I first heard the words “bubba system” some 20 years ago. I did not comprehend what that meant until just recently. It took a disaster of biblical proportion, also known as Hurricane Irma.
What I witnessed was landlords throwing people and their belongings literally into the street in an insane rush to collect a fat insurance check and then slap a thin coat of paint over molded drywall in order to re-rent at higher prices. Florida does not have a “just cause for eviction” or a “deduct and repair law.”
Florida also does not require a new certificate of occupancy upon redesign of a building. Having such a law would guarantee a minimum amount of protection for the tenant. That would mean that your rental is free of vermin and rodents and has working doors, windows and screens, and that it is clean, safe and secure.
Florida is a pro-landlord state. One primary reason Florida seems to favor landlords is the lack of rent-control laws. Florida also does not require a written lease, which can sometimes create problems when disputes arise.
A Key West attorney recently told me that landlords win more than 98 percent of their eviction cases even if the tenant is in the right. Ten thousand people were made homeless from Irma and now the current eviction laws are driving that number even higher. I'm about to become one among those numbers myself.
It is time for a change and only you can make that happen by using social and local media to petition for legislation to level the playing field and making this a pro-tenant state. Life in the Keys is hard enough for the working class so let's make it a little easier by starting a grassroots movement to change the law. Please do not hesitate to send your questions, comments or concerns to email@example.com
I would so love to spearhead the campaign.
Steven Howard Debrecki, Big Pine Key