Update: Florida Extends Narrowed Evictions Ban Through October 1

September 1, 2020Alerts

Once again, on the last day before Florida’s modified eviction ban was due to expire, Gov. Ron DeSantis extended Executive Order 20-180, which restricts certain real estate evictions. It is now effective through October 1, 2020.

The language of Executive Order 20-180, which provided more limited eviction protection for Floridians than prior executive orders, explicitly requires tenants and borrowers to begin repaying their missed rent or mortgage obligations when they are “no longer adversely affected by the COVID-19 emergency,” which the order defines as experiencing job loss or other income reduction directly attributable to the pandemic. Additionally, Executive Order 20-180 makes it clear that nothing in the order “shall be construed as relieving an individual from his or her obligation to make mortgage payments or rent payments” and “all payments, including tolled payments, are due when an individual is no longer adversely affected by the COVID-19 emergency.”

The narrower language of Executive Order 20-180 was designed to address the complaints from many Florida property owners and landlords who have alleged that tenants and borrowers are refraining from or refusing to pay rent or mortgages even though they continue working or are not otherwise financially impacted by COVID-19. Since Executive Order 20-180 was issued on July 30, 2020, landlords in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties (the most populous Florida counties) have filed 2,170 eviction cases, far more than in any of the four prior months when Florida’s eviction ban was more broadly worded. 

The increases in eviction filings came after Gov. DeSantis narrowed Florida’s moratorium to suspend only the “final action at the conclusion of an eviction proceeding.”  Gov. DeSantis’ change in the eviction ban gave property owners legal cover to start filing eviction cases, although it did provide a defense for tenants if they can prove they were financially hurt by the pandemic and resulting economic shutdowns.