On July 29, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-180, which addresses the ongoing moratorium on foreclosures and evictions in Florida. In this latest order the Governor provided some clarification on the ongoing moratorium in Florida. More specifically, the moratorium now applies only to foreclosures that are a result of nonpayment by a borrower that is adversely affected by the COVID-19 emergency. If the moratorium does apply, we are prevented from proceeding to the final action in the foreclosure which is the foreclosure sale. Unless extended by a later order, this moratorium expires on September 1, 2020. The order defines “Adversely Affected” as a loss of employment, diminished wages or business income, or other monetary loss realized during the Florida State of Emergency directly impacting the borrower’s ability to make the mortgage payments.
Based on this latest order, our interpretation is that a commercial foreclosure may proceed as normal. In addition, any foreclosure pending where the default is unrelated to COVID-19 may also proceed as normal. In cases where the borrower has been adversely affected by COVID-19, we can still file the foreclosure and proceed with the foreclosure, we just cannot hold a foreclosure sale until the moratorium expires. Ultimately, the Governor’s latest order is open to interpretation by the Courts and may result in some Judges taking a different approach then the ones we have outlined.
Please keep in mind that this does not apply to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac foreclosures, unless you have confirmed that the property is vacant or abandoned. The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac moratorium is scheduled to expire on August 31, 2020.
This latest order also addresses evictions by suspending the final action at the conclusion of an eviction proceeding when the eviction arises from non-payment of rent by a residential tenant adversely affected by COVID-19. The same definition applies for “Adversely Affected”. For purposes of “Final Action” this is likely the issuance and service of the Writ of Possession. This moratorium is also set to expire on September 1, 2020, unless extended by further order.
If further executive orders are issued or further guidance is provided by the Courts or Executive Branch related to this order, we will reevaluate and provide further insight and guidance.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this Order or any other matters related to COVID-19, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of the attorneys at the Sorenson Van Leuven Law Firm.