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Vacation real estate could feel impact of eviction moratorium

Posted at 12:01 AM, Jul 24, 2021

SANIBEL ISLAND, Fla. — As the month of July comes to a near close, so too will the nationwide eviction moratorium.

The moratorium was extended for a month to help millions of tenants unable to make rent payments. But there’s a certain trend ahead of the closing.

“It’s just not very common on Sanibel.”

In exactly one week, home owners throughout Lee County could be facing eviction. Ann and John Gee own a vacation real estate company on Sanibel Island. While they primarily don’t see evictions, it could have a lasting impact on their business.

“I believe I had a listing in Fort Myers, possibly we could’ve gotten involved in," says Ann, a broker realtor with John Gee & Company. "We, personally, don’t get involved in it but the owner had to evict a tenant which is a difficult situation to find yourself in when he sold his property.”

This time last year, a total of 89 evictions were filed across Lee County. That number has since doubled and some this year. The latest eviction numbers filed in Lee County are from April, with 171 total evictions.

“I would imagine it does go on the record and I would also imagine that it creates a problem for them trying to purchase a home because of their credit history,” said Ann.

On the flip side, rental property sales are going up. There are more vacation rentals this summer when, typically, it would be heavier in the winter.

“Normally, I should say, we would have 300 homes for sale, possibly around 200 condos," said Ann. "Currently, we have about 27 homes for sale and 17 condos so very low end inventory.”

And that territory doesn’t come cheaply. Gee says if you want to pay a weekly rental rate for a condo on Sanibel Island, be prepared.

“The closer you get to the Gulf of Mexico with a view, or the better conditions, could run anywhere during the season I’d say between $2-$3,000 a week and in some cases more," said John. "It’s a special event for when they visit here.”

It's enough to even make them stay.

Said Ann, “They love the beach, they love that it’s 70% under conservation and the wildlife and that it’s just a nice, relaxing community to live in.”