It’s nearly November, which means America has been reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic for 8 months and counting. Millions of people have lost jobs. As a result, tenants can’t afford their rent and landlords aren't getting paid. It’s a situation that’s been detrimental for both groups alike.
We’ve noticed an uptick in illegal evictions in Florida. We want to offer landlords and tenants some advice. We want to prevent you from getting caught on the wrong side of the door or law.
Landlords, we know it’s frustrating. Your livelihood has been threatened. Renting units maybe how you take care of your family – after so many months of non-payment, you’re likely frustrated.
Tenants may have a desire to pay, just not the means. You don’t want to find yourself on the streets during a health pandemic.
We hope each of you will have some empathy for the other’s situation.
Landlords: Don’t engage in what’s called “Self-Help”
In the State of Florida, it’s illegal to kick your tenant out without going through the courts and obtaining an official order. Refrain from changing the locks or doing something else that would prohibit your tenant from being able to enter the premises.
This will only cause you more problems. You can actually end up having to pay three times the amount of your tenant’s rent if they take you to court for illegal eviction and you’re found guilty.
No one wants this.
Tenants: You may have a case if this has happened to you. If your landlord has put you out using self-help during the covid-19 pandemic, you may be the victim of illegal eviction.
“It’s a pretty crappy situation because people don’t know. Landlords are getting sick of it because they’re not getting paid and tenants who this has happened to may not know they were put out illegally,” Jonathan Arias, who specializes in landlord and tenant law, said.
Landlords, we know some people haven’t paid rent since February or March, but please follow due process and avoid taking matters into your own hands. We encourage you to read our post from July that offers advice on how to survive the COVID-19 eviction bans.
Tenants, understand your landlord has a family to provide for just like you, pay what you can, when you can, if you can. If you can’t pay, make sure you know your rights. Tenants should also note if your eviction is not COVID-19 related, eviction protections may not apply to you.
We get it. The situation is tough on both sides, we don’t want you to do anything to make things worse.
Are you a landlord who may have performed an illegal eviction? Are you a tenant who thinks you’re the victim of one? If you answered yes, you may need to consult with an attorney who specializes in evictions in Florida. Give our offices a call today at 786-504- 5760
The information in this blog post has been provided for informational purposes only and may not reflect the current laws in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from The Onyx Group, or the author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.