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What the Expiration of Florida’s Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium Could Mean for You

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Back in April, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order imposing a statewide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, the governor allowed that moratorium to expire on September 30, 2020. In a statement, DeSantis said he wanted to avoid a potential conflict between his prior moratorium and an order from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) imposing its own “temporary halt in residential evictions.”

What the CDC’s New Order Does–and Does Not–Cover

The CDC’s order, which formally took effect on September 4, states that a landlord or residential property owner may not evict “any covered person” through December 30, 2020. Contrary to the governor’s suggestion of a potential conflict, however, the CDC order explicitly states that it does not apply to any state or local government that has issued its own eviction moratorium “that provides the same or greater level of public-health protection” as the CDC’s order.

Indeed, the CDC order is limited to evictions of rental tenants only. It offers no protection for homeowners facing foreclosure due to missed mortgage payments. A separate order from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) does provide limited foreclosure protections from individuals holding federally backed mortgages. But as the Orlando Business Journal noted in an October 5 report, about 30 percent of all mortgages are considered “private” and likely not subject to the FHA’s moratorium.

Furthermore, just because a Florida renter received a stay of their eviction under Gov. DeSantis’ prior moratorium, that does not automatically grant them relief under the CDC’s order. Any tenant seeking protection under the CDC order must file a formal declaration form that they meet certain conditions. These conditions include but are not limited to:

  • The renter has made their “best efforts” to obtain government assistance to help pay their rent.
  • The renter is currently unable to make a “full housing payment due to substantial loss of household income” or “extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses.”
  • The renter is making their “best efforts” to pay as much of the rent as possible given their disposable income.
  • The renter faces homelessness if evicted.

Relief Is Only Temporary

Again, it is important to emphasize the CDC’s order only provides limited, temporary relief for Florida residents who are unable to pay the full amount of the rent. As noted above, the CDC order will expire on December 31 unless it is extended further. And nothing in the CDC’s order absolves a tenant of their obligation to pay the full amount of their rent. It simply prevents landlords from proceeding with an eviction. Indeed, a landlord may still assess any late fees or other charges associated with any partial or missed payments.

If you have further questions or concerns about how the CDC’s order may affect your own situation, or if you more broadly need advice on how to dealing with mounting bills in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, contact Miami debt relief attorney Julia Kefalinos today at 305-676-9545 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

bizjournals.com/orlando/news/2020/10/05/orlando-renters-must-take-new-steps-to-avoid-evict.html

federalregister.gov/documents/2020/09/04/2020-19654/temporary-halt-in-residential-evictions-to-prevent-the-further-spread-of-covid-19

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