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Update on Federal and State Law Impacting Evictions

Update on Federal and State Law Impacting Evictions and Foreclosures

Update on Federal and State Law Impacting Evictions

What landlords need to know in a nutshell:
All residential evictions are suspended through October 1, 2020 in Florida. In certain circumstances, residential evictions are suspended through December 31, 2020.  Landlords may proceed with commercial evictions.

Key details:
Landlords face a growing web of federal, state, and local laws and regulations impacting residential evictions in the wake of COVID-19.

Florida’s Governor recently extended the suspension of residential evictions through October 1, 2020. Executive Order 20-211 permits the filing of residential eviction actions, but prohibits landlords from obtaining final judgments of possession. Tenants also have the ability to stay the eviction proceeding by filing a motion in court alleging a COVID-19 hardship caused them to miss rent payments. Note, however, that once the moratorium is lifted, all accrued rent payments remain due and owing.

In addition to state-law restrictions, as of September 4, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) temporarily suspended residential evictions nationwide through December 31, 2020, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. To apply, the CDC Order requires tenants to provide their landlord with a sworn statement that they are unable to pay rent due to a loss of income, among other things enumerated in the CDC Order. The CDC Order does not relieve any tenant of the obligation to pay rent, nor does it prevent fees, penalties, or interest from accruing. The CDC Order does not trump more-restrictive state or local regulations of residential evictions.

While many questions remain about how these state and federal restrictions on residential evictions will interact and how local courts will enforce them, landlords can use this time to ensure they have complied with the terms of their lease, and in some circumstances, may still be able to file their eviction lawsuits.

Both state and federal eviction moratoriums are subject to change. WHWW continues to monitor legal developments impacting eviction activity in Florida.

Update on Federal and State Law Impacting Foreclosures

What lenders need to know in a nutshell:
Residential foreclosures involving borrowers negatively impacted by COVID-19 are suspended through October 1, 2020 in Florida.  Foreclosures of certain federally-backed mortgages are suspended through December 31, 2020.  Lenders may proceed with commercial foreclosures.

Key details:
Like landlords, lenders must also navigate a growing number of federal, state, and local laws and regulations impacting residential foreclosures in the wake of COVID-19.

Florida’s Governor issued Executive Order 20-180 on July 29, 2020, extending the suspension of residential foreclosures through October 1, 2020. However, the suspension is limited to residential foreclosures involving (a) non-payment by a single-family mortgagor; and (b) an emergency related to COVID-19, i.e., a loss of employment, diminished income, or other monetary loss realized during the Florida State of Emergency, initiated on March 9, 2020. Executive Order 20-180 also states that the suspension does not relieve a mortgagor from his or her obligation to deliver mortgage payments. The suspension of commercial foreclosures was lifted.

In addition to these state-law restrictions, on March 27, 2020, Congress enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act of 2020 (“CARES Act”), which resulted in suspensions of the foreclosure of loans insured or guaranteed by FHA, VA, and USDA, or owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Foreclosures of these loans remain suspended through December 31, 2020.

Foreclosures on vacant or abandoned property are still permitted, and the suspension does not apply to private loans.

It is unclear whether title insurers will insure title to a residential property acquired by foreclosure after March 27, 2020 without first investigating whether the foreclosure violated the moratoriums imposed under federal law and state law.

Both state and federal foreclosure moratoriums are subject to change. WHWW continues to monitor state and federal law impacting foreclosure activity in Florida.

If you have questions regarding the proper enforcement of a lease or mortgage, please contact us:

Michael C. Caborn, Esquire
Mya Hatchette, Esquire
Lauren Reynolds, Esquire
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