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Facing eviction? A tenant rights attorney breaks down what you should do

Florida's eviction moratorium expired at 12:01 a.m. on October 1st. We know hundreds, if not thousands, of locals are facing possible eviction.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — After months of extensions, the eviction moratorium in Florida has expired when the clock struck midnight on October 1. 

The PIO for Duval County Clerk of Courts says 875 evictions were filed in September and 800 in August. 

Local attorney Glenn Banner focuses on tenant rights cases. He says if you know you still can't pay rent, you need to talk to your landlord right away. He suggests trying to work out a payment plan, but Banner says it unlikely that all tenants will work with their renters as many have gone months without their usual revenue. 

“We’re going to see a flood of evictions," Banner said. 

If you can't get an extension on rent, Banner explains that you should agree to a move out date with your landlord to avoid having an eviction filed against you.

"An eviction action is public record and it follows you," Banner explains. He says if you get evicted, that can affect you getting housing somewhere new. 

Whether you’re evicted or you move out, Banner says provide your landlord with a forwarding address. He says even if you haven’t been able to make rent, you may still be entitled to your security deposit.

RELATED: 800 eviction notices filed in August across Duval County

If you do reach out to talk about your options, Banner says make sure to follow up with an email. That way you'll have written documentation of what you discussed. 

The CDC has put a federal moratorium on evictions in place in September through the rest of the year. Their website states "CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield signed a declaration determining that the evictions of tenants could be detrimental to public health control measures to slow the spread of SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19."

The CDC has a declaration form tenants will have to sign in order to qualify, but you must meet all of the criteria. You can read the declaration below and learn more about the CDC's eviction moratorium here.

Declaration Under Penalty of Perjury for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Temporary Halt in Evictions to Prevent Further Spread of COVID-19

This declaration is for tenants, lessees, or residents of residential properties who are covered by the CDC's order temporarily halting residential evictions (not including foreclosures on home mortgages) to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Under the CDC's order you must provide a copy of this declaration to your landlord, owner of the residential property where you live, or other person who has a right to have you evicted or removed from where you live. Each adult listed on the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract should complete this declaration. Unless the CDC order is extended, changed, or ended, the order prevents you from being evicted or removed from where you are living through December 31, 2020. You are still required to pay rent and follow all the other terms of your lease and rules of the place where you live. You may also still be evicted for reasons other than not paying rent or making a housing payment. This declaration is sworn testimony, meaning that you can be prosecuted, go to jail, or pay a fine if you lie, mislead, or omit important information.

I certify under penalty of perjury, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1746, that the foregoing are true and correct:

  • I have used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing; [37]
  • I either expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or received an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) pursuant to Section 2201 of the CARES Act;
  • I am unable to pay my full rent or make a full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, lay-offs, or extraordinary [38] out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  • I am using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual's circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses;
  • If evicted I would likely become homeless, need to move into a homeless shelter, or need to move into a new residence shared by other people who live in close quarters because I have no other available housing options.[39]
  • I understand that I must still pay rent or make a housing payment, and comply with other obligations that I may have under my tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract. I further understand that fees, penalties, or interest for not paying rent or making a housing payment on time as required by my tenancy, lease agreement, or similar contract may still be charged or collected.
  • I further understand that at the end of this temporary halt on evictions on December 31, 2020, my housing provider may require payment in full for all payments not made prior to and during the temporary halt and failure to pay may make me subject to eviction pursuant to State and local laws.

I understand that any false or misleading statements or omissions may result in criminal and civil actions for fines, penalties, damages, or imprisonment.

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