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Florida lawmakers seek to slow down evictions

In Florida, more than 47,000 eviction notices have been filed.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – One in five renters and one in 10 homeowners are believed to be behind on their rent or mortgage payments nationally.

In Florida, more than 47,000 eviction notices have been filed, and a handful of bills filed at the State Capitol seek to keep people in their homes.

Every day in Florida, 180 new eviction notices are being filed.

A total of 47,676 have been filed since the pandemic began according to the state courts administrator.

A legal services documentary put out by Virginia Poverty Law Center highlights the problem — most landlords won’t rent to someone who has been evicted.

“We’'ll check the court records and see an eviction and unfortunately, we can’t help you,” said Margaret Eaddy, a woman with a past eviction interviewed in the documentary.

In Florida legislation has been filed to require courts to send tenants and landlords to mediation.

“It’s to help level the playing field. Try to provide more process for tenants,” said House sponsor Fentrice Driskell.

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Under the bill, tenants would not have to post all of their back due rent with the court, guaranteeing a hearing on the facts.

Other pending legislation would remove eviction documents from the public record.

“We allow records to be expunged and sealed for criminal offenses. Why not for the unfortunate situation of an eviction?” Said Senate sponsor Darryl Rouson.

Amanda Gill with the Florida Apartment Association worries the legislation will do more harm than good.

“This legislation would ultimately prevent housing providers from working with residents in those incidents where they would otherwise be incentivized to do so,” said Gill.

But legal services attorney Stephanie Johnson said anything to slow evictions will help people.

“To not have those evictions count against them so they can find adequate housing is important,” said Johnson.

The CDC’s national eviction moratorium has been extended through the first of April.

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The national moratorium has kept most cases from going to court, but this year’s session begins March 2 and runs through April 30, a full month after the national moratorium is set to expire.