Rental Dispute in Hialeah Sheds Light on Landlord-Tenant Issues During the Pandemic

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Cihara Posada and her son came home to their Hialeah rental Wednesday afternoon to find all their belongings on the lawn. The doors were locked. 

“I was torn,” Posada said. She said she’d been at the hospital with her son, who’s been sick. 

She told NBC 6 she lost her job as a gas station cashier at the beginning of the pandemic. 

Posada admitted she hasn’t been paying rent. Though she’s been looking for somewhere else to live. 

“I've been calling the shelters, too,” Posada said. “Like I’ve prepared myself. But there’s no room at the shelters. I told the cops that, too. So what do I do if I can’t go to a shelter? I don’t have a family to go to.”

Her landlord tells a very different story. 

Jorge Palomino said Posada hasn’t been paying rent for well over a year. 

He showed pictures of a filthy unit that he says he was forced to clean. He claimed she’s not even on the lease. 

Court documents show he filed for eviction for non-payment in June 2020. A judge granted it in August. 

However, there’s a moratorium on evictions because of the pandemic. 

He told NBC 6 that Posada disappeared for several days. He thought she’d finally left and removed her stuff. 

Posada returned Wednesday and called police to say she’d been thrown out. Because of the moratorium, the landlord was told he had to let her stay, at least for now. 

“Landlords also have programs available to them if they did file for eviction and get the writ from the judge, which is to remove the tenant,” said attorney Vanessa Diaz. 

She explains landlords have options, too.

“They do have the right to get funding from the government," Diaz said. "You can get assistance to cover your mortgage, your debt during this hardship.”

Diaz said the eviction hearings are moving forward and as soon as the moratorium is lifted, the police will resume removing tenants. Her office anticipates that the moratorium will be lifted possibly at the end of March or the beginning of April. 

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