On April 2, 2020, Governor DeSantis signed Executive Order 20-94, which placed a moratorium on residential eviction actions related to the non-payment of rent. The purpose of the moratorium was to provide targeted, temporary relief to Floridians in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, after granting several extensions, Governor DeSantis permitted Florida’s moratorium to expire at midnight on September 30, 2020.

While the expiration on Florida’s moratorium may come as a relief to landlords and a further concern to tenants, there remains a federal moratorium imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) that continues to impact Florida rental properties.

Who’s covered under the CDC Moratorium?

The CDC moratorium is effective through December 31, 2020, and prevents the eviction of tenants of residential properties, as long as certain criteria are met. Specifically, if a tenant or resident of a residential property wishes to take advantage of the moratorium, he/she must provide a declaration signed under the penalty of perjury to their landlord, which attests to the following:

  • The tenant has used best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;
  • The tenant either (i) expects to earn no more than $99,000 income for the 2020 calendar year (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return); (ii) was not required to report any income in 2019 to the IRS; or (iii) received a stimulus check under the CARES Act;
  • The tenant is unable to pay the full rent due to substantial loss of household income, loss of hours of work or wages, a lay-off, or extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
  • The tenant is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as possible, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses; and
  • Eviction would likely render the tenant homeless or force the tenant to live in close quarters or a shared living setting due to a lack of other available housing options.

Limitations on the CDC Moratorium

While the CDC moratorium prohibits a landlord from evicting a tenant who meets the necessary criteria, it does not relieve a tenant from his/her obligation to pay rent, nor does it waive a landlord’s right to assess late fees and interest, to the extent those charges are permitted under the lease terms. Further, the CDC moratorium only applies to property leased for residential purposes and does not apply to any hotel, motel, or other guest house rented to a temporary guest or seasonal tenant.

We will continue to monitor any changes to the CDC moratorium and provide any updates as they become available.

Landlords with questions or needing assistance with evictions may contact me at shannon.puopolo@henlaw.com or by phone at 239-344-1116.