CAPE CORAL — Ever since the Governor's eviction ban expired at the beginning of October, filings have been going up.
There were 311 eviction filings in Lee County alone last month, which was about 100 more than the month before that. We spoke with a landlord in Cape Coral as she cleaned up the mess left behind by her former tenants she just evicted.
“They stopped paying rent earlier this summer. Never heard from them. Not a text, not a call," said the landlord, who did not wish to be identified.
We followed her inside the house, and we saw hanging blinds and drawings on the walls. She said the end of the Governor's eviction ban was her cue to take action.
“As soon as the moratorium stopped, we waited a few weeks, and then we took legal action. I’m owed $8,000 in rent for this house that I’ll never see," said the landlord.
In Lee County, situations like that are on the rise, but we may still not be seeing the full number of them executed because there there is still a Federal eviction ban in place. We spoke with eviction attorney Holly Cosby, who said a form from the CDC allows people to avoid paying rent until next year, but only if they lost their job due to COVID-19.
“It only applies in certain situations, and that’s the non-payment of rent issue, and even then, it’s still arguable. The tenant is going to have to prove that they were affected by COVID," said Cosby.
"They gave me no indication that they were struggling at all financially because of COVID," said the landlord.
So the landlord feels like she's justified, but she still has a lot of work ahead of her.
“We have to bring in now lawn care companies, vendors to fix the inside. There’s damage in there," said the landlord.
Cosby said she has actually stopped doing evictions herself because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases, but she said there could be a flood of evictions at the beginning of next year if the Federal ban isn't extended.