7,000 pending evictions’ cases filed in Miami-Dade and Broward counties

NORTHEAST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. – The numbers are staggering and scary. Right now, 7,000 pending evictions’ cases are filed in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. One expert tells Local 10 that he is predicting that number could double.

We found Antoya Ferrell, a Lauderdale Lakes resident, outside of the Broward County Courthouse looking for a solution before she and her four children become homeless.

“I don’t know what to tell my kids. I can’t even explain to you the feeling right now,” Ferrell said. “It’s like the whole world is crashing down,” she said.

Ferrell, like many, are out of work because of the coronavirus pandemic. Her unemployment only covers partial rent. When she fell behind last month an eviction notice came. That’s when an employee in her complex told her that they cannot accept partial payments.

Ferrell tells us the employee said: “I am not trying to be nasty or anything, it is not personal toward you, but if I don’t do this, then I won’t have a job and I can’t pay my mortgage.”

According to the Miami-Dade clerk’s office, 6,434 eviction cases were filed between March and November. In Broward, the sheriff’s office has 626 evictions ready to go.

“I expect another 10 to 20,000 evictions and foreclosures to ultimately make their way into the courts,” Ron Book, chairman of the Miami-Dade Homeless trust, said. “I’ve talked to many lawyers out there — I know they are holding them,” Book said.

He’s been working with the clerk’s office to identify the worst areas.

Eventually, the county may have to negotiate with landlords to settle unpaid rents. But what it’s going to take is more federal funding that hasn’t yet been approved.

Book’s worst fear is seeing tent cities popping up again.

“We have fought so hard to get where we are. Going back because of COVID would be a disaster,” he said.

In October, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield signed a declaration determining that the evictions of tenants could be detrimental to public health control measures to slow the spread of SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. So, as of now, the CDC has an order in effect until Dec. 31, 2020 that no residential evictions may occur due to the pandemic.

Local counties do have CARES Act money. In Hollywood alone, more than a million CARES Act dollars have been given to 863 residents for rent, mortgage payments and utilities since October.

In Broward County, the application period will close soon to get funding from the federal CARES Act. Click here for more information.

Find out more about Miami-Dade County programs. Click here for information.

About the Author:

Jeff Weinsier joined Local 10 News in September 1994. He is currently an investigative reporter for Local 10. He is also responsible for the very popular Dirty Dining segments.