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Florida governor’s order on evictions, foreclosures extended to July 1

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis late Monday extended until July 1 an executive order that seeks to help prevent foreclosures and evictions amid job losses and financial problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

DeSantis made the announcement just hours before an earlier extension was scheduled to expire.

DeSantis initially issued an order April 2 that offered protections for people facing foreclosures or evictions.

He issued an extension May 14 that was scheduled to expire Tuesday.

The Florida Apartment Association reports the number of people paying rent dropped by nearly 10% from the end of April to the first week of May.

“So at the end of April, for conventional apartment units in Florida, we show a 93% collection rate. As of May 6, we had 84.1% of conventional apartment units (that) had paid their rent,” said Amanda Gill, with Florida Apartment Association.

Gill said owners and managers are working with tenants.

“Some of my communities are providing payment plans. Some are offering rent deferment,” Gill said.

Property Manager Kent Strauss said he is worried that the extension of the eviction moratorium will send the wrong message.

“Because there is a differentiation between those that lost their jobs and their incomes to the ones who are still working and are sort of playing the landlord game,” Strauss said.

Senate Minority Leader Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, had urged the governor to extend the eviction moratorium.

“People need to be in a safe place to live and not end up homeless,” Gibson said.

Strauss’ company manages about 500 properties for just under 200 owners. He said only about 30 renters aren’t living up to their responsibilities.

But as more people are going back to work, Strauss said more people appear are coming forward with at least partial payments as a sign of good faith.

A full picture of rent payments should be available in about a week to ten days.

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