With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s moratorium over, many tenants are looking for other protections.
Tenants’ Rights attorney Sean Rowley said it’s now more important for renters facing eviction to know how local city or county ordinances could offer help.
“There are some new protections that were put in place that people should be aware of,” Rowley said.
Rowley is the advocacy director of the tenants’ rights department with the Legal Services of Greater Miami. He said in Miami-Dade County landlords who accept money from the county’s rental assistance program are required to dismiss a pending eviction case within 10 days.
It is also required to pursue an eviction within 60 days of receiving the money. Those same protections are not yet in place in Broward County.
“New things that were put into the landlord certifications because we were seeing some instances of landlords taking a huge chunk of money from the ERAP program and then moving forward with an eviction anyway,” Rowley said.
Rowley says many landlords are complying, but some cases are slipping through the cracks.
“What other landlords will do is kind of take the eviction money and then some kind of forget they have this eviction filed. So the eviction is sitting there but they don’t move it forward and they don’t dismiss it,” Rowley said.
If you are renting month-to-month without a written lease agreement, state law requires a landlord to give you at least a 15-day notice before terminating the tenancy.
But in Miami-Dade County, tenants now get more notice.
“The Miami-Dade Commission passed a local ordinance that applies in all of Miami-Dade County, which now requires landlords to give 30-days’ notice before terminating a tenancy,” Rowley said.
Rowley suggests tenants look at local discrimination laws that could offer even more protections.
“It is illegal to discriminate against someone based on their source of income,” Rowley said.
Rowley says right now, one of the best protections against being evicted is the rental assistance programs. He suggests applying for multiple programs because there is a chance you could get denied for one but receive another.
Though Broward County does not have ordinances in place to prevent a landlord from evicting a tenant if they receive ERAP money, a county spokesperson told NBC 6 the following:
“Our focus is on conducting outreach to landlords directly, particularly to those landlords with a number of tenants who may be at risk of experiencing homelessness, to see how we can work together to facilitate the tenants providing the necessary documentation to determine their eligibility for assistance.”