Rick Scott calls for moratorium on rent, mortgages and utility payments
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rick Scott
Florida senator wants 60-day break for individuals making under $75,000 a year.

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott on Sunday called for a moratorium on rent and mortgage payments. The Naples Republican said big steps must be taken to ease economic burdens on Americans facing a global pandemic.

“The best thing we can do to help individuals & small businesses RIGHT NOW is a moratorium on rent, mortgages, fees, & utilities,” Scott tweeted.

“Rather than bailing out big businesses, we should be focusing on those that need help the most.”

The call came days after President Donald Trump ordered a freeze on evictions and foreclosures with HUD-backed loans. Rep. Shevrin Jones, a South Florida Democrat, had previously called such a suspension in Florida, along with stopping utility cutoffs.

But Scott’s proposal was more radical, suggesting landlords, lenders and local providers not be allowed to collect on bills for the moment.

In a column published by Fox Business, Scott said such a move makes more sense than bailing out major companies.

“Let me be clear: we should not bail out large corporations that have enjoyed years of growth and prosperity. I won’t support it,” Scott wrote. “The people that need help the most are small businesses, hourly workers, people who rely on tips, and gig economy workers like Uber and Lyft drivers.”

Scott said Congress should increase federal assistance to unemployment insurance programs and change regulations to open funds to workers out of a job to immediately access.

More radically, he wants a 60-day moratorium on “mortgages, rent, fees and utilities for both individuals making less than $75,000 a year and small businesses with less than 250 employees.

He suggests the payments be postponed and paid over the course of a year afterward.

Such a move would be more responsible than bailouts being discussed in Congress right now, the former Governor said.

“The federal government should be a safety net for those who need it most. But even in times of crisis, we can’t forget about fiscal responsibility,” Scott wrote. “We have $23 trillion in debt and trillion-dollar annual deficits, which will have long-term negative impacts on our children and grandchildren.”

But Scott stressed the best solution remains containing COVID-19 by enforcing social distancing measures and increasing testing. Notably, Scott called for a closure of all Florida beaches earlier this week. He was joined by Florida’s 13 Congressional Democrats but no fellow Republicans in the Delegation.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


53 comments

  • Thomas Knapp

    March 22, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    If my landlord isn’t collecting rent, is there a moratorium on HIS obligations as well? If my well pump goes out or my septic tank needs to be pumped or a tree falls on the roof, is it just my problem?

    Politicians keep coming up with dumber and dumber supposed fixes for the problems THEY ARE CREATING by appeasing this irrational panic.

    • Anthony Guariglia

      March 23, 2020 at 10:24 am

      The bill calls for mortgages to be included so yes your landlords obligations would also be covered as far as the Maintenance. That would be a business expense and something they should have been prepared to deal with prior to this crisis. It’s not like a Hurricane or tornado where properties will be damaged beyond the normal expenses planed out. If we don’t get our lower / middle class citizens assistance in every form available we will never be able to recover and the land lords will not have anyone Financially able to rent their property after this is all said and done. Small business will crumble and never reopen due to its employees being homeless and or in debt beyond their means losing transportation and the ability to get to work.

      • Tee

        March 24, 2020 at 3:23 pm

        Well said! America needs a HUGE shot of Compassion for Others and quit thinking of me me me…. The ME always get help from the gov. the little guy has always had to make do with the crumbs…

        • Nyb

          March 25, 2020 at 1:39 pm

          Right back at you. Does the “Quit thinking of me me me” only apply to tenants?
          I am a landlord, I do not have mortgages yet my income is my tenants rent. 2 to be precise. So what am I supposed to do? NOT pay my HOA fees, pool guys, my gardeners, my storage units, my utilities, my insurances? Who will take care of that?
          You cannot just assume that all landlords are independently rich. That is just 🙄
          And quit thinking of me me me

          • Tee

            March 26, 2020 at 4:32 pm

            Regardless, mortgage or rent. Your thought process is selfish, and might I add unnecessary. You can see no further than the end of your nose. Everyone is affected by this pandemic, there is no room for selfish, me, me , me emotions. What Rick Scott is proposing coves your self interests also. You were just to quick to jump on the me, me, me, bandwagon, before comprehending that FACT.

