MIAMI (CBSMiami) - As the housing market continues to boom, thousands of people in South Florida are facing eviction. Realtors say some landlords are making unethical and, at times, unlawful decisions.
"People who have lived in their homes 15 years, 20 years, now they're being told you have 30 days to move," says Rosa Decarlo, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty Partners SW.
Every day people are being evicted so homeowners can sell while the market is hot. A 30-day notice to move out of your home is legal but some landlords are pushing renters out of the door much faster. Raymond Henry, a renter in Little Haiti was given just three days' notice.
"They want to fry me and get me out of here," says Henry.
Raymond is a single father of three. He repairs motorcycles and cars for a living and is a musician in his spare time.
Just before Christmas, he was served an eviction notice.
"I have anxiety I have to go out every day and work.. come back to my house makes sure nobody is trying to get in," says Henry.
When COVID hit, Ray applied for Our Florida; renters' assistance, which he was granted. They paid his landlord several months' rent but shortly after that, the landlord sold the property to a new owner and kept the money.
"Took the payments and ran and never provided the payments to the new landlord which he was supposed to do. So, the new landlord evicted him. Gave him a 3 days' notice right before the holidays," says Decarlo.
Since then, Ray has been in and out of court fighting the eviction. The court ruled in his favor. His current landlord was paid but the fight to kick him and his family out continues.
"They already made it clear they don't want the government's money; they don't want my money. They want nothing to do with me. Now, did I do something wrong?" questions Henry.
"It's a wild west out there right now," says Decarlo.
Decarlo says people are being evicted every day as landlords rush to sell their property.
"Very easily I hear about it 10x a day I'm listening to people's stories. You have multiple offers going on for rentals and for sales. It's just a bidding war at all times," says Decarlo.
Ray thinks that's why his landlord is trying to push his family out the door.
"I think they're going to try to raise the rent double," he says.
According to RealPage, a real estate data analytics firm, rents in professionally managed apartments rose 10.3% in the third quarter of 2021. While landlords have rights so do renters.
"You have rights to be told when there are intentions to sell the home. You have rights to at least 30 days' notice," says Decarlo.
Ray and his family are still in limbo with more court dates ahead of them. As their battle for housing security continues, Ray is staying positive for his kids and doing everything he can to keep a roof over their heads.
"It makes me want to fight back. That's my job as a parent to protect my kids," he says.
Decarlo says whether you're renting or buying, there is still very little inventory in South Florida which is making it difficult for so many families facing eviction. If you're going through a similar situation, remember you have rights as a renter.
Here are some helpful links where you can learn about those rights.
Helping Florida Recover and Rebuild from the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency | Our Florida, for questions about the program, call 833.493.0594, 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. www.ourflorida.com.
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