SZE LEE v. 1510 NE 109 ST, LLC

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Third District Court of Appeal State of Florida Opinion filed July 14, 2021. Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing. ________________ No. 3D21-265 Lower Tribunal Nos. 20-240 AP, 20-17880 CC ________________ Sze Lee, Appellant, vs. 1510 N.E. 109 St., LLC, Appellee. An Appeal from the County Court for Miami-Dade County, Ayana Harris, Judge. Sze Lee, in proper person. No appearance, for appellee. Before HENDON, LOBREE, and BOKOR, JJ. HENDON, J. Sze Lee appeals from a final judgment for eviction and removal of tenant. We affirm. On September 12, 2020, 1510 N.E. 109 ST, LLC (“Landlord”) gave Sze Lee (“Lee”) the required 15-day notice that her month-to-month tenancy would end on September 30, 2020 and requested that she vacate the premises. The Landlord stated that the dwelling was not a “covered property” under section 4024 of the Cares Act in residential evictions for non-payment of rent and was therefore exempt.1 Lee unsuccessfully tried to negotiate her 1 See also 1560-1568 Drexel Ave., LLC v. Dalton, No. 3D21-1115, 2021 WL 2149752 (Fla. 3d DCA May 27, 2021) at footnote 5: Governor Ron DeSantis issued the Executive Order on July 29, 2020. Section 2 of the Executive Order provides, in relevant part: A. I hereby suspend and toll any statute providing for final action at the conclusion of an eviction proceeding under Florida law solely when the proceeding arises from non-payment of rent by a residential tenant adversely affected by the COVID-19 emergency. B. For purposes of this section, adversely affected by the COVlD- 19 emergency means loss of employment, diminished wages or business income, or other monetary loss realized during the Florida State of Emergency directly impacting the ability of a residential tenant to make rent payments. C. Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed to suspend or otherwise affect eviction proceedings unrelated to nonpayment of rent. (Emphasis added). 2 rental terms with the Landlord, citing COVID concerns and her risk of becoming homeless. On October 6, 2020, the Landlord filed a complaint for eviction, and Lee answered the complaint. Lee asserted as an affirmative defense that the Landlord breached the federal temporary halt in residential evictions as a result of the quarantine, and the Landlord disregarded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) order. She further argued that the eviction would endanger her health by exposing her to COVID. On October 8, 2020, Lee was served with the 5-day residential eviction summons and complaint. That summons indicated that Lee “MUST” respond according to the instructions provided in the summons. Lee did not. The Landlord moved to strike Lee’s answer and enter a default, asserting that Lee had not paid any rent into the court registry or filed a motion to determine the amount to be paid into the court registry. Lee filed a motion for summary judgment, again raising? the allegation that the Landlord was in violation of the CDC moratorium on evictions. Lee additionally argued that the Landlord’s motion for default for non-payment of rent …

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