            The very fact that during this pandemic while thousands are dying, that you are concerned about paying your pool guys, and gardners speaks volumes. We ALL will have to make sacrifices o get through this pandemic. As for your HOA,let’s hope (if they do sue you) you don’t have a Judge who thinks the same way you do. The Word tells us; “As YOU Judge, so shall YOU be Judged”….

          • trillium300

            April 3, 2020 at 5:00 pm

            I’d like to reply to Tee who thinks your me, me, me is selfish. I don’t see it as “me, me, me”. Here’s the scenario. Tenants don’t pay rent, landlords can’t afford to fix the water heater or unclog your toilet or fix the A/C and furnace or patch the roof leak, the community pool goes green, the hedges overgrow, vermin moves in. In short, the landlord can’t afford to keep his rental livable and you are living in it.

            Landlords don’t just pay mortgages with rents. They provide and maintain a place for tenants to live.

    • Health care Angel

      March 23, 2020 at 2:52 pm

      people forget the people who always make more than 75000…we never get help….we get hit on our retirement loosing everything….bills overwhelming….poor creadit having to pay more for cars. insurance, rent lights ect….and we are going to get kicked out loose everything…because we are trying to help everyone as front line person ….we is my help !!!! run to front line staff but not help for us in the bills this sucks

      • Richard

        March 24, 2020 at 6:51 am

        You should have money saved for emergency. Folks who make less don’t have that luxury to have an nest egg. If you don’t have money saved and make over $75,000 a year for multiple years. Shame on you for spending poorly.

        • Nyb

          March 25, 2020 at 1:35 pm

          Shame game, huh?
          Shame on the people who make less money for making poor choices???
          Seriously, shame on you for putting blame on people who make more, that is just ludicrous

          • Tee

            March 26, 2020 at 4:38 pm

            Unfortunately, typical way of thinking. The shame game is played by bullies and cowards. Let’s just be thankful that Dick is not our neighbor.

    • VL

      March 23, 2020 at 4:19 pm

      Yes, your landlord would be able to defer his/her mortgage payments on the property. If the landlord owns the property 100% with no mortgage, they have more than enough equity to float a low interest loan to see THEM thru this.

      • Nyb

        March 25, 2020 at 1:52 pm

        Are you kidding me? More than enough “equity” to float a low interest loan???
        So then why not have the “low income” get a loan?
        Not every landlord is independently rich.
        Seriously, people here come up with the most ludicrous ideas.
        Think, people, before you post

    • Maria

      March 25, 2020 at 12:18 pm

      wow it seems irresponsible for the government to say payments postponed for rent, mortgages and utilities. 1) not everyone has lost her job; 2) the landlord may also have lost his job and this is the income he’s counting on so in effect he picked up another child he’s supporting; 3) creating a divide between people (again) In one example I see someone saying someone with $75,000 should have saved but I guess he making less it’s not essential; 4) most importantly I don’t see the government stating owners get a reprieve on real estate taxes ie delay payment for 2 months or they can apply for guarantee of payment if the tenant doesn’t pay. This feels like Cuba or Venezuela. Thanks Rick Scott there was a reason I never voted for you.

    • Maria

      March 25, 2020 at 12:20 pm

      He mentions government bailout, wow it seems irresponsible for the government to say payments postponed for rent, mortgages and utilities. This is OPM other people’s money not the government. Issues: 1) not everyone has lost her job; 2) the landlord may also have lost his job and this is the income he’s counting on so in effect he picked up another child he’s supporting; 3) creating a divide between people (again) In one example I see someone saying someone with $75,000 should have saved but I guess he making less it’s not essential; 4) most importantly I don’t see the government stating owners get a reprieve on real estate taxes ie delay payment for 2 months or they can apply for guarantee of payment if the tenant doesn’t pay. This feels like Cuba or Venezuela. Thanks Rick Scott there was a reason I never voted for you.

