Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #120

In South Florida, Eviction Spares Few

MIAMI — In a decade handling evictions for the Miami-Dade County Police Department, Albert Fernandez has run across a middle-class father bankrupted by his daughter’s cancer treatment; an old woman scammed by a gambling husband; and countless families perpetually on the edge of poverty.

But he has never turned out as many people as he does now.

It used to take a day or two for officers to get to an address after tenants received a notice to leave. Now, with evictions up by roughly a third over last year, Miami-Dade’s backlog is around two weeks, sometimes longer.

“It is what it is,” Officer Fernandez said, looking at a list of addresses about to be emptied. “People of all walks of life are getting evicted.”

Emphasis added by me.

If South Florida is a barometer for the housing crisis and the economy, the forecast does not look good. Like other areas nationwide, evictions are rising throughout the state, clogging county courts and spawning a boom in companies that specialize in “eviction services” like moving furniture to the curb.

In the first three months of this year, Broward County tallied 3,043 eviction requests — more than it has received in the same period since at least 1999, and an increase of 54 percent over last year. In Miami-Dade, landlords filed for 4,726 evictions from January through April, up 1,157 from the first four months of last year.

Much of the rise comes from foreclosures, which in Miami-Dade County jumped to 311 in January 2008 from 38 in January 2007, but more renters and business owners are also finding themselves unable to pay the bills.

In many cases, one failure leads to another. Owners, banks, renters and developers have become like prisoners attached by ankle chains: when one falls, the others slip too.

Emphasis added by me.

The Domino Effect.

Mr. Fedor seemed busy, determined, even a bit frantic with the energy of an entrepreneur in the midst of a boom. He said his company, Florida Field Services, started doing evictions a year ago. Since then, he said, business has doubled.

“We work seven days a week,” he said.

Owners of other eviction companies, like, which offers help with an eviction in any Florida County for around $400, also said customers seemed to be lining up. When they were asked if they saw any sign of a turnaround, of the market’s bottom, their answers were clear.

“We see it getting worse,” Mr. Fedor said. “And worse. And worse.”

Emphasis added by me.

We’re still only in the opening credits of this.

Act One has yet to begin.

Explore posts in the same categories: C.O.A.T. - Other, Depression 2.0

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