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Thousands in Leon County worried about eviction moratorium ending this weekend

Posted at 5:48 PM, Jul 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 18:16:56-04

LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL)  — The federal Eviction Moratorium ends this weekend.

This means landlords can resume evictions for renters who can't afford to make payments.

It was first put in place by the federal government to further stop the spread of COVID-19 by preventing homelessness and overcrowded housing conditions resulting from evictions.

Alex Richmond, a lawyer with the Legal Services of North Florida, said it isn't likely that evictions will start as early as Monday.

"Under Florida landlord law they abolished what is called self-help evictions," said Richmond. "This means landlords can't really take it upon themselves to get rid of a tenant like changing their locks or turning off the power."

Richmond said the landlord has to go through a court process that could take several days or weeks.

"It involves putting a notice on the door with a certain amount of time depending on the circumstance of the case and then after that time expires they can file with the court and then the court will send a summons up to the tenant to respond," Richmond said.

In Leon County, more than 6,000 people applied for Leon Cares rental assistance, while about
2,500 are still waiting on their money.

Richmond said they've helped 900 people this year with rental assistance.

From 2019-2020, his organization also saw an 18 to 20 percent increase in clients.

With the eviction on moratoriums ending, they're expecting that number to climb.

Karen Miller, Executive Director of the Tallahassee Lenders Consortium, said her organization has also seen an increase in clients.

This is why her office has a lawyer on standby to work with clients who may be at risk of a mortgage foreclosure from the moratorium ends.

"They sit with the homeowner and contact the service, so there is a conversation between the three of them take place and that's where the negotiations take place to see if we can resolve the issue," Miller said.

Miller said if there is no resolution, their team will help clients find other financial means to keep their home.

"The pandemic impacted jobs, so you're talking about anyone that could have lost a job in any income situation," Miller said.

If you need assistance to not lose your home, reach out to TLC at (850) 222-6609 x100.

You can also reach out to the Legal Service of North Florida:

General Eviction/Housing Resources