ORLANDO, Fla. — As of midnight, Florida’s moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the coronavirus pandemic has ceased.
What You Need To Know
- CDC passed federal moratorium on evictions
- Federal moratorium lasts until Dec. 31, 2020
The governor’s office announced just after 5:30 p.m., Wednesday that Gov. Ron DeSantis would allow Florida’s eviction moratorium to expire at midnight.
“Executive Order 20-211 pertaining to the State’s mortgage foreclosure and eviction relief was permitted to expire to avoid any confusion over whether the CDC’s evictions order should apply in a particular circumstance,” wrote Fredrick Piccolo Jr., director of communications for the governor, in a press release.
A federal moratorium on evictions for people impacted by the coronavirus pandemic took effect September 4. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention passed the order, which lasts until the end of the year on December 31.
Protection under the CDC’s moratorium is not automatic, and legal interpretations of the order have varied across jurisdictions. Renters who wish to seek protection under the order must fill out a declaration form and submit it to their landlord.
Requirements in that declaration form include tenants must write, under penalty of perjury, that they have made every possible attempt to pay at least part of their rent.
Orange County Housing Attorney Camilo Parra said this moratorium will help many renters, but only if they take action.
"As long as the people are made aware of their protections under the CDC moratorium, hopefully, it won't be too much of an impact," said Parra.
DeSantis changed the language in Florida’s original eviction moratorium on July 29, opening the door for broader interpretation of the law. Eviction filings picked up in several Central Florida counties after the governor signed the “limited extension” of the original moratorium order.
Housing advocates were hoping the governor would extend it once again. Housing-reform advocates have gathered at the governor's mansion multiple times, over the last few months, pushing for DeSantis to extend the moratorium.
He has normally extended it at the last minute, by one month, but not this time.
State House Representative Anna Eskamani on Tuesday sent a letter to the governor’s office, asking him to extend the state’s eviction moratorium until at least the end of the year. Although legal experts believe the federal moratorium would supersede Florida’s, Eskamani pointed out that the CDC’s moratorium is already being challenged in the courts.
“The Federal Government made a bold step in housing security recently in halting evictions through a national moratorium. However, legal challenges could lead to an abrupt end to these federal protections,” Eskamani wrote in the letter.
She wrote that an extension of the state’s moratorium would provide an added layer of protection to tenants adversely impacted by COVID-19 in the case that federal protections disappear.
Molly Duerig is a Report for America corps member who is covering affordable housing for Spectrum News 13. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.