    • Leonel R. Macias

      March 28, 2020 at 3:22 pm

      Residential Landlords are individuals and small businesses too. How does Senator Scott expect landlords to survive and make their payments to banks, utilities, insurance premiums, landscapers, maintenance workers, repairs etc…besides covering their own family expenses. This proposal is not properly thought out. Tenants are already requesting not to pay the April rent payment based on this news. I am a 76 year old retiree with a wife and two kids, 16 and 18. Our main source of income to maintain our household comes from rentals, which I acquired in my younger years. This is like suggesting that people can go to Publix and not pay for their groceries. This proposal does not make sense for the landlords. If Senator Scott thinks that tenants need financial assistance to get through these difficult times a good idea would be for the State of Florida to issue vouchers to tenants that show the need for financial assistance. Just to propose a blanket subsidy that burdens the landlords is not the solution to this problem.

  • Cleve

    March 22, 2020 at 9:16 pm

    How is this a break for those who need it most?? EVERYONE is impacted by this.. there are many people making over $75k a year who are not working right now and they are the ones who pay the MOST taxes but they don’t get a break? How is this even fair?? FAIR means EVERYONE gets the same break/help.. especially when the ones excluded pay the most in taxes and spend more to make this economy flow.. Get it together people!!!!

  • Tj

    March 22, 2020 at 10:50 pm

    The 2 comments above is exactly why Trump was elected… forget the little guy, what about me!

    • Thomas Knapp

      March 23, 2020 at 5:38 am

      I am the little guy.

      And so far as I know, my landlord isn’t an especially big guy. Almost certainly not a big enough guy to continue covering maintenance costs, property taxes, etc. on rental units he’s not collecting the rent on, at least for very long.

      Not that anyone ever thought Scott was the sharpest knife in the drawer when it came to anything except taking the 5th Amendment, but piling stupidity on top of stupidity doesn’t create cleverness.

      • VL

        March 23, 2020 at 4:22 pm

        Thomas Knapp, the proposal defers payments, it does not eliminate them. If your landlord does not have a mortgage on the property, he has more than enough equity to easily obtain a low interest loan he can use to float himself. I’m self-employed, and this is the FIRST suggestion that has been made that might benefit the 57+MILLION self-employed people in this country.

        • Nyb

          March 25, 2020 at 2:09 pm

          So me as a not-independent non-rich landlord depending on my tenants paying rent to pay for gardeners, pool guys, insurances, comcast, HOAs, storages, property taxes, what do I tell all these companies? They won’t get paid for the next few months until I get paid? Who is paying for my penalties and colllection fees?
          People, unless someone is independently rich, WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.
          By making it about yourself/someone as low income (only) you are making it a “me me me”, duh.

          So, if someone wants to suggest deferred payments, then make it for EVERYBODY and EVERYTHING. Not just one group of people and one sector.

          And no, lifting restrictions and going back to work will not make it better.
          The only thing that would make it better is waving a magic wand, freezing everyone and everything in place for 4 weeks, that’s the only way to eliminate the virus. It would be a VERY hard but very short pain and then the economy would have the quickest interruption and fastest recovery time.
          But if you like endangering yourself and others, risking hospitals getting overwhelmed with patients and a lack of supplies, doctors having to make dire choices of which patient to treat and which one to send away, go ahead, go about your life. Ask people in Italy and Spain. They’ll tell you how that turns out.
          This is not a game, this is a fracking emergency situation.

      • Danielle brittingham

        March 23, 2020 at 8:00 pm

        Yeah but if people is out of work then how can they pay the rent. We are talking about alot of people here.

