in an email, adding the order only applies to resident tenants, not to commercial evictions.
Weir told NBC 6 he is worried about what could happen if the eviction moratorium continues to be extended.
“The fear is that I’m never going to be able to recoup what the tenant owes me,” Weir said.
Attorney Juan Perez represents landlords.
“The reality is the law is what the law is and the law says if you are renting, you have to pay your rent,” Perez said. “If you’re not paying your rent, you can’t stay.”
Perez said the moratorium has been difficult for property owners, adding many of them have mortgages and taxes they need to pay, which could eventually force them to seek relief through the legal system.
“There is going to be a time when a lot of this is going to end up in court and one side or the other is going to end up getting the bad end of it,” Perez said.
As for Weir, he said he hopes other landlords speak out.
“I’m sure there’s probably thousands in Florida and across the country that are facing the same thing,” Weir said. “Some of them may not be able to make their mortgage payment, some of them may have these tenants that are taking advantage of the situation.”
Perez told NBC 6 it is important to keep in mind the moratorium protects tenants from being evicted but does not eliminate their obligation to pay rent.
“A property owner may initiate a mortgage foreclosure or eviction process in any situation allowed under existing Florida statutes. The Executive Order only halts the final action of certain foreclosures and evictions,” Piccolo wrote.
Perez said it is very important to try to work things out with your landlord as soon as possible.