Biden calls on Congress to extend eviction moratorium as Delta spreads in US – live
This pain won’t be felt equally across the US. States with weak renter protections, such as Florida, are bracing for an “avalanche” of evictions while the federal moratorium’s expiration won’t be noticed in states with stronger protections, such as Washington.
Jeffrey Hittleman, a lawyer at Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida, said the moratorium has been important for the dozens of clients who lost their jobs, had issues collecting unemployment from the backlogged benefit system, then fell behind on rent. “Once the CDC moratorium expires, there will be no special eviction protections for people in south Florida,” Hittleman said.
Florida eviction cases move quickly and fighting them is hard. Just to get a court hearing, tenants have to pay the full back rent owed within five days of the eviction filing. Without the eviction moratorium as a defense, people will have only a few days to find months of unpaid rent just to get a court hearing.
Denise Forcer credited Hittleman and his firm for connecting her to the rental assistance program, getting her unemployment benefits delivered and enforcing the eviction moratorium, which her landlord was ignoring. “If not for them, I don’t know what I would have done,” Forcer said.
Even with the rental assistance, which Forcer said covered three or four months of rent, she still spent $3,000 from her savings and unemployment checks to pay off the remaining balance, including late fees her landlord had added to her bill.