Shevrin Jones asks Governor to waive mortgage, rent payments for three months

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Jones says the action is necessary due to an economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 virus.

Rep. Shevrin Jones is pushing Gov. Ron DeSantis to waive mortgage and rent payments for three months as Floridians deal with the effects of an economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Jones, a West Park Democrat, called on DeSantis earlier this week to temporarily pause evictions and utility shutdowns. Now, he’s asking for those mortgage and rent payments to be suspended for 90 days, along with all late fees and other penalties for nonpayment.

“Gov. DeSantis has the power to deliver financial relief for Floridians via executive order and should take decisive action quickly, just as other governors across the country have done. I encourage the Governor to direct all state agencies to suspend fee collection for 90 days,” Jones said.

“This public health crisis is already putting Floridians under significant economic stress at a time when most Americans cannot afford a $400 emergency. All things considered, the Governor and Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz have been communicative as they have taken steps to ensure Floridians are healthy and safe. Nevertheless, we must continue to alleviate the burden weighing on families in every corner of Florida because lives are literally on the line.”

Jones is correct that Florida would not be the only state to make such a move. This week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York also paused those payments and fees for 90 days.

DeSantis has still not enacted a statewide eviction moratorium, though he said Thursday he was considering such a move.

But following Jones’ request, those evictions were halted in Jones’ home county of Broward courtesy of a judicial mandate. Other counties, such as Miami-Dade and Orange, had already suspended evictions for residents due to late rent payments.

Due to social distancing efforts, many workers have been asked to work from home. But with an economic slowdown being forecast for the next few months, many worry the impact could be more severe: from workers losing their jobs to some stores or companies shutting down entirely.

A Florida Politics analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data finds 1,189,000 Florida workers could be in jobs directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including fast-food workers, maids, bartenders, movie projectionists, and amusement and recreation attendants.

That is about 14% of the 8.6 million jobs in Florida in May 2018, the most recent BLS data available that breaks down America’s workforce by state and more than 750 specific occupations.

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Hundreds of thousands more workers are in other sectors impacted by the shutdowns, but of uncertain impact for the moment, such as teachers, drivers, and recreation workers. They were not included in the Florida Politics estimate of directly impacted jobs.

Job losses are already mounting in the hotel industry — data released Thursday by the American Hotel & Lodging Association shows nearly 400,000 job cuts in the Florida hospitality industry so far.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]


17 comments

  • Cogent Observer

    March 19, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    Respectfully, Mr. Jones is apparently unfamiliar with the concept of property rights. What he proposes is, effectively, the seizure of property (rents or mortgage payments) from people and institutions to whom or to which they are owed.

    Once the government does this, albeit calling it a “suspension” or “deferral”, the property (rents or mortgage payments) will be lost forever and never repaid by the people who owe it. How does he think it will turn out otherwise?

    Oh, I know. By tax dollars being given to the creditors whose money was seized by the “suspensions” and “deferrals.” Yes, another bailout. The first few turned out well, didn’t they? And they were really popular, weren’t they? And certainly, they weren’t accompanied by any fraud or wrongdoing. Fraud and wrongdoing are attracted to political give-aways, Mr. Jones.

    This is another perfect example of a government(political) solution (although the term “solution” is used advisedly) bound for failure. A better term might be “electoral ploy.”

    Mr. Jones–please use your energy to develop sane, workable ideas that don’t result in stealing the property from some to give to others. You are not Robin Hood. Like ideas that foster voluntarism and do not stampede over some groups for the supposed benefit of others. If your goal is fairness, this proposal does not evidence it.

    • Jordan

      March 22, 2020 at 5:20 am

      This comment is making me think we should become communist and seize all of the property.

      I’ve lost my job, and so have most of my friends and family, and most of the people in my apartment complex. It’s clear our society is failing at this big task. If the government fails to properly give us some form of UBI that we can use to pay for our utilities and rent during this awful downturn, then no one will get the money anyhow. We all need to make sacrifices, maybe it’s time for the banks holding the mortgages of landlords, property managers and leasing agents to make some sacrifices for the public good? But while we work out what that solution is, we can’t be throwing people on the streets, cutting off energy/water/etc.

  • Kimberly

    March 19, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    Yes, I agree something really needs to be done quickly. For I am a single parent that had a full time successful job working as a beautician at many assisted living and nursing home facilities in Florida, at which I am no longer welcome until they get this Corona virus under control. I was told that salon services were not a necessity and I would be without a job until further notice.

  • Carol

    March 20, 2020 at 12:02 am

    These deferrals would not amount to letting anyone off the hook. It would just mean the mortgage payments would be added to the back of the mortgage–the payments would still be made but later. This would be better than having multiple foreclosures begin and seeing the same situation occurring as during the Great Recession. Sometimes, people have to help other people out. It’s called compassion and being a Christian.

    • Cogent Observer

      March 20, 2020 at 2:41 pm

      Those are kind but unrealistic thoughts. At least as to tenants of rental property, they will have no incentive to leave, and there will exist no legal basis to force them to pay the overdue rent. The property owner will, in effect, have a hold-over tenant, using the property, utilities, etc. and paying no rent. All it accomplishes is transferring a burden from one individual to another.

      That you are a Christian is all well and good–for you. However, it has nothing to do with solving the problem. As a Christian, or as a believer of any kind (or as a non-believer), go out and do something voluntarily and useful and urge your circle of friends and acquaintances to do likewise. But please, don’t bring the hammer of government down on yourself, them, and others.

  • Ana

    March 20, 2020 at 10:05 am

    I thank Shevrin Jones for this proposal as both my husband and I have been affected even though we had full time jobs. We intend to pay back the three months that would be temporarily suspended. Who will pay the banks? I also would like to propose payment plans as some people might be able to do partial payments. My mortgage payment is the reason I keep going out there possibly exposing others with Covid-19 (I have no symptoms at the moment). I realize that I am also exposing myself and the rest of my family who is staying at home. We can do some work at home but the majority of our earnings require face to face social interaction.

  • Kenya

    March 20, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    I own property and depend on those funds as income and also to take care of said property. How is Mr. Jones proposing to compensate me? My tenant not paying rent will put me in a hole, this creates a larger economic crisis. Did he forget about small property owners? How will I be compensated for the monies I will not receive to pay the plumber, county taxes, lawn maintenance?

    • Cogent Observer

      March 20, 2020 at 2:54 pm

      Yes, Kenya–you are exactly correct. You exemplify how many productive individuals are hurt by ill-conceived politics.

      It is unfortunate that Mr. Jones has apparently chosen a political course for his career, rather than one of production in the marketplace. Had he chosen the latter, he would understand the realities of what he has proposed and the havoc that it would wreak for people like you.

      • Savage

        March 21, 2020 at 2:01 pm

        You will file with the state afterward for the harm that was caused just like the banks… except it is the middle class getting the bailouts and not big companies

    • donna grandfield

      March 22, 2020 at 8:39 pm

      And what do you think is happening to your tenant??? I’m sure they said the same thing when the government told them that they are jobless because the business had to shut down. So I guess both you and your tenant will be in the same boat then.

  • Philip

    March 22, 2020 at 9:35 pm

    I agree pause it all. If no mortgage how is a landlord gonna say they need to pay Bill’s? Nobody should be on the streets from something they cant control is that fair. Landlords can feel just as much as the rest of the community. Why should a landlord profit on a shutdown when the tenant cant pay in a shutdown. Not very fair wasnt luke the tenant asked for no work they were made to lose hours.

  • Stephanie

    March 23, 2020 at 1:27 pm

    What if your landlord doesn’t want to take the 3 months?
    What if he does take the 3 months however doesn’t want to return the relief because said mortgage is still owed at the end of mortgage?
    How can a tenant force their landlord to be Christian about this?
    I’m not out of work but I was reduced to 32 hrs kind of hard to say I can pay you but I wasn’t prepared for this and I dont know how long it’ll last.

  • Corpus

    March 23, 2020 at 3:43 pm

    Wat about Tallahassee fl about paying rent i live in brittany estate lost my job bc the virus i work in a food service trying to get new job at warehouse told the landlord so.they know still it dont matter if i can pay rent im out so wat about Tallahassee rent there nothing that it say about this town or any place to pay rent it seem like Tallahassee is jus the trash of Florida there is no news

  • Cogent Observer

    March 23, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    Respectfully, part of the issue may be the way in which you communicate. Or don’t communicate.

  • Ricardo

    March 24, 2020 at 12:00 am

    I find this proposal reckless and irresponsible. My parents have 2 rental properties that provide them with a <15k income per year. My mother supplements that by teaching at MDC. Their total income is <30k. She will likely get less or no classes this period.

    What should they tell the home owner associations? "I am sorry, I can't pay this month as a consequence of an irresponsible politician's proposal?" Will that suffice to avoid late fees?

    Of course it will not, they will be force to use a credit card to pay associations with money they do not have and my siblings and I will need to provide financial help.

    I am all for agreeing to payment arrangements with tentants that are reasonable and cover basic landlord costs.

    • Greicy

      March 24, 2020 at 4:58 pm

      Ricardo, is already happening to me. I rent a house in which I pay $1700.00 mortgage and my tenant just call me saying that he heard on the news that he did not have to pay rent for three months. I called the bank that holds my mortgage and all they are doing is a loan forbearance for 3 months and at the end of that term you will have to pay everything or do a loan modification (which affects your credit) or a foreclosure. My tenant believe that he does not have to pay anything in three months and the fourth month he will pay regular rent. Now I have to go through a nasty battle.

  • Richard

    March 27, 2020 at 9:28 pm

    I refuse to believe that a Republican elected official would even consider such a proposal. If a tenant does not have to pay any rent, the burden will pass to the landlord who has to dig into his or her own pocket to cover the expenses related to the property. In the end, if the landlord does not have money to pay for maintenance or mortgage, the property will end in foreclosure and the tenant gets evicted anyway. The outcome will mirror the housing crisis which decimated the economy not too long ago.

    Another issue with this measure is that some tenants will elect to not pay rent for the term specified in the legislation and then move once the accrued rent becomes due. During this time, the landlord has to pay for utilities, upkeep, and all other expenses on the property.

    This proposed measure is the epitome of shallow thinking.

Comments are closed.


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