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

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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.

Drew Wilson

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.


7 comments

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  • Shawn Maynard

    April 3, 2020 at 10:14 am

    What about the state’s rent? Property taxes. Although the banks may not foreclose and landlord’s cannot evict if a homeowner is not able to pay their property taxes by next week another person can buy that tax lien and effectively take the home. The Governor extended property taxes from March 31 to April 15. This extension is not adequate for those suffering. Even the Federal government realized the burden of taxes during this unprecedented time and extended taxes to July 15th. Why has our state not done the same. 15 days is not relief. We need help. Help us not lose our homes through loopholes and technicalities. HELP! Extend property taxes to July 15th.

  • DW Roby

    April 3, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    Evictions happen for different reasons. Nonpayment of rent to a landlord. An elderly landlord who has a rental property and depends upon that rent for survival now cannot evict the nonpaying renter giving no opportunity to get a new tenant who can and will pay the rent. See a problem here?

  • Joey

    April 3, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    He need to do is stop mortgage payments for 90 days. Like New Yor, CT.

  • Michael knotts

    April 4, 2020 at 1:10 am

    If the thousands laid off with no notice don’t get aid soon I know civil unrest will happen . How can a father watch his kids starve . Or a mother or 3 go without food. The governor better have a plan it I expect another Katina looting and rioting going on. I’m a hard working tax paying American. I need help now I have not eaten in 3 days.

  • E J

    April 4, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    Why is the governor late in doing the right thing? We want him to get these rental apartments owners to waive the monthly rent for 3 months.

  • Ajj

    April 12, 2020 at 11:59 pm

    I totally agree, it’s just a matter of time before people out of desperation start to loot and riot in Florida, the apathy of the state and federal government is appalling, there is absolutely no excuse why applications of people who lost their jobs due to Coronavirus are still pending 30 days after they filed.

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