Are you at risk of eviction? If so, you are certainly not alone. It is now estimated that at least 20 percent of Florida renters are behind on rent. There is literally one piece of paper that could keep a roof over your head until the end of March. Let me briefly explain:
The federal government has extended the eviction moratorium until March 31, 2021. However, do not be misled by this. If a landlord files an eviction and you do nothing, you could still be evicted if the court does not hear anything from you. You have to be proactive when you have been sued. You cannot just do nothing.
Now comes the “one piece of paper” mentioned above. The Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) has released a COVID-19 declaration for those at risk of eviction. This single document could keep you in your rental through the end of March and if the moratorium is extended again, even longer. So if you are at risk of eviction, exactly what should you do?
First, Carefully Read The CDC Declaration
You should first carefully read the CDC declaration. Please keep in mind that you are signing this declaration under penalty of perjury, and if you are caught lying on this declaration, you could be prosecuted and sentenced to prison. The declaration has seven statements listed that you must confirm, under penalty of perjury, are true.
Second, Sign The Declaration
Once you confirm that you can truthfully attest to each of the statements contained in the declaration, you should promptly sign and date the declaration. Also, any other tenants (such as your spouse, if applicable) should sign the declaration as well (if they can truthfully attest to each of the statements in the declaration).
Third, Deliver The Declaration
Make sure to keep a copy of the signed and dated declaration in a safe place. Deliver the original declaration to your landlord, file a copy with the Clerk of Court for your eviction case, and save a copy for your records. To locate your local Clerk of Court, visit this website. If you receive a notice from the court providing that your eviction case has been called up for a hearing, make sure to attend and have a copy of your CDC declaration ready!
Please remember that this CDC declaration is not going to keep you in your rental forever. At most, it may get you a little more time. For many of Florida’s renting families, time is everything right now.
Finally, if you have any friends or family who are at risk of eviction, please share this with them so they can complete the declaration and protect their families!
I hope the information in this newsletter is helpful to you and your family. Best wishes for a healthy, safe Sunday.
Ryan C. Torrens
Consumer litigation attorney
Disclaimer: The information provided in this email does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Ryan Torrens is only licensed to practice law in the State of Florida. Instead, all information, content, and materials available in this email is for general informational purposes only.