OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — A green sticker, with a towing image was recently placed on the car of a tenant at Osceola Pointe Apartment Homes.
It reads, “for nonpayment of rent.”
“The CARES Act protects these properties from being targeted or threatened with eviction notices or anything,” said Kristellys Estanga with Organize Florida.
While this tenant would not speak publicly for fear of retaliation, she said she is behind on her rent as she is dealing with unemployment in the midst of this pandemic. “I need to do more, it makes me feel like we all need to do more,” Estanga added.
The Florida Eviction Protection website lists Osceola Pointe as a protected property under the CARES Act, it states that they participate in a covered housing program.
Estanga said this mother of two is not the only one facing these kinds of “threats.” Estanga said, “There are many families who are facing similar cases with locks being changed, utilities being shut off, services being revoked all because they can’t make rent because they don't have the money because they don’t have their jobs because of this pandemic.
Spectrum News 13 spoke to the towing company involved and they told us they take orders from this complex. And their understanding is that tenants must pay for additional parking spaces as part of their rent. Will the manager for New Generation Towing said, “We are being more relaxed, we’re giving people more opportunities but if you haven’t paid your parking space rental in two months how long do we have to let it go?”
Congressman Darren Soto who also has a background in real estate law says “self-help” evictions are not right, as there is a statewide eviction moratorium until June 2nd and July 25 nationwide.
“It’s pretty clear that they’re trying to intimidate tenants that they’re trying to intimidate tenants to leave the premises during a pandemic where we have an eviction moratorium,” he said. “That is by and large illegal in a time where we are asking folks to stay home and be safe. It’s simply disgraceful.”
Estanga is hoping for some compassion. “And these are corporate landlords. They are sitting on all this money. They can afford to be human right now,” Estanga added.
Spectrum News 13 reached out to the apartment complex and they told us ConcordRENTS Management is preparing a statement to send our way, we’re still waiting on that.
Congressman Soto is having a “Know Your Rights” teleconference to talk about evictions and foreclosure rights of homeowners and renters on June 2 at 11am.
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