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Florida allows eviction moratorium to expire

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will allow the state’s ban on residential foreclosures and evictions to expire Oct. 1.

DeSantis announced the ban, which only applied to the final action of foreclosures and evictions, would not be renewed, citing the Centers for Disease Control’s mandated federal eviction ban. The CDC’s order is in effect through the end of December, and prevents tenants from being evicted if they submit a valid declaration to their landlords regarding their inability to pay rent.

Florida’s ban applied only to homeowners and renters who were not able to pay their mortgages or rent because of the pandemic.

DeSantis’ decision not to extend the ban comes less than a week after moving the state into phase three of reopening, allowing all businesses in Florida to operate at varying capacities. The governor issued piecemeal extensions of the foreclosures and evictions moratorium for months, only recently limiting the emergency legislation to the final stage of such actions.

Hundreds of eviction and foreclosure cases have been filed in South Florida, and once the stay is eventually lifted, experts expect judges will be overwhelmed with cases.

Landlords and tenants in Florida have relied on statewide decisions made by the governor for guidance, as confusion about which evictions are allowed and which are not has mounted, especially in South Florida.

On Sept. 17, the Miami-Dade Police Department announced that pre-pandemic evictions could resume. But by the end of the day, county Mayor Carlos Gimenez had reversed that decision.

Attorney David Winker said that letting the ban expire “could mean nothing or it could mean everything.”

“If I don’t go to my cardiologist, and if I don’t take my blood pressure medicine, I’m going to show up to the emergency room in full cardiac arrest,” he said, referring to the lack of financial relief for landlords and tenants. “This is what’s happening. You basically have these poor judges who are stuck sorting out the mess.”

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