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Florida Moratorium Extended - What it Means and What Options you have.

Governor DeSantis’ moratorium on foreclosures and evictions initially implemented this past April was extended to October 1, 2020. The moratorium protects people who cannot pay their mortgage or rent.

Hundreds of thousands of Floridians are looking for financial assistance and are unemployed due to COVID-19. Housing reform advocates have been seeking an extension of the moratorium as well as proposed long-term solutions to protect Floridians from being evicted or losing their homes.

You want to be proactive with your lender or landlord so that you are not depending on the moratorium.

Although the moratorium is extended until October 1, 2020, in the event you are served with a foreclosure complaint, you have rights. From the date you are served with the summons and complaint, you have 20 days to file a responsive pleading. The Law Office of Eleni Noble Zarbalas, PA can assist you in being proactive with your lender and represent you in the event of a foreclosure lawsuit.  

The pertinent sections of the Executive Order and Cares Act Synopsis is provided below for ease of reference:

EXECUTIVE ORDER - Florida Residential Foreclosures & Residