Because of COVID-19, state courts have been told that eviction of tenants, based on the non-payment of rent, have been suspended. Back in April 2020, when Corona Virus was shutting down many facets of everyday life, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-94 which imposed a moratorium on all evictions based on the non-payment of rent. The full executive order can be found here. In essence, the eviction moratorium is the proverbial “pause button” for removing a tenant based on their failure to pay rent. The April 2, 2020 executive order paused evictions for 45 days, or until May 17, 2020. However, Governor DeSantis extended this pause button until June 2, 2020 at a news conference he held on May 14, 2020, two days ago on June 2nd he again extended the moratorium to July 1st.
So, what does this mean for tenants? In short, it means that a landlord cannot evict you for failing to pay your rent. Further, it means that the landlord cannot add late fees, interest, or anything else that might be hiding in your lease. But what it does not mean is you can ignore paying your rent. After the play button is pushed on July 1, 2020, your landlord can come knocking on your door asking for your rent – all of it. Under the State moratorium, if rent is not paid when due, all a landlord has to do is give a 3-day notice to pay the back rent or give up possession of the property.
For landlords, this pause button means you could be going without rental income for the months of April, May, and June 2020. You will have to wait until July 1, 2020 before thinking about filing for eviction based on the non-payment of rent. This does not mean the tenant is allowed to skip paying rent for April, May, and June it means that you cannot evict them for not paying rent until July 1, 2020.
Something for everyone to keep in mind is that the pause button only applies to the non-payment of rent. In theory, then, a landlord can file for eviction if a tenant did not move out at the end of their lease or any other reason allowed under Florida Law.
If you are a landlord or a tenant faced with the potential of an eviction lawsuit, contact the attorneys at your Legal Team For Life. We have spent countless hours reviewing Governor DeSantis’ Executive Orders, the Federal CARES Act, and have over 45 years’ experience serving our neighbors in the community.