ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A few weeks after Florida’s eviction moratorium expired, some Orange County residents are worried about looming evictions.
Life has been uncertain for people like Jennifer Valentino since the moratorium ended. Once a manager at a telemarketing company, she now she faces possibly losing her housing.
“COVID has really drastically changed my life,” she said. “For myself, these are desperate times. I don’t have any money for food, medication."
The CDC issued a federal eviction moratorium through the end of December that would allow landlords to initiate the eviction process, but not remove a tenant. Tenants must qualify for the moratorium and sign a CDC declaration.
Despite that, Valentino received a three-day-notice from her Orlando apartment complex.
“I gave them that CDC order and they said that does not stop the eviction process,” Valentino said.
Even with a federal eviction moratorium in place, without a state moratorium, renters could still be at risk if they do not take action once they get a notice. The federal moratorium can be challenged according to attorney Bridget Friedman.
“I think we’re at the intersection of state versus federal law,” she said.
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She said once an eviction is filed, a tenant should file a response in court.
“At that point, they can bring defenses to the court, and whether those defenses will work will be up to the judicial system. Right now, this is so new. We haven’t seen a lot of these cases yet. It’s anyone’s best guess what’s going to happen once it gets to the courthouse,” said Friedman.
Valentino created a GoFundMe to alleviate some of her expenses.