The Miami-Dade Police Department announced on Thursday that pre-pandemic evictions could resume. But by the end of the day, county Mayor Carlos Gimenez had reversed the decision, causing confusion among landlords and tenants.
Coronavirus-related evictions have been on hold in Florida for several months. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ two previous orders extending the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures narrowed the emergency legislation, limiting the ban to the final action of foreclosures and evictions, and only to residential property whose owners and tenants have been impacted financially as a result of the pandemic. The latest extension ends Oct. 1.
In a statement, Gimenez said the resumption of evictions “was meant to follow the current state order” and “applied solely to eviction orders in place on or before March 12.”
Yet, the mayor said he directed the police department to maintain the current moratorium until a review is completed. “We want to ensure that any policy change implemented is fair to both tenants and property owners,” he continued in his statement.
Sebastian Jaramillo, a partner with Miami-based Wolfe Pincavage law firm, said tenants outnumber landlords, and the general public is more sympathetic to tenants. The backlog in Miami-Dade is expected to be huge, with thousands of cases in the pipeline, lawyers say.
“Everyone is starting to get concerned that the volume will be overwhelming,” Jaramillo said, adding that pre-Covid, Miami-Dade was typically two to three weeks behind on eviction cases.
“Now you tack on another six months of potential cases, that’s going to take months to undo,” he said.
Attorney David Winker said that without writs of possession, which sheriffs will post on the doors of homes as part of the eviction process, “there is no pressure.”
Winker said the back and forth between Miami-Dade Police and the mayor’s office shows “how everyone seems to be flying by the seat of their pants.”
“If there’s one man holding the line right now, it’s Mayor Gimenez,” Winker said. “And there’s no solution. There’s no federal help. There’s no state help. There’s no county help.”