Pensacola eviction makes national news. Thank Judge Kinsey

The CDC issued a federal eviction moratorium in late September. Thanks to Judge Pat Kinsey, the moratorium has become meaningless in Pensacola.

The CARES Act was supposed to help renters behind on their rent, but Escambia County has taken months to issue checks to families and individuals.

NBC News reports that “the day before Thanksgiving, Steve Cowley, a beverage salesman, was at home in Pensacola, Florida, when someone started pounding on the front door. It was the county sheriff serving an eviction notice.”

The ban aimed to let renters affected by Covid stay in their homes, even if they couldn’t pay their landlords.

Judge Kinsey ordered Cowley out of his home, ruling the CDC moratorium represented an “unlawful taking” by the U.S. government of landlords’ private property — rental income.

It took months for Escambia County Administrator Janice Gilley to get a grant program before the Board of County Commissioners. The housing grants from Florida Housing Finance Corporation Coronavirus Relief Funds in September turned out to be too cumbersome, which wasted staff time for weeks.

The county’s CARES Family grants didn’t start going out until late October, four months after the county began receiving the funds.

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4 thoughts on “Pensacola eviction makes national news. Thank Judge Kinsey

  1. Sorry but this county court judge was a sardine that dared jump into the big tank and flunked miserably. The only reason why her travesty of a decision stands is because the tenant didn’t appeal otherwise her decision would’ve been reversed on appeal with a resounding kick in the butt. Sadly, county court judges are only above traffic court judges when it comes to experience. I know, I’ve dealt with them across different circuits in Florida and they can be incredibly thick. The fact is that the CDC moratorium is grounded on an act of Congress and federal judges, whose experience an acumen far, far and away exceed state county court judges, have ruled the order is perfectly constitutional. So, until the Florida Supreme Court, a federal court of appeals, of SCOTUS says otherwise, this judge is just wrong and her judgment caused harm to the public that’s intended to be protected by the CDC’s order. A side note, landlords are eligible to apply for COVID assistance funds for lost rents which I doubt this lame judge knew so there you have it, another judicial letdown.

  2. I am disappointed to see such a poorly written, poorly thought out article villainizing Judge Kinsey. She’s the one reading and hearing case after case of how many people truly took advantage of this CDC Moratorium. I don’t know about Steve’s situation and maybe I wouldn’t have recommended he get evicted. It sounds like his landlord is a wealthy company but to say that this case is representative of the situation is not true for so many Pensacola landlords. I would love to tell you about a few tenants that have also signed the CDC Form. Have you read it? Maybe you should before reading these stories.

    We had tenants who literally purchased a home while 3 month’s delinquent on rent, using multiple month’s of rent to pay closing costs and down payment. Meanwhile, signing under penalty of perjury stating they had no means to pay, have exhausted resources, have made partial payments, would be homeless without. Meanwhile, the owner is paying a mortgage and their flippant attitude about how “the lender doesn’t care” and “they are just taking advantage of the situation presented” is very sad. This is one case of blatant abuse and I’m sure Judge Kinsey has heard hundreds more.

    We have two residents in the same building who have not paid one dime since March, citing if they stick together there’s nothing we can do. Because of privacy act, I won’t tell you much about the owners who NEED that money to pay health care expenses or the tenants who are living in filth saying “there is nothing that we can do and they are not leaving” and owe the landlord over $15,000 while destroying the property inside.

    We are not evicting people who are one month behind here in a pandemic. We gave all of our tenants who were delinquent the CARES application prior to the opening of the program and many were granted funds in October. Many chose not to do the landlord program and got cash payments themselves. I’m very sad you didn’t reach out to any landlords to discuss how people have taken advantage of this and how there is no recourse for the landlord when that’s clear that the CDC form that these tenants are signing and presenting as fact is fiction. The only way for landlords to prove this is to file a legal action, and they don’t have the funds to do so.

  3. There are various programs and protections in the CARES Act including loan forbearance (if loan is federally backed), PPP (if the landlord/property owner has employees), and low-interest loans (Economic Injury & Disaster Loan Program).

    Hope this helps.

  4. What about the property owners? They still have mortgage payments, insurance and taxes. For some, rental properties are their source of income. Where are their protections? Plus, some people took advantage of the moratorium to just not pay rent, even though they could.

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