Hours before the expiration of a state-ordered freeze on residential evictions and foreclosures, Gov. Ron DeSantis again extended the moratorium to Aug. 1.
Though it’s called the “Limited extension of mortgage foreclosure and eviction relief” order, it does not provide financial relief to homeowners and renters. The order gives homeowners and renters more time in their homes if they can’t make their mortgage or rent payments due to the pandemic. It already had been extended twice since it was first issued in early April.
DeSantis’ extension was filed after 8 p.m. Tuesday, less than four hours before the ban was to be lifted.
Attorney Sebastian Jaramillo, a partner with Miami-based Wolfe Pincavage law firm, was preparing to serve hundreds of eviction notices Wednesday, calling the “eleventh hour” extension “frustrating for landlords.”
“Honestly, we were all pretty confident it was going to move forward because it’s been a few months and the backlog is immense right now,” Jaramillo said.
Counties throughout Florida have been interpreting the order differently, creating more confusion for landlords and tenants, lawyers say. Some landlords have been filing their cases in the hopes of being first once the stay is lifted.
New unemployment filings in Florida have begun to level off, but many tenants, especially in low-income housing, have been unable to pay their rent. Since the pandemic began in mid-March, 2.73 million unemployment claims have been filed statewide, the majority of which have come from South Florida and the Orlando area, according to the state’s unemployment dashboard.
The governor vetoed $1 billion in spending from the state’s budget on Monday, which included a $225 million cut to funding for affordable housing, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. But last week, DeSantis announced that the state will tap $250 million in CARES Act funding for rental and mortgage assistance due to Covid-19.
Florida Housing Finance Corp. will administer a $120 million funding pool of the $250 million in the form of short-term rental assistance for Covid-19 impacted households who live in affordable housing rentals in FHFC’s portfolio. A separate $120 million fund will be administered for rental and homeowner assistance programs.