COVID Effects Upon Florida Evictions for Non-Payment of Rent.
Learn how executive and administrative orders and Federal law has altered the face of residential evictions in Florida due to non-payment of rent.
In Ordinary Times a Landlord Must Give a 3-Day Notice Before Filing SuitAs of the date of this writing on June 8, 2020, these are far from ordinary times. The Federal CARES Act, Executive Orders issued by the Governor, Florida Supreme Court Administrative Orders, and Administrative Orders entered by the Chief Judge of the Judicial Circuits, have all limited the ability of a landlord to file an eviction action to evict a tenant who has not paid rent.
Effect of Executive Order 2020-094 issued by the GovernorThis Order imposed a moratorium on the filing of a residential eviction for non-payment of rent. Initially, the moratorium was to have ended May 17, 2020, but the end date has been extended twice. The extension in effect as of June 8, 2020 will end at 12:01am on July 1, 2020.
It is entirely possible that the deadline will be extended yet again.
At this time there is a difference of opinion whether a 3-day notice from landlord to a tenant to pay rent or surrender possession of the premises can be issued. Some attorneys take the position that Executive Order 2020-094 only limits the filing of eviction law suits but does not affect when a 3-day notice can be delivered by the landlord. Others take the position that the Governor's Executive Order applies to all acts necessary to obtain an eviction.
Until the County Court judges themselves start ruling we will not know how the judges themselves feel about this question. And, the decision of one judge will not bind the ruling of another.
Taking a conservative approach of not delivering a 3-day notice until the moratorium is lifted will mean that the landlords who issue their notice beforehand will be filing their cases as soon as the moratorium is lifted. The danger they will run into is that if their case is dismissed, or they give another notice, their case may go to the end of the line.
Waiting to give the 3-day notice will mean that other evictions will be at the head of the line.
No matter what direction a landlord chooses, one thing is for sure--there will be pandemonium in the Clerks' offices as an avalanche of cases enters its offices, either electronically by computer or in-person paper filings.
When a landlord can file a case under Florida law..If a landlord is willing to take a chance and issue a 3-day notice before the moratorium is lifted, currently 12:01am on July 1, 2020, then 12:02am that day would be the first time an electronic filing could be done and whatever time the Clerk's office opens would be the first time a paper filing could be done.
If a landlord decides to take a conservative approach and wait til July 1, 2020 [if the moratorium is not again extended after the June 8, 2020 writing of this Guide] then the first day an eviction could be filed would be July 7, 2020.
Why so long?
The day of delivery of the notice is not included in the 3-days. Neither are Saturdays, Sundays and Legal Holidays. July 1, 2020 s a Wednesday. July 4, 2020 is a Friday. So, the 3rd non-weekend non-holiday day after a July 1, 2020 notice would be Monday, July 6, 2020. So, Tuesday, July 7, 2020 would be the first day that a law suit could be filed.
Federal Law changes the times discussed above.The Federal CARES Act supersedes state law as to evictions from properties which enjoy Federal financial support.
If the property being rented has a mortgage that is backed, guaranteed, insured or supplemented, such as the FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Veterans Administration, the Department of Agriculture, or the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a landlord can not take any action AT ALL until after July 25, 2020. And that means NO notice to the tenant until after July 25, 2020.
The same restriction applies to properties where landlords receive vouchers or other financial payments from the Federal Government--Section 8 housing, Rural housing, BMIR, Farm Labor, housing for the elderly, housing for the disabled are some, and there are others.
Finally, even the notice to be given to the tenant in one of those properties is different. Under Florida law it would be 3-days. The Federal CARES Act requires that the notice gives tenants THIRTY  DAYS to pay the rent.
No Definitive Legal PrecedentPlease understand that the impact of COVID-19 puts us all in uncharted waters. The suspension of laws and creation of new ones makes landlord-tenant evictions a very fluid situation. Orders are extended just hours before they were to expire.
Florida Residential Evictions Are Permitted for Reasons Not Relating to RentSubject to the limitations of the CARES Act, Florida landlords whose properties do not involve Federal funding, guaranties or benefits CAN file evictions for reasons other than non-payment of rent.
For example, if the term of a lease has ended and it was not renewed an eviction can be filed right away simply because the lease ended.
Another example--if a landlord has given a 7-day cure notice for violation of a written lease provision and the tenant does not timely cure the breach an eviction can be filed.