        • Thomas Knapp

          March 23, 2020 at 8:02 pm

          Most people who are out of work are out of work because politicians are ordering them not work.

          What we need is a large number of people ignoring the politicians, getting back to work, and if the politicians get handsy about it hanging a couple of them and leaving the bodies on display so that the others get the message.

      • Desiree

        March 23, 2020 at 9:49 pm

        Thomas Knapp you’re exactly right! I am a landlord,the upkeep with the property taxes and insurance as you stated,along with maintenance and keeping our properties at a reasonable rent for people with low income is completely overlooked. This will crush us if Rick Scott is approved on this.

        • Tee

          March 24, 2020 at 3:27 pm

          It’s Not about YOU! All you can think about is how it will affect YOU! Grow-up and quit being so selfish.

          • A Cotton

            March 25, 2020 at 12:17 am

            What about the people we employ….how are we suppose to pay them. Retired folks can’t just go out and get a loan to keep up 3-4 families.

            Tell Scott not to charge our elderly for care and expenses -he’s living off of a lot of us!!

      • Truthiness

        March 24, 2020 at 9:24 am

        Someone should ask what to do about car payments. Will they still be repossessed?

        • brendan

          March 24, 2020 at 2:45 pm

          call you loan company they deferred all my payments for up to 120 days very helpful

          • miguel melendez

            March 25, 2020 at 5:56 pm

            this is very true so landlords can defer loan payments and still collect. if you get a break dont line your pockets while i struggle. if something breaks we can work together because it in both our best interest we are both not paying

      • Silvia

        March 24, 2020 at 3:38 pm

        I agree with you 100%, I’m a landlord that includes all utilities and have to pay a mortgage for the property, not working same as my tenant and my salary is way under $75,000 I’m to collect no rent and pay for it out of my pocket. How does that makes anything better for the people?

  • Michael

    March 23, 2020 at 6:24 am

    Thomas, that’s not your problem or our problem. You literally hear millions of people lose their jobs over night. I took home around 825 every single week. Now, I’m taking home ZERO. I didnt quit my job, my company didn’t go under due to poor business practices and I wasnt irresponsible to lose my job.

    My mom and her husband work for the film industry in New York. They worked on big projects such as goodfellas, punisher, analyze this and tv shows such as boardwalk empire, gossip girl and elementary. They lost their jobs too.

    I’m sure your landlord will be protected too. I received my car insurance wont cancel my policy. I also received JEA wont cut off my power.

    Can you imagine if everybody that was temporarily laid off was evicted? Had their power cut off and etc? You would see a different type of crisis.

    • Thomas Knapp

      March 23, 2020 at 7:52 am

      “I’m sure your landlord will be protected too.”

      True — in much the same way that business owners were “protected” in one of the films you mention (Goodfellas).

    • James Bright

      March 23, 2020 at 1:09 pm

      I have 2 rentals. Both of my tenants are employed and doing well. I’m an airline employee and will probably be laid off soon. This is the stupidest idea I have heard yet. The unemployment rate is probably 10% max right now. Help people who need it but not the 90% who have not been affected.

      • Jeff Scott

        March 26, 2020 at 3:36 pm

        10 percent is just the tip of the iceberg. As more businesses are forced to shut down that number will begin to rise exponentially. America is a service base economy and it all begins and ends with the middle class.
        Freeze the mortgages , defer the rental payments, and let people have a roof over their head until this virus has left us.

    • Silvia

      March 24, 2020 at 3:44 pm

      The landlord can curve part of the rent of needed but not the complete rent. The landlord is not at fault either and they also have their mortgage and Bill’s to pay.
      I’m referring to landlords that make little money or none at this time.

