Governor DeSantis allowed the residential eviction moratorium in Florida to expire this month. This was a welcome sign to many Landlords as the moratorium has been in place for over five months. However, the Governor’s statement reflected the fact that the CDC has enacted a Federal moratorium on evictions that will last through the end of the year, so relief is not quite there, although now there is a requirement for the tenant.
Pursuant to the Code of Federal Regulations, the Director of the CDC can determine that measures are necessary from health authorities to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. Pursuant to that authority, the CDC has halted all residential evictions in the country until December 31, 2020 so long as a tenant agrees to declare under penalty of perjury that they meet certain requirements. Amongst them are best efforts to obtain government assistance, maximum income earned in 2020 of $99,000, inability to make payments and best efforts to make at least partial payments to Landlord. A renter seeking this relief must also certify they are likely to be homeless if evicted and understand that the rent they are not paying will still be due and owing to the Landlord but with penalties, interest and fees associated with non payment.
We caution Landlords to be diligent on collections of at least partial payments during this time and tenants to be cognizant of the fact their monthly rental obligations continue to exist and this is not a grant from the federal government. The second this moratorium is over, tenants will have to pay large sums of back owed money that most will not be able to pay so unless there is more government assistance given, it is likely that this moratorium is just a kicking of the eviction can down the street and a mass of evictions are simply being delayed. We also look for Federal and state courts across America to be fielding eviction proceedings challenging the CDC Director action under the Public Health Service Act as primarily Landlords will claim that this violates their constitutional rights to access the courts and due process laws amongst other claims.
The links to the Order and the Declaration Form for tenants to sign if they are eligible for this relief are included within this article. Whether residential or commercial, landlord or tenant, we are here to help you navigate this. Give us a call and let us see if we can help you.