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Landlords face hurdles with eviction moratorium ending

Important for landlords to document communication with tenants, lawyer says
Posted at 9:00 AM, Jul 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-08 17:17:52-04

PALM CITY, Fla. — The eviction moratorium is also having a big effect on landlords.

When the pandemic started in 2020, Jeff Gustafson admitted it ushered in a difficult time for him and his tenants at Coquina Cove Apartments in Palm City.

MORE: Federal eviction moratorium extended until July 31, what's next?

"The first few weeks we were trying to figure out everything like everyone else was," Gustafson said.

In the months that followed, many landlords were confronted with tenants who had lost jobs or stopped working and rents stopped coming in.

Jeff Gustafson, Coquina Cove Apartments
Jeff Gustafson of the Coquina Cove Apartments discusses how the eviction moratorium has impacted landlords.

"We had to pay our vendors' utilities, landscapers. Yes, we had to keep our expenses rolling and covering them," Gustafson said. "We had to change our policies and tried to help people through their situations, and almost like a caseworker, we had to help each individual figure out things."

That strategy worked, since now as both the pandemic and eviction moratorium from the CDC are ending, he never had to face evicting.

"We're in good shape. Luckily all of our residents have weathered the storm," he said.

MORE: Help available for families facing eviction due to income loss from COVID-19

Litigation attorney Shaun Plymale in Stuart said during times like these there are good landlords and bad landlords.

"Usually they get a bad rap," he said.

Litigation attorney Shaun Plymale
Litigation attorney Shaun Plymale says there are certain criteria tenants must meet to avoid eviction.

Plymale said under the current CDC moratorium there are certain criteria tenants must meet to avoid eviction.

"The landlords aren't generally going against somebody that's making a partial payment, paying what they can," Plymale said. "The ones we're seeing action against in our review of court records are the tenant that doesn't respond and more importantly the tenant that doesn't show up for court."

Plymale said it's important for landlords to stay in communication with tenants and to document all communications.

He said eviction usually happens after all attempts have failed.

"Certainly one of the challenges for landlords right now is it's very difficult when they come to me and spend more money to try to evict somebody that wasn't paying in the first place and becomes cost-prohibitive," Plymale said.