  • Nancy

    March 23, 2020 at 9:43 am

    I am a landlord. A little guy. I recently changed 3 units to vacation rentals and lost the majority of my income for the year overnight, due to vacation rental cancellation from the virus. If the other 7 rentals I own stop paying their rent (one already has and I was in the process of an eviction), I won’t be able to pay my mortgages, I won’t have money for repairs if something happens to the rentals, and I won’t have money to pay my bills.

    A lot of people will still be able to pay their rent. The people that work for Fedex, Amazon, grocery stores, etc. The ones that don’t live paycheck to paycheck, the ones that are still being paid by their companies. Why would we encourage people not to pay their rent, when they can pay their rent? If they can’t, they can apply for assistance. If they are able to, but don’t have to, they won’t pay. If they have to pay it in the future, now they are playing catch up.

    What is the solution for me as a landlord, if I am not receiving rent? And if they don’t pay when the moratorium is lifted, then will I have to go through an eviction process for these tenants?

    Why can’t we just offer help to those who really need it, instead of offering free handouts to everyone, when many people don’t need it?

    • Desiree

      March 23, 2020 at 10:01 pm

      Nancy, my thoughts exactly. We are also the little guy. As I am also a landolord with the same issues (not vacation rentals though) that you describe. Some of my tenants are CNAs, some of my tenants work at Walmart stocking durning the night time and some of my tenants get public assistance. What now?? They don’t have to pay rent? Rick Scott needs to think a little more before suggesting something of this nature.

  • Catherine S Billings

    March 23, 2020 at 10:27 am

    Stop IRS from taking student loan money from tax return. My SIL has a job and worries everyday it may end. My daughter lost her job as a server on the beach. Three kids need to eat so I’m supplementing to help. I’m so mad at the partisan political arguing. My kids are terrified and worry about food, rent and utilities. I hope you are well. I hope you VOTE!

  • Kc

    March 23, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    There is no easy solution. Many of my friends work as bartenders, waitstaff etc on the beach. They are all suddenly unemployed as restaurants shut down. None of this was their choice or doing. Some have children to feed and keep a roof over their heads. How long can they survive with 800.00 in savings? The vast majority of apts are not duplexes or triplex, or even quads…most are 100 units plus owned by investor groups…certainly the wealthy owners of these apt complexes are more able to survive if they forego collecting rents from those with no means to pay. I like the deferred rent plan option Scott has.
    One of my friends landlord whom he rents a house from. Told him…you have kids, you have been a good renter for 3yrs now. If you want I will buy the paint and you can paint the house. For your labor …since your not working anyway and have time…I will give you the next two months rent free. Landlords should get creative like this guy.

  • Amanda

    March 23, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    So I understand that he’s stating that mortgage payments be postponed and paid over a year but means nothing unfortunately. I called my mortgage company to ask what they were doing which is Regions by the way. They stated they would give a 90 day grace period but however at the end of the 90 days those three payments had to be paid in full. And if you opted for a payment arrangement they would report it to your credit report that you weren’t paying it in full. And that was told to me today 3/23/2020. So everyone should watch out on these companies. Stating they will offer a “difference “ on mortgage payments and what not. So thanks Governor Scott but what you’re posing really won’t help unless there is a bill passed that they can’t do that to us.

    • Sn

      March 23, 2020 at 4:29 pm

      We need a national freeze/suspension on rent and mortgages. Then we all will be ok, only worrying about basics like feeding our family and basics. My husband is a chef laid off last week. I’m working but my hours have been cut. We don’t have assistance. My landlord will surly be calling me April first about full rent and threatening me with eviction. Even if I painted and tile the house I’ve lived in 9 years, he would never compromise. I’ve pulled teeth getting him to hold off a week a few times. We’ll surly be homeless with our 3 kids after this. 275 a week unemployment won’t cover 1250 a month in Sarasota.

      • Maria

        March 25, 2020 at 12:29 pm

        First the government should help you out more than that. Let’s hope. Some retirees this is their income so Scott just unemployed your landlord. Second if you’ve been a tenant so long and the landlord doesn’t help you NEED to find a new landlord when your lease is up. The same as landlords who finds tenants that have taken advantage of the situation. As soon as time is up don’t renew them.

