Executive Order Number 20-94 issued by Governor DeSantis tolls and suspends any statute providing for:
(1) mortgage foreclosure cause of action under Florida law for 45 days from the date of the Executive Order, including any extensions;
(2) an eviction cause of action under Florida law solely as it relates to non-payment of rent by residential tenants due to the COVID-19 emergency for 45 days from the date of this Executive Order, including any extensions.
The Order goes on to clarify that NOTHING in this Executive Order shall be construed as relieving an individual from their obligation to make mortgage payments or rent payments.
What this Means:
The Executive Order does not differentiate between residential or commercial foreclosures. For this reason, it is proper to presume that the Order is all encompassing and includes the tolling and suspension of both residential and commercial foreclosures.
The Executive Order does specifically suspend and toll residential evictions for nonpayment of rent exclusively. The Executive Order does not toll or suspend residential evictions for any other reason. The Executive Order also does not suspend commercial evictions.
Tenants are still liable and responsible for paying their rent. Nothing in the Order eliminates that obligation. All Florida courts seem to be enforcing and complying with this Order.
How this Affects Landlords, Property Owners and Mobile Home Park Owners:
Many Community Owners are reporting a decline in rent collections. Some Tenants have lost their jobs, and others have had their wages reduced. Other Tenants seem to be taking advantage of Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order suspending residential evictions for non-payment of rent.
This Executive Order eliminates Landlords short term leverage in dealing with non-paying Tenants. However, Tenants are still contractually obligated to pay their rent and failing to pay same will, ultimately, still result in a judgment for possession and money damages, collections, and possibly negative credit reports for failing to do so as well as an inability for Tenants to re-rent elsewhere as a result. In other words, Landlords still have their long-term leverage to entice Tenants to pay as their contractual obligation to pay rent will not go away.
In the meantime, Community Owners can make the best of a difficult situation by intervening early. As soon as the Rent is late, make contact with your Tenants and be proactive. The Community Owner should advise the Tenant that their Rent is still due and encourage them to make payments, because if they don’t, or cannot catch up, they will be evicted and possibly lose their home (in the case of an Eviction falling under Chapter 723 Florida Statute).
Mantoni Legal has very effective Forbearance Agreements stipulating to a payment plan for those typically good Tenants who are suffering the consequences of COVID-19. These Agreements do not forgive the Rent, but put the Tenants on a payment plan that the Tenant can afford and also keeps money coming in for the Landlord. Courts routinely enforce these Agreements.
Another benefit of these Agreements is that they can often include the attorney’s fees and costs that the Landlord has incurred as a result of the delinquency.
Landlords should contact Mantoni Legal to discuss their options.
Contact Mantoni Legal:
1777 Tamiami Trail, Ste 409
Port Charlotte, FL 33948
*Located In the BMO Harris Bank Bldg