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Coronavirus in Florida

Amid coronavirus crisis, Ron DeSantis suspends foreclosures and evictions for 45 days

Renters and homeowners get some breathing room.

Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order Thursday suspending home foreclosures and evictions for 45 days.

DeSantis’ order suspends all statutes “providing for a mortgage foreclosure cause of action.” For evictions, the order only specifies tenants may not be removed for nonpayment, indicating evictions for other reasons will still be in bounds.

At a press conference Thursday in Tallahassee, the Governor said “I’m not sure you’re going to rent out a lot of new places anyways, but you never know how people are going to act.”

The Supreme Court had previously ordered a pause such actions through April 17.

However, with President Donald Trump decreeing that the next 30 days should be used for social distancing and “flattening the curve,” that court order would have expired just as the virus was beginning to peak in Florida.

The order, which goes into effect immediately, comes at a time when Florida’s economy lies in a smoldering heap and an untold number of Floridians find themselves unemployed.

For many, the struggle has been compounded by the state’s unemployment system, which has not been unable to keep pace with the number of claims flowing in.

That’s left many Floridians unable to pay the bills.

Most monthly obligations have leniency. Major Florida utility companies and telecommunications providers have pledged not to cut off service due to nonpayment during the coronacrisis.

But landlords are not a monolith, and some have a limited supply of empathy. That has led politicians on both sides of the aisle to call for a moratorium on evictions.

DeSantis’ predecessor, Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, has called for a moratorium on rent, utility and mortgage payments for 30 days in the wake of economic uncertainty.

Rep. Shevrin Jones, a West Park Democrat, asked the Governor to pause evictions and, later, recommended mortgage and rent payments be waived for three months.

A coalition comprised of several advocacy groups, including SEIU Florida, New Florida Majority, MHAction, Organize Florida and the Community Justice Project, has also called for a monthlong pause.

Written By

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

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