Florida Eviction Process During Coronavirus
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Florida and other states implemented a temporary moratorium (what is a moratorium?) on evictions in the hope that we could avoid a wave of sudden instability due to people’s being temporarily unable to make housing payments.
Florida Eviction Process
The Florida eviction process is the real estate ecosystem’s way of excreting waste; if we cut off its ability to do this, it’s not unlike causing the patient severe constipation in an effort to prevent.
When tenants don’t pay their rent as agreed, landlords must have a legal remedy to dislodge them from their property and get on with renting to a more viable tenant. Placing a moratorium on this process, because of these effects, must therefore be temporary.
Florida VS Federal Eviction Moratorium
Florida’s moratorium expired on October 1, 2020, leaving the state providing fewer protections to tenants than the CDC’s federal-level moratorium that has been extended to end January 31, 2021.
Under this federal moratorium, states that provide fewer protections than the federal order must adhere to its requirements; however, in Florida this has often meant a non-paying tenant must represent under legal penalty that their non-payment is directly a result of Covid-19. This has allowed the system to continue to operate, albeit slowly.
Eviction processes were backed up in most major Florida markets during the fall of 2020, but have begun to clear out; however, eviction is typically a last resort, undertaken after other options have been exhausted. There are a host of programs promulgated since the pandemic that provide rent assistance to tenants and landlords that are worth some familiarity.
At the end of the day, the process for eviction in Florida is straightforward and useful, and to that extent has not changed much in the era of the pandemic; it is just easier for a delinquent tenant to buy time now. It is also easier for landlords who are owed to receive compensation via rent assistance programs put in place for this purpose.
The Florida eviction process is alive and well, and is operating in most major markets at a slightly slower pace, but the backlogs have largely been chewed through at this point. The process is the same 5 steps (notice, summons, response, hearing, decision) as it has been, but there is a bit more time lag between those steps at present; however, rent abatement programs exist as well, and they should be tapped to the extent possible.