Moratorium Helps Some Floridians Avoid Eviction and Foreclosure

Jul 31, 2020

If you’re having trouble paying rent or your mortgage, you won’t be evicted or foreclosed on in August. This week, Gov. Ron DeSantis extended his executive order pausing evictions and foreclosure, but with changes to the previous extension. Evictions have been on hold since April as the state shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

DeSantis’ latest eviction order applies only to those negatively impacted by COVID-19. The wording specifies that once an individual is no longer affected, any late payments are due. It comes as the job market remains weak, and federal $600 unemployment booster payments have come to an end.

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On the Florida Roundup, Camilo Parra and Larri Thatcher of the Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association joined hosts Tom Hudson and Melissa Ross. 

Here's an excerpt from the conversation.

TOM HUDSON: What's the practical impact of the moratorium on evictions for renters? 

LARRI THATCHER: The practical impact is that if you're a residential tenant and you face economic loss due to COVID-19 that is keeping you from making your rental payments, through the moratorium, you can know that you will not be put out of the rental property throughout the next month for nonpayment of rent alone. 

MELISSA ROSS: Is the court system even set up to handle what could be a rush of foreclosures and other related legal matters that could be coming from this crisis at some point? 

CAMILO PARRA: So this is certainly an evolving issue, and the courts have been taking every step they can, moving along with the pandemic itself as it has been developing to try and address those issues. 

We do know that once this moratorium is lifted, if people are still out of work and they're still unable to reach payment plans, we do expect to have a homelessness crisis on our hands. We also expect there to be a lot of empty rental units as it may be difficult for landlords to fill these vacancies with everybody hurting economically right now. It's certainly an issue that we're going to have just to face together. We can't view this as a one-sided issue. Everyone's really hurting right now. 

HUDSON: What's your advice to those who are still struggling with income and concerned about what September, October may look like for rental payments or mortgage payments? 

PARRA: There's a number of things they could be doing. To begin with, definitely save money. Communicate — communicate with your landlord. Communicate with your mortgage servicer. Seek payment plans when available. Offer to pay what you can in exchange for a written promise not to evict. Seek out all the resources available. Reach out to churches and family members. Take collection of all the documents you need to show that you are impacted by the crisis itself. 

As far as landlords go, they should also be trying to reach out to the tenants and seeing if they can work something out. Landlords should refrain from engaging in prohibited practices.