  • Peter

    March 23, 2020 at 9:59 pm

    If you postpone the principal payment and add it to the backside of the loan everyone should be good.

  • Brittany Lanzillotti

    March 23, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    I may need a lawyer to figure this out…but I live in an income restricted housing apartment and my recertification is up. I switched jobs about 2 weeks before this crisis became a true pandemic and now I don’t according to my rental office I “don’t have a job” to recertify/resign my lease due to my temporary lay off. I am a server and by governors orders, our restaurants have been shut down until further notice. It’s looking like they’re pushing me and my 5 year old son out on April 1st with no where to go. How can this happen? I need help! I would be so grateful for any advice or pointers to a Legal representative. Is this legal??

  • Desiree

    March 23, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    Thomas Knapp you’re exactly right! I am a landlord,the upkeep with the property taxes and insurance as you stated,along with maintenance and keeping our properties at a reasonable rent for people with low income is completely overlooked. This will crush us if Rick Scott is approved on this.

  • Denise

    March 24, 2020 at 8:01 am

    How about $550 car payments??

  • Mary Cortes

    March 24, 2020 at 8:40 am

    As a landlord; that is my means for survival. If I am forced to not collect rent for my renter, then I will be let with -0-.. The people that are to receive the stimulus checks, should pay their rent. It’s not fair to take my only income. No way I could afford to maintain a rental with no income coming in. I would have to have assistance to live.

  • ala`

    March 24, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    Call your car payment company and your payment will be deffer. Car insurance NO>>> I just did it. They gave us til July 12. You will pay later on the loan. State Farm.

  • skidoo

    March 24, 2020 at 8:22 pm

    how about real estate tax? it’s due literally in 1 week.

  • Jeni Ingram

    March 25, 2020 at 6:17 pm

    I’m a new renter who just lost my job to this crisis and because I just moved, my savings is depleted. A deferment or reduction would be helpful. If I don’t get help, I’ll default on my rent, be evicted and be homeless. I am trying desperately to find something but a lot of companies aren’t hiring. I don’t want a handout from my landlord, as soon I start back to work, I’ll pay it back. But if I get no deferment, I’m completely screwed. I was not irresponsible with my money, moving is very expensive and I was counting on a paycheck to pay rent. If I leave and default on my lease, it leaves 2 more issues, ding on my credit, and my landlord with empty units that most likely won’t be occupied for quite awhile when the economy is in the tank.

  • Kris

    March 25, 2020 at 11:24 pm

    I’m a single mom and literally make just barely over the 75k. I just bought a house and because of that I have little to no savings. That’s really sad that there’s just a straight cut off. I hope this gets refined so it kind of follows along with with 1200 for up to and decreased a little at a time.

  • Roslyn Chancey

    March 28, 2020 at 6:51 am

    Government has interfered with tenants’ lease obligations causing loss to landlords. Government is obligated to pay directly to landlords the full rent lost. That’s FAIR! And government can easily be repaid through income tax refund confiscation which makes more sense than millions of landlords filing law suits against tenants.

  • Diane Disalvatore-Lynch

    March 30, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    Hi How about a moratorium on insurance companies that are raising their rates
    for home owners WE are seniors fixed income disable Insurance company wants to double
    the rate or not insurer us because our home is to old Irma hit us we were fine nothing
    happen to our house . help need some advise

    • Thomas Knapp

      March 30, 2020 at 3:33 pm

      If you have a mortgage, insurance is required and they just handle that and roll it into your mortgage payment — at least that’s how it was the last time I dealt with a mortgage.

      Once you own your home free and clear, whether you insure it, what for, and for how much, is between you and the insurance company. If you aren’t willing to pay their rates, find another company or go without insurance.

Comments are closed.


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