From April 2, 2020 through July 31, 2020, evictions for non-payment of rent were suspended by Governor DeSantis. This broad moratorium of all non-payment of rent evictions has now expired.
On July 30, 2020, the Governor issued a new executive order (20-180) which suspended “final action” in certain non-payment eviction cases through September 1, 2020. This statewide moratorium only applies to non-payment evictions where the non-payment is a result of COVID-19 loss of employment, loss of hours or income due to COVID-19, or other monetary loss due to COVID-19.
Otherwise, landlords are now allowed to file evictions and proceed with the case. It is unclear what “final action” is prohibited by the moratorium. Legal Services believes this means that the judge should not enter an eviction judgment (eviction order) against a tenant impacted by the COVID-19 emergency. While some landlords believe that a judge can enter the eviction order and the landlord is only prohibited from having the police remove the tenant.
Tenants will not automatically receive protection from the moratorium. Tenants will need to explain in their responses how they are still adversely affected by the COVID-19 emergency and provide as much documentation as possible. If a tenant is covered by the moratorium, they should not be required to deposit any rent with the court.
It is important to note the moratorium does not relieve tenants from the past due rent, and they will still owe any missing rent for April, May, June, July, and August, but the rent is not due until the tenant is no longer adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
This order will likely not stop a tsunami of evictions from being filed statewide.
According to the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel, more than a million Floridians are behind in their rent. Based on this data, it expects to see approximately 750,000 evictions filed in Florida over the next four months.
According to the housing pulse survey- conducted by the Census Bureau- more than 40% of Miami-Dade residents were either not able to pay their rent last month or don’t expect to be able to pay this coming month.
Legal Services has nine attorneys working to defend as many tenants as possible during this crisis. We have also developed pro se eviction defense materials that will assist tenants in defending their own eviction. We are also working to amass a network of pro bono attorneys willing to help.
Are you interested in joining the pro bono effort?
For more information on how to become a pro bono volunteer, please contact Pro Bono Advocacy Director Jayme Cassidy at firstname.lastname@example.org.