Coronavirus in Florida: Landlords hoping for state assistance as rent forgiveness continues

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – So far, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has extended the moratorium on rent with each month that has passed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Meanwhile, landlords say they are getting no help paying their property bills. Now, a proposal from state lawmakers aims to provide support to everyone involved. 

Landlords throughout South Florida say the repeated extensions of governor DeSantis’ moratorium on evictions have left them behind.

"I feel like hostage, because how come the government controls my property," said landlord Arik Lev. "You let everybody live for free. With no supporting document. No burden of proof."

Lev says he has had trouble paying bills after months with no rental income at his Hollywood property. 

Frances Blissett is a landlord and real estate attorney who handles evictions. She said while tenants are receiving protection, no one is looking out for small landlords who rely on rental income to make ends meet. 

“Come November 1 we have taxes due, real estate taxes, what does the landlord do?” she asked. “Their tenants are getting the money, they’re getting unemployment, they’re getting stimulus, they’re getting tax returns, and they’re going out an buying furniture and not paying their rent.”

A new proposal from State Senator Jason Pizzo aims to address the debts owners owe the banks. His pitch is a tri-party agreement with banks, landlords and tenants. 

He told Local 10: "Tenant demonstrates inability to pay, landlord sends to bank, and resources are directed to banks, relieving all three parties' obligations."

It’s a plan Blissett says could only help, to make tenants and landlords work together. 

“They saved all their life to get this one piece of real estate. What’s going to happen? They’re going to lose it,” she said. 

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