So is there an eviction moratorium in Florida? And if so, can it help me from being evicted?
You may have heard that Governor DeSantis allowed the Florida Eviction Moratorium to expire as of October 1, 2020. But don’t panic just yet! There is still an eviction moratorium for residential tenancies per the Order under Section 361 of the Public Health Services Act issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC order however, is not automatic. So how do you get protection from being evicted if you have been effected by Covid-19?
First, if you are the tenant of a residential property who is facing eviction, you can invoke the protections of the CDC order by completing a Declaration Form and giving it to your landlord. This Declaration Form must be signed under penalty of perjury. Once the Declaration form is completed, and delivered to your landlord, you will have invoked the protections of the CDC order on Eviction Moratoriums. The CDC recommends that all adults who are listed on the lease or rental agreement should complete and deliver the Declaration Form to your landlord to ensure adequate protection.
What do I have to declare to be protected? The full declaration form can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/declaration-form.pdf.
In short, you are swearing that you
- Have tried to access all available government housing assistance, and
- You are unable to make the full rent payment due to substantial loss of household income or have extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses, and
- You are using best efforts to make timely partial payments as close to the full payment as “individuals circumstances may permit, taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses,” and
- Eviction would likely render you homeless or to live in close quarters in a shared living situation because you have no other available housing options.
Who is eligible? Residential renters are eligible for protection if you fall under one of the following income restrictions:
- Individuals earning no more than $99,000 in annual income for 2020, or
- Joint tax filers earning no more than $198,000 in annual income for 2020, or
- Anyone not required to report any income in 2019 to the IRS, or
- Anyone who received an Economic Stimulus Payment under the CARES act.
What’s the bottom line? The order is left open to interpretation by every Court and Judge who has to interpret it. However, to get started, if you are facing an eviction because you are not able to pay the rent for you home or apartment, then download and complete the Declaration Form and deliver it to your landlord. This declaration is supposed to prevent you from being evicted through December 31, 2020, unless that date is extended. It is unclear whether if a lawsuit is filed, the Landlord would be able to do discovery, such as a deposition or discovery of your finance and banking records to prove the assertions sworn to in the Declaration. However, be prepared to prove that you do not have adequate funds to pay the rent in full. Additionally, paying partial payments will show that you are complying with the CDC order to pay as much as possible if you cannot pay the full rent due.
Finally, it is important to note that you can still be evicted for other reasons aside from non-payment of rent. And of course, this CDC order does not relieve you of your financial obligations under your lease or housing agreement- you will still be responsible for payment of those funds in the future.
The information presented in this blog is intended for informational purposes only. This information should not be used as legal advice applicable to a specific situation. In addition, our provision of this information to an individual in no way constitutes an attorney-client relationship.