These are unprecedented and difficult times for most residents of this state, as well as those of other states in this country. The first cases of COVID-19 in the United States were detected in February 2020, and by mid-March 2020 all 50 states and the District of Columbia reported cases of COVID-19. In light of the social distancing guidelines issued by the Center for Disease Control implemented in order to attempt to decrease the spread of COVID-19, businesses across the state were required to close, millions of people were furloughed or laid-off and the economy came to a screeching halt.
In light of the pandemic, on March 18, 2020, President Trump announced that the Department of Housing and Urban Development authorized the Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) to implement an immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium for FHA-insured single family mortgages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Roughly two weeks later, Governor of Florida, Ron Desantis, followed suit with the issuance of Executive Order Number 20-94 (“Order 20-94”). On April 2, 2022, by way of Order 20-94, Desantis suspended and tolled any Florida statutes providing for foreclosures or evictions for 45 days. On May 14, 2020, the Governor signed Executive Order Number 20-121 (“Order 20-121”), which extended the ban on foreclosures and evictions until June 2, 2020.
With the ban set to expire tomorrow, the Governor is still uncertain as to whether he will extend the ban again or permit evictions and foreclosures to proceed by allowing the ban to expire. At a press conference on Friday (May 29, 2020) afternoon, the Governor was asked when he would decide whether to extend the moratorium, Desantis replied “pretty soon.”
The ultimate decision regarding whether to extend the ban will materially affect homeowners, tenants, lenders, and landlords alike, but the primary effect will be related to the timing of when evictions and foreclosures shall be permitted to move forward. While Order 20-94 prohibited foreclosures and evictions during the timeline implemented by Order 20-94 and extended by Order 20-121 until June 2, 2020, Order 20-94 clearly stated the Order should not construed as “relieving an individual from their obligation to make mortgage payments or rent payments.”
Due to the economic effect of COVID-19 on many families, the end of the moratorium will result in the filing of numerous foreclosure and eviction actions. For tenants and homeowners that have been unable to make lease payments or mortgage payments due to the pandemic, those missed payments remain due and owing. As of the date of this blog, DeSantis has not made any provision to forgive missed rental payments or mortgage payments due to COVID-19.
Whether you are a tenant or landlord, lender or homeowner, contact the attorneys at Dreher Ganim, PLLC, if you are need of assistance with understanding the current state of the law and your rights and responsibilities under the law.