Florida Foreclosure & Eviction Moratoriums Extended Until Sept. 1st
By Sean P. McCaughan
As COVID-19 lingers, late Wednesday night Florida Governor DeSantis did what he has done at least a few times already: extending the foreclosure and eviction moratoriums in the state another month to keep people in their homes just long enough for the virus to abate. However, the wording of the new extension walks back the previous complete ban on residential foreclosure and eviction actions for nonpayment of rent, and instead only prohibits “final action” in these cases. Presumably, this means that landlords and lenders can file eviction and foreclosure actions, but cannot complete the process of removing the resident until the moratorium has ended.
Although people are safe from “final action” in evictions and foreclosures until September 1st, the wording of the executive order further walks back the previous moratorium by stating that all missed rent and mortgage payments are due when the tenant or homeowner “is no longer adversely affected by the COVID-19 emergency,” which it defines as job loss or other income reduction during the pandemic. Whether this means your back rent is due the day you go back to work, or as soon as you can save enough to repay it, is up to judges to decide. Additionally, the foreclosure moratorium is now limited to single-family homes, whereas previously it had not been limited to a particular property type. Although this includes houses, condos, etc., it might not include investment properties and other real estate. We will have to wait and see how courts interpret the language in the governor’s order.
These changes are likely a response to increasingly loud cries from landlords and lenders, who feel they are getting the short end of the stick. Some landlords have seen their rental income drastically reduced or even eliminated since DeSantis originally ordered the original moratorium in April. In fact, there’s a precarious balance between helping vulnerable people stay in their homes during a pandemic, and making sure landlords and lenders don’t suffer too drastically in the process, and thus are still financially able to provide those homes to their tenants. The longer the pandemic has a drastic impact on the country’s job market, and people’s incomes, the tighter that balancing act will get.
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