Can Florida Mediate Evictions: Landlords and Tenants
Florida residents are facing continuous financial hardships. The pandemic is preventing many from being able to pay their monthly rent. A ban on all evictions in the State of Florida has now been extended until September 1, 2020. The ban not only applies to evictions but foreclosures as well. This presents many unresolved issues between landlord and tenants that are behind on their rent payments.
Tenants living in Florida should be following the eviction ban by now. The laws are in place to help both sides. The ban does not get tenants off the hook for paying their rent or mortgage. How can we work with each party for the best results? How do we ensure tents going up in the cities and the homelessness increase? Obviously, if a legal remedy is not put into place to mediate between both parties, the state may find itself in a pickle. Homelessness may become a huge problem. Many citizens may have to live in their cars in public areas to survive. This scenario would not look good for cities and towns that want tourism to come back.
Working together for a resolution
The extension of the ban is not meant to avoid landlord vs tenant cases flooding the local courts. But it should surely delay the process. Local courts have opened and most landlords can start the process of eviction via paperwork. However, courts may not serve papers or process the paperwork to its fullest intent. By the end of August 2020, landlords are anticipating that the eviction ban will once again be extended but praying/hoping it won’t be extended. In some cases, tenants and landlords are working together to reach a resolution that satisfies both parties. However, most tenants will not be able to resolve any missed payments, especially since the $600/week federal unemployment benefits have ceased.
In many situations, tenants have lost their jobs and even with multiple applications going out, no job offers are coming in. Tenants are competing with many others in the same position. Many small businesses will not be reopening in the near future. In all likelihood, evicting someone from their home during a pandemic likely won’t fix the landlord’s problem. The reason is clear. Families will be not in a position to rent. Credit scores will drop and landlords will consider past experiences.
Eligible tenants will be few and far between
Without unemployment benefits coming in and zero job prospects, families will have no choice but to vacate. For those who can not make rent payments now; finding a new place will become impossible. Will local churches and community services will become overwhelmed with an influx of families in need? It is in the landlord’s best interest to keep long-standing tenants that are currently having financial problems due to the pandemic. Can we find solutions amicably and without involving the courts? I am not sure that we can because everyone is hurting right now.
Not to write this blog one-sided, we must understand that many landlords are investors that live off of the rentals they have purchased. Many landlords can be considered self-employed and can not receive unemployment benefits. So it becomes just as difficult for them as well as the tenants. Trying to see both sides of the equation helps to put things into perspective. It may also be true that some landlords actually hold mortgages to the properties they rent. If so, a tenant that doesn’t pay the rent may put the landlord in a negative position with their mortgage company. Late payments to a mortgage company will surely reflect upon one’s credit score. Banks will report late payments to the credit bureau.
Hopeful for solutions before its too late
The Federal Government lifted the eviction ban on July 24th, 2020. The Florida government is taking the eviction ban one month at a time. It is impossible for the government to predict what will happen in the near future. That uncertainty means that no one knows how to handle the situation in a way that does the least damage to landlords or tenants. Can all parties sit down and mediate a resolution that would benefit all citizens? Ultimately, that would indeed make sense to avoid the numerous citizens that would find themselves living on the streets or standing in line for the limited beds in a shelter. Please feel free to read my blog on 5 reasons to Reform the Eviction Process NOW.