Pandemic evictions moving again in Miami-Dade as landlords sue for action from mayor

Facing court challenges, Miami-Dade County says it has begun processing evictions filed during the COVID-19 pandemic but plans to delay evicting the most vulnerable tenants.

In testimony and court filings, Miami-Dade representatives said county police face no local moratorium on processing eviction orders from cases filed after the COVID-19 state of emergency began in March 2020. That’s a shift from prior county policies instructing police not to serve eviction papers from cases that started during the pandemic.

Instead of a blanket ban, according to court papers, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava has imposed a priority list that puts pandemic evictions at the back of the line — a pecking order that lawyers for landlords say is unfair and illegal.

“The only way to be fair is first-in, first-out,” said Paul Arcia, the Miami lawyer representing 10 landlords and condominium associations seeking to evict people with court orders that county police wouldn’t serve on the tenants. “You’ve got landlords that live off of these properties, and they haven’t gotten money from them for over a year. Through no fault of their own.”

The concessions by Miami-Dade in the lawsuit mark a turning point for a yearlong effort under two mayors to largely freeze the evictions process during the COVID-19 pandemic. Miami-Dade has declared itself ready to serve residential evictions launched during the pandemic and now is fighting in court on how quickly it must dispatch police to remove tenants from their homes.

~Douglas Hanks, Miami Herald

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