Zika Virus Hits Home as Miami Real Estate Industry Wakes Up To Painful Bite

Tue Aug 9, 2016 by on Florida Law News

Zika virus florida, south florida law blog, real estate law

James Gathany, AP –  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host.

Despite rising rental rates and property values in Miami’s ‘artsy’ Wynwood District coupled with an assumption that residents may not be worried about the Zika Virus having the ability to bridge its way into their neiborhoods, report shows another side to the epidemic.

On Monday, Palm Beach County reported their first case of locally-acquired Zika virus which probably has many residents worried.


Zika Virus and Florida Travel Warnings Grip Down on Florida. Watch How The Stagnant Zombie Foreclosed Real Estate in Florida by Banks, Contributes To Epidemic. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/national/health-science/zika-fear-prompts-travel-warning-for-miami-cdcs-first-in-us/2016/08/01/b8a9b846-580e-11e6-9767-f6c947fd0cb8_story.html

Oppenheim Law 发布于 2016年8月2日

Travel Advisory From CDC Warns “Zika Virus in Miami”

[Zika fear prompts travel warning for Miami, CDC’s first in U.S.] Florida Travel Warnings Grip Down on Florida which prompts Roy Oppenheim, legal scholar and blogger to broadcast a Facebook Live post explaining to South Floridians how serious the Zika virus cases are.

Watch how the stagnant Zombie foreclosed real estate in Florida by banks, contributes To Epidemic.

It’s a scene straight out of a horror movie, South Florida communities filled with hundreds of homes that have been abandoned due to foreclosure.  Now the camera pans through the home…out to the backyard swimming pool…only to find…ZIKA!

Zombie foreclosures are not new to South Florida, in fact just last year 25% of all the zombie foreclosures in the United States took place in Florida. However, zombie foreclosures are now contributing to an unexpected horror…homegrown Zika virus.

Zika in the United States

Zika Virus Captures Florida - Pose Threat to Become Breeding Ground in Bank Held Stagnant Zombie Homes

Zika virus Captures Florida – Pose Threat to Become Breeding Ground in Bank Held Stagnant Zombie Homes

So far doctors have diagnosed 1,658 Zika cases in the continental United States and Hawaii. Previously all of the diagnosed cases were related to travel abroad, with the exception of one case arising from a lab accident. This all changed on Friday, July 29th when Florida Governor Rick Scott announced that four Florida residents had contracted Zika from mosquitoes within a 1-square-mile area just north of downtown Miami. Since then ten more cases have been reported, bringing the total number of locally acquired cases of Zika in South Florida to fourteen. This is just the beginning, trust me!

Zombie Foreclosures + Zika = BIG problems

So what do hundreds of abandoned houses have to do with the rise of homegrown Zika? The answer is right in your backyard, literally. Sonia Shah explains the connection in The Washington Post:

“The backyard swimming pool perfectly encapsulates the problem. Pools have no natural inflow or outflow of water. Without regular maintenance, such as chemical adulteration and continuous filtration, they can rapidly become incubators of insects and microbes. Blooms of algae appear. Leaves and debris collect on the surface. Impregnated female mosquitoes, searching for water in which to lay their eggs, swoop. And the steep, smooth walls of swimming pools preclude the predators that would feed on their eggs in natural bodies of water.”

Zika Virus Epidemic - Mosquitoes thrive in unkept foreclosed homes that banks do not maintain. Copyright: lcswart / 123RF Stock Photo

Zika Virus Epidemic – Mosquitoes thrive in unkept foreclosed homes that banks do not maintain. Copyright: lcswart / 123RF Stock Photo

To sum it up, without regular maintenance, standing water become the perfect breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitos. This means that any zombie home with an untreated pool, hot tub or water garden is on its way to become home to millions of disease-carrying mosquitos. In May, RealtyTrac reported that there were 651 zombie homes in the tri-county area, the fourth highest in the nation among metros with at least 100,000 residences. They also reported that South Florida has 54,245 vacant homes, the second-highest total in the country. Given the massive amount of abandoned and vacant homes in South Florida, plus the popularity of pools, hot tubs and ponds, it is easy to see why 14 new cases of locally acquired Zika have been reported within the last week!

Putting the blame where it belongs

So who is to blame for the outbreak of Zika in South Florida? Should we blame the Center for Disease Control for failing to notice that mosquito control efforts were ineffective? Should we blame the government for failing to take immediate action? Or, should we go straight to the source and blame the banks who caused thousands of South Florida homes to become abandoned sanctuaries for disease-carrying mosquitos in the first place? It is just so poetic that the banks in their lack of concern will have caused another foreclosure crisis when the Florida economy tanks. I guess it is a double feature.

In the Trenches,

Roy Oppenheim

Tags: foreclosed homes, south florida real estate, standing water, travel warnings, wynwood, zika virus