COVID-19 Information and Resources
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ISSUES FOR RENTERS
Need assistance with drafting the answer to your eviction complaint? Use this Eviction Answer Builder
I don’t have enough money for this month’s rent, can my landlord evict me?
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) Eviction Moratorium is no longer in effect, and there is no moratorium to protect Florida tenants from eviction. This is the first time since March 2020 that there is no moratorium in place to protect tenants from eviction in Florida.
Under Florida law, tenants who cannot pay their rent due to COVID-19 will have few protections from eviction.
If you have received notice from your landlord asking you to pay rent or move out or if your landlord files an eviction lawsuit against you, you should immediately contact Legal Services to see if we can provide you with legal assistance: https://www.legalservicesmiami.org/contact-hours
If you cannot pay your rent, you should also immediately apply for rental assistance. This website lists all rental assistance programs currently accepting applications: https://www.axishelps.org/rent
To learn more about the eviction process, review our brochure: How to Answer Your Eviction During and After COVID-19
If you need help writing an answer to an eviction lawsuit, this website can help you create an answer: http://floridaevictionanswerbuilder.org/
My landlord filed an eviction against me several months ago. The court ordered me evicted (eviction judgment), but the CDC moratorium protected me and I’m still living in my home. What happens to my case?
Your landlord will likely ask the Police Department to remove you from your home. The County may first review your case to determine whether your landlord is willing to accept rental assistance. But, there is no guarantee this will happen or stop your eviction.
After the judge orders you evicted, the clerk of court will issue a “Writ of Possession.” This paper from the court tells the police department to remove you and your belongings from the home. Next, the Police Department will post the Writ on your door. The Writ will tell you that the police will come back after 24 hours to remove you and your belongings. While the police sometimes come back more than 24 hours later, you cannot count on the extra time. You should assume that you need to make plans to leave the unit immediately if you receive a Writ (24 hours’ notice).
If you receive a Writ of Possession and do not have anywhere to go, you should contact the Homeless Hotline: 1-877-994-4357
I’m having problems getting rental assistance. What should I do?
If your landlord has refused to accept rental assistance or the rental assistance program has denied your application, you should contact Legal Services to see if we can provide you with legal assistance: https://www.legalservicesmiami.org/contact-hours.
The CDC moratorium protected me from eviction, do I still owe the rent?
Yes. Even if you were protected by the CDC moratorium, you still owe the rent and your landlord. you can also apply for rental assistance from the programs listed here: http://axishelps.org/rent
I have a Section 8 voucher, public housing, or some other subsidized housing and I lost my job or had my hours reduced. What should I do?
Immediately report your loss of income so your rent can be adjusted. The next month’s rent should be based on your new income. If there is a delay in adjusting your rent because of the COVID-19 crisis, you should receive a retroactive rent adjustment.
The conditions in my property are terrible and my landlord will not fix anything, what can I do?
If the problems in your unit affect your health and safety, ask the landlord to make repairs right away. If the landlord won’t make repairs, send a letter to the landlord through certified mail demanding that the repairs are made within 7 days of the letter or you will withhold your rent. Also, review your lease for any other rights you may have. For more information about the rent withholding process, read our brochure on repairs and contact Legal Services.
My landlord wants to enter my home, but I do not want people in my home during the pandemic. Can I stop my landlord from entering?
Maybe. If there is an emergency, like a burst pipe, your landlord can enter the home at any time. In other situations, like minor repairs, to show the property to new tenants, or for inspections, you cannot unreasonably withhold consent for the landlord to enter. Whether it is reasonable depends on the specific facts. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems reasonable to ask the landlord to wear a mask or not to enter if you have COVID or are on self-quarantine. In all circumstances other than urgent emergencies, the landlord should give you at least 12-hours’ notice and only enter between 7:30 am and 8 pm. And, always review your lease to see if you have any other protections.
Covid-19 Funeral Assistance
If you incurred funeral expenses for an individual who died from COVID-19 in the United States after January 20, 2020, you could be eligible for COVID-19 Funeral Assistance from the Federal emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Eligibility criteria include:
The death must have occurred in the United States;
The applicant (not the decedent) must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien;
The death certificate must attribute the death to COVID-19;
The applicant must have proof of funeral expenses which may include, cost of transportation to identify the deceased, transfer of remains, burial plot or cremation niche, marker or headstone, clergy/officiant services, funeral home, cremation/internment costs;
The applicant must have proof of any funds received from other sources for payment of funeral expenses;
The applicant must provide name, SSN, DOB, address and contact information for self and name, SSN, DOB for each deceased individual and the location where the individual died.
All applications must be initiated by telephone by calling FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline at 1-844-684-6333 from 9am to 9pm, Monday through Friday. Once an application is filed, the applicant will have access to a DisasterAssistance.gov account where documentation may be uploaded. FEMA will issue a decision on the application within 30 days.
If you apply and are denied COVID-19 Funeral Assistance, you have 60 days from the date of the decision to appeal. If your application has been denied or it has been more than 30 days since you applied and you have yet to receive a decision, contact our office to apply for services.
I lost my job, have substantially reduced hours, or was forced to take unpaid leave. What are my options:
You may file a claim for Unemployment Insurance benefits (a/k/a Reemployment Assistance) with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). To apply visit: https://connect.myflorida.com/Claimant/Core/Login.ASPX
For more information about Reemployment Assistance as it relates to COVID-19, including eligibility requirements and how to file a claim, please visit http://floridajobs.org/docs/default-source/reemployment-assistance-center/ra-covid-19-faqs-eng.pdf?sfvrsn=805543b0_14. You may also call 800-204-2418 but it may be difficult to reach someone on the phone because of the large number of people calling.
I was denied reemployment assistance, what can I do?
You have a right to appeal your denial. You should immediately request an appeal hearing and contact Legal Services for legal assistance: https://www.legalservicesmiami.org/contact-hours
Do I have to pay taxes on unemployment benefits I received?
Yes, unemployment benefits are taxable. Read more here.
ISSUES RELATED TO CONSUMER DEBT
I can’t make my car payments and I need my car for work. What help is there for me?
First, call your lender as soon as possible and ask about any program you may qualify for. For instance, your lender may reduce your car payment or allow you to skip a payment and add it to the end of the loan. The lender may offer to refinance your loan all together with a lower interest rate that will reduce your car payment. However, make sure to be aware if the lender is extending the number of months to pay off the loan - for instance your 5-year loan is refinanced into a 7-year loan.
I have been paying my student loans but now that I lost my job, rent and food are my priority. What can I do about my monthly student loan payment?
You may be entitled to some relief, but it depends on the type of student loan you have. Federal student loan borrowers are automatically being placed in an administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment. This suspension of payments will last until September 30, 2021. The interest rate is 0% through September 30, 2021 on defaulted and non-defaulted Direct Loans, defaulted and non-defaulted FFEL Program loans and Federal Perkins loans.
This website gives more information on what the Department of Education is offering: https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus.
If you have a private student loan, contact your loan administrator right away to see what is available to you.
I haven't been able to make my mortgage payment since April 1 and I am scared of losing my home since I have young children and an elderly disabled mother. What should I do?
If you have an FHA, VA, or USDA mortgage, foreclosures are suspended through June 30, 2021. If you have a mortgage held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the foreclosures are suspended through March 31, 2021.
For borrowers of FHA, VA, and USDA mortgages who have not yet asked for a mortgage payment forbearance, the deadline to request an initial payment forbearance has been extended through June 30, 2021, and for borrowers who already obtained a payment forbearance on or before June 30, 2020, they may request up to two additional 3-month forbearance periods. Also, borrowers with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgages who had a COVID-19 forbearance plan in place as of February 28, 2021, may apply for a 3-month forbearance extension, and those eligible for a payment deferral may now defer up to 15 months of payments. Deferred payments are repaid at the time the home is sold, refinanced or at mortgage maturity.
INFORMATION FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
What types of SBA loans are available for small businesses and nonprofits?
There are two forms of SBA loans available: Disaster Recovery Loans and Paycheck Protection Loans under the new CARES Act. For more information and to apply visit: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources#section-header-2 and https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/paycheck-protection-program#section-header-2
Can nonprofits apply for Florida's new COVID-19 bridge loan program?
No, this program is only available for small businesses. For more information visit: http://floridasbdc.org/disaster/ebl/
Does your business need to have employees to apply for a Paycheck Protection Loan under the CARES Act?
Businesses that employ independent contractors may also apply, the loan amount is limited to $100,000. Please visit https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/paycheck-protection-program#section-header-2 for more info on eligibility and how to apply.
Where can I go for more information concerning resources for small businesses and nonprofit organizations?
Visit https://www.flcommunitydevelopment.org/covid-19-resources for a list of updated resources for small businesses and nonprofits.
Local Resources During the COVID-19 Crisis
Call 2-1-1 where English, Spanish and Creole speakers are available to assist.
All information is subject to change and for additional details the specific organization should be consulted.