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New website offers online tool to help with eviction notices

Florida legal aid providers not only offer in-person aid, but now there's a tool to respond to evictions online.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Many people in the Tampa Bay area are having a hard time paying their rent and finding themselves out on the street. In the last few months, we've seen renters evicted at the Holly Court Apartments in North Tampa and the Stanton Apartments and Hotel in St. Petersburg.

Evictions have been pretty consistent throughout the pandemic after the statewide moratorium expired two years ago. Just last week, there were more than 200 new filings in the Bay Area according to the tracking site Eviction Lab.

If you find yourself facing eviction, you might qualify for legal aid including Gulf Coast Legal Services

The non-profit has teamed up with Jacksonville Area Legal Aid to offer an online tool to help you put together the paperwork to respond to an eviction notice within five days. You just follow the steps at Florida Eviction Help, file it with the courts and then check back for a judge's response.

“If you have asserted and have proof that the rent amount claimed in the complaint is incorrect then you will note that and look for the judge to set a hearing, set a court date so you can go in and explain why the landlord's calculation of the rent is wrong,” Attorney Robin Stover said. She is the Deputy Director for the Housing Unit at GCLS.

According to Stover, their caseload has doubled or even tripled during the pandemic as renters try to get assistance to weigh their options.

Here are some other resources to try: