JACKSONVILLE, Fla — A Jacksonville woman reached out to First Coast News for help when her landlord gave her a notice saying rent was due. The issue was it should’ve been paid already by Our Florida.
Our Florida is the program helping thousands of Floridians with rental assistance during the pandemic.
Tenants never physically see the money however they do have the receipts.
Misty Swift says she saw on her ledger her Our Florida money was processed, but her landlord says they didn't have it.
“I’ve contacted people. I’ve emailed. I’ve called. I’ve emailed. I’ve called. I’ve sent documentation in that they requested," Swift said. "They just keep telling me the supervisor will call me back. They’re on lunch or in a meeting. They’ve been on lunch or in a meeting for 2 months.”
Since this started around April, her landlord has since sold the group of rental homes and the issue has just been passed on to a new owner.
Swift and several other people living in the westside rental homes rely on Our Florida payments to keep a roof over their head.
“Someone is lying," Swift said. "I have the return receipt where someone from Mainstreet signed for the check on April 22. They sold our property on April 21.”
Swift was told her former landlords Mainstreet Renewal never got the payment.
“What’s really sad about these situations, in many of them there isn’t even a bad guy," said James Tyer, with Jacksonville Area Legal Aid. "Someone sold the property, somebody has not picked up the slack…”
Tyer is an attorney on the housing defense team at JALA.
“There could just be a miscommunication about where the money is supposed to go and who owes what," explained Tyer. "Many of the property managers when they get a new property, they just get a new ledger and see what they’re owed. That’s all they know really.”
I reached out to the former owners. No response.
However, Tyer is working on Swift’s case and since we started asking questions, he says the former owners appear to be cooperating with the new owners to find the funds.
If this is happening to you, Tyer says to do these 3 things:
- Go to your landlord and see if they received your Our Florida payment.
- Don’t have it? Call Our Florida to see if they can track it down
- No luck? Reach out Jacksonville Area Legal Aid.