The Florida Mortgage and Eviction Moratorium: Clarification for Community Associations
On April 2, 2020, Governor Ron Desantis issued Executive Order 20-94 which temporarily suspended all mortgage foreclosure and residential eviction “cause[s] of action” for 45 days.
The Order was subsequently extended four times, most recently pursuant to Executive Order 20-180 (“EO 20-180”), which was issued on July 29, 2020 and extended the moratorium until midnight on September 1, 2020. At the outset, EO 20-94 left many associations and members of the legal profession wondering whether the moratorium suspended condominium and homeowner association lien foreclosures and, if so, whether it stayed the issuance of final judgments only or halted the proceedings entirely regardless of what stage in the litigation they were at.
Fortunately for community associations, EO 20-180 clarifies that the moratorium applies to “final action at the conclusion of a mortgage foreclosure proceeding under Florida law solely when the proceeding arises from non-payment of mortgage by a single-family mortgagor adversely affected by the COVID-19 emergency” and “final action at the conclusion of an eviction proceeding under Florida law solely when the proceeding arises from non-payment of rent by a residential tenant adversely affected by the COVID-19 emergency.”
The Order goes on to define “affected by the COVID-19 emergency” to mean the loss of employment, reduced income, or other monetary loss directly related to the COVID-19 State of Emergency.
EO 20-180 clarifies that the suspension does not apply to community association lien foreclosures and further suggests that mortgage foreclosure proceedings arising from a borrower’s failure to pay for reasons unrelated to COVID-19 may similarly proceed. However, the Order is still subject to judicial interpretation which may result in some Judges taking a different approach than the one outlined herein.
The attorneys at Haber Law are continuing to monitor the status of the foreclosure and eviction moratorium as it continues to develop. Importantly, Governor DeSantis will have to decide in the next few days whether to issue another extension or let the moratorium expire completely. If you are unsure as to whether your association can proceed with foreclosures and evictions, the experienced attorneys at Haber Law can help you. Stay safe everyone.
About the Author: Kristen E. Ferrer’s practice focuses on representation of community associations, real estate law, and commercial litigation. She is also experienced in dissolution of marriage and child custody matters and has represented clients in probate proceedings, contract disputes, asset and stock purchase transactions, and corporate formation.