A South Florida woman says she is fearing eviction from her apartment after receiving a notice from her landlord about a monthly rent she says she can’t pay after being laid off during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jaqueline Austen is one of 10 tenants at the building and one of four who say they cannot pay the rent. She got a notice from her landlord recently saying she has three days to pay.
“I saw ‘3-day notice’ so I got super scared,” she said about the $1,575 bill due on Tuesday. “I got laid off due to the situation. I was a bartender and I advised my landlord I got laid off.”
The little cash Austen does have is used to put food on the table for her 10-year-old son.
“If I do pay the rent, I’ll have no money to put food on the table and I refuse to do that and I explained that to her,” she says. “I need to live. I can’t give you every dollar I have for the rent. How am I supposed to feed my child?”
The landlord told NBC 6 she’s working with her tenants to make payment plans, suggesting they file for unemployment and use their $1,200 federal stimulus check.
“I didn’t receive a check. I don’t know if I qualify for it, but I haven’t received it,” said Austen, who added that she has applied for unemployment.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis put an emergency hold on all evictions until next month so landlords can’t kick anybody out. But they are allowed to send notices and demand letters that make some people think they won’t have a home.
“This is not the way to go about it,” said State Rep. Michael Grieco. “This is fake forcing an issue when it comes to trying to get rent when people can’t pay it.”
The governor’s moratorium does not forgive rent payments, so any help will eventually have to be aid.
“I don’t know what to say. I feel like it’s a situation that can go nowhere,” Austen said. “She wants to hear ‘I have money for her’ and I don’t.”