In Miami-Dade County, the eviction process is handled through Miami-Dade County’s Clerk of Courts and Police Department. An eviction is a legal process that follows these steps prior to a tenant’s final eviction:
The tenant receives written notice from the landlord requesting the tenant to vacate the premises.
The tenant is served with a summons or complaint that is delivered by either a sheriff (police) or a certified process server.
The tenant is afforded the opportunity to respond to the summons or complaint.
The court (via a judge) can either grant or deny the eviction.
A writ of possession is posted if the court grants the eviction.
The sheriff enforces the eviction order if the tenant fails to vacate the premises as ordered.
The city provides rent assistance and emergency shelter to residents at-risk of homelessness due to residential evictions. Through the Office of Housing and Community Services (HCS), residents can apply for one month’s rent assistance when they are in arrears for rent or must relocate as a result of an eviction. The funds for this service are provided via the Emergency Food and Shelter (EFSP) Program and the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program. The rent is paid directly to the landlord once the resident completes the application process and is deemed eligible for assistance. As a courtesy, HCS has provided information and flyers regarding our assistance to local area churches that provide rent assistance and to the Miami Beach District Court located at 1130 Washington Avenue (Old City Hall).
For those who become homeless as a result of an eviction, the city can provide emergency shelter placement. The city maintains emergency shelter beds at The Salvation Army, Miami Rescue Mission and Camillus House.
On Friday, August 30th, Maria Cazanes, an elderly resident, was evicted from her home by Miami-Dade County police officers enforcing a court eviction. Ms. Cazanes personal possessions, along with those of her adult son, were removed from her rented unit and placed outside in the elements. The eviction enforcement coincided with community-wide efforts to prepare for Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 storm that was threatening South Florida at the time. Ms. Cazanes advised staff that she did not understand the eviction summons
Commissioner John Elizabeth Aleman contacted the Office of Housing and Community Services when she became aware of the eviction and city staff responded to the scene and provided Ms. Cazanes and her son with transportation and placement at The Salvation Army where they remain as of this writing.
Shortly after Ms. Cazanes’ eviction, County Mayor Carlos Gimenez acknowledged that the timing of her eviction was a mistake and stated that the county would amend its policy to prevent enforcement of residential evictions during inclement weather.
The City Commission directed that the Neighborhoods and Citywide Projects Committee (NCWPC) review the informational forms provided by the city advising of its rent and shelter assistance and to ensure these forms are multi-lingual. In addition, the Commission directed, if possible, that the forms be provided to the judges approving evictions at the Miami Beach District Court for inclusion in eviction packages served in the city.
HCS has a variety of informational service sheets that provide service and eligibility information for the many programs offered by the department including rent assistance and emergency shelter services. Copies of these forms are attached and are displayed in the department’s lobby area. The forms also include a checklist of required information to apply for services and a brief explanation on the approval process. We also list eviction information on the City’s “How to” section of the HCS webpage.
Currently, the court includes a flyer which lists community-based rent assistance providers with the eviction notices issued. The rent assistance information is stapled to the legal documents. Ideally, the city would like to include its rent and shelter information (in English and Spanish) with those eviction orders issued within the city so that impacted residents may access city services immediately upon issuance of the order rather than after the eviction has been completed. By doing so, personal belongings can be secured and a traumatic event can be minimized.