Gov. Ron DeSantis defended the narrower scope in his most recent eviction moratorium.
Unlike previous orders, the most recent order limits protections to single-family homeowners and renters who are “adversely affected” by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The distinction potentially puts many Floridians back on the hook for issues such as unpaid bills or property damage.
“I think the order would apply to all folks who lost their jobs in this period and obviously would apply to anyone that has either been ill or had a family member ill,” DeSantis said, speaking to reporters in Jacksonville Thursday. “So I think it covers the core group of people that we’re looking to protect. At the same time, if you had no effects on it and you’re still working and everything, then you got to meet your obligations just like another other Floridian would.”
DeSantis expanded the moratorium on July 30 to Sept. 1. It defines “adversely affected” as a “loss of employment, diminished wages or business income, or other monetary loss realized during the Florida State of Emergency directly impacting the ability of a single-family mortgagor to make mortgage payments.”
The order also mandates that once the renter or homeowner is no longer adversely affected they are no longer protected from eviction or foreclosure.
“Nothing in this Executive Order shall be construed as relieving an individual from his or her obligation to make mortgage payments or rent payments,” the order reads. “All payments, including tolled payments, are due when an individual is no longer adversely affected by the COVID- 19 emergency.”
The stay on evictions was put into place April 2 amid the state’s economic shutdown and rising unemployment. The moratorium has since been extended four times.
As of the latest COVID-19 report, state health officials identified 7,650 new COVID-19 cases. In total, 510,389 people, including 5,621 non-Floridians, have tested positive in the state.
The state crossed 500,000 total diagnoses on Wednesday.