Updated: May 15, 2020 at 7:00 pm.
On March 27, 2020, President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) into law. The law includes a federal eviction moratorium for residential tenants living in certain types of housing as summarized below.
Under the provisions of the new law, residential landlords are restricted from filing new evictions for non-payment of rent, and prohibits “charg[ing] fees, penalties, or other charges to the tenant related to such nonpayment of rent.” §4024(b).
The Act does not affect cases:
- that were filed before the moratorium took effect or that are filed after it sunsets
- that involve non-covered tenancies (see below), or
- where the eviction is based on another reason besides nonpayment of rent or nonpayment of other fees or charges.
What types of housing are covered by the federal eviction moratorium?
The eviction moratorium applies to “covered dwellings,” which includes those dwellings on or in “covered properties.” Section 4024(a) of the Act defines a “covered property” as a property that:
- participates in a “covered housing program”
- participates in the “rural housing voucher program;
- has a federally backed mortgage loan; or
- has a federally backed multifamily mortgage loan.
The Act defines a federally backed mortgage loan as that which is “in whole or in part, or insured, guaranteed, supplemented, or assisted in any way, by any officer or agency of the Federal Government or under or in connection with a housing or urban development program administered by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development or a housing or related program administered by any other such officer or agency, or is purchased or securitized by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation or the Federal National Mortgage Association.” The National Housing Law Project, reports that about 70 percent of mortgages for single-family homes are federally backed.
How long is the federal eviction moratorium in effect?
The federal eviction moratorium took effect on March 27, 2020 and extends for 120 days. Landlords that receive forbearances of federally backed multifamily mortgage loans must respect identical renter protections for the duration of the forbearance. §4023(d). Furthermore, the Act requires that Landlords of a covered dwelling may not require the tenant to vacate before the date that is 30 days after the date on which the lessor provides the tenant with a notice to vacate; and may not issue a notice to vacate until after the expiration of the moratorium.
On April 2, 2020, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis signed Executive Order 20-94 (Emergency Management – COVID-19 – Mortgage Foreclosure and Eviction Relief). The Order suspends and tolls any statute providing for an eviction cause of action under Florida law for 45 days from April 2, 2020, as it relates to non-payment of rent by residential tenants. The Order has the effect of suspending any notice for non-payment such as a three-day notice or other notice to pay rent or quit. Governor DeSantis, speaking in advance of the issuance of the Order, stated that it does not relieve an individual’s obligation to make rent payments, but is intended to provide “targeted, temporary relief from certain … evictions for 45 days.”
Updated: On May 14, 2020, Governor Desantis signed Executive Order 20-114 extending the 20-94 from May 17, 2020 until 12:01 a.m. on June 2, 2020.
Broward County’s Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, overseen by Chief Judge Jack Tutor, has also issued an Administrative Order (AO) (Administrative Order 2020-27-Temp (IV)(F)) which provides new rules in Broward County concerning defaults and writs of possession. The AO states that until the Courts resume normal operations, in all county and civil cases:
- No default shall be entered by the Clerk of Court; and
- No court default may be sought unless submitted by motion to the presiding judge detailing exigent circumstances which may warrant judicial relief. In the event the presiding judge is unavailable, the matter shall be presented to the Administrative Judge of the County Court or the Administrative Judge of the Circuit Civil Division, as appropriate, and if either are unavailable, to the Chief Judge.
- No writs of possession may issue until normal operations of the court resume.
Updated: On April 6, 2020, Broward County’s Chief Judge for the 17th Judicial Circuit issued a suspension of normal operations through May 29, 2020 (AO 20-32-Temp) which conforms with the Florida Supreme Court’s Administrative Order No. AOSC20-23 (In Re: Comprehensive COVID-19 Emergency Measures for the Florida State Courts, extending state court COVID-19 emergency procedures through the month of May).
Do these orders affect commercial evictions based on non-payment of rent?
It is important to point out, that Broward County’s Administrative Order does not differentiate actions for possession based on a commercial or residential tenancy as does the State and Federal Orders.
Update: The Broward County Sheriff’s office maintains their temporary suspension of writ enforcement with the following statement, “the Broward Sheriff’s Office, in coordination with the 17th Judicial Circuit, has decided to temporarily cease all eviction activities until further notice due to the current public health crisis.” This suspension does not differentiate between residential and commercial writs.
The purpose of this article is to provide you a summary of the most updated information available concerning developments concerning landlords in the State of Florida and more specifically, in Broward County. The author will attempt to keep this article up to date with additional information as it becomes available, but as the current state of affairs is a constantly evolving and fluid situation, you should refer to the sources cited herein for specific information. This is not intended to be a substitute for proper legal advice based on your specific facts and circumstances.
A portion of our practice at Pompano Law is the representation of commercial and residential property owners. If you are a property owner in need of legal counsel, please feel free to reach out to us.