Florida Lifts Bans on Evictions, Foreclosures

October 1, 2020Alerts

Along with moving Florida into Phase III of reopening, Gov. Ron DeSantis has lifted Florida’s modified eviction and foreclosure bans, which were memorialized in Executive Order 20-180, issued on July 30. 

That means that for the first time since April 2020, Florida has no state-based eviction or foreclosure ban. In Gov. DeSantis’ news release announcing the decision, his office referenced a federal order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that freezes some evictions. For the CDC eviction order to apply, tenants must submit a specific CDC declaration form to their landlords, saying, among other things, that they have experienced a “substantial loss of household income” and have made their best efforts to seek government assistance. The CDC declaration form can be found on the agency's website.

Gov. DeSantis’ office also asserted that the governor was allowing the eviction/foreclosure moratorium to expire “to avoid any confusion over whether the CDC’s evictions order should apply in a particular circumstance.”

The CDC order referenced by Gov. DeSantis does not provide protections against mortgage foreclosure. However, Floridians with federally backed mortgages will likely still find some coverage under programs instituted by the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and others that protect those homeowners from foreclosure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. DeSantis had previously narrowed the eviction/foreclosure ban, which increased eviction/foreclosure filings in Florida. Courts are expected to have considerable eviction/foreclosure backlogs to work through now that the state-based ban has been lifted entirely. 

Some Florida counties are utilizing funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to create rent relief programs that provide past-due rent to landlords (many of which have been complaining that they cannot cover taxes, maintenance and other expenses because tenants are failing to pay rent) up to an established cap. Landlords then agree to waive past due rent and the tenant begins paying current rent going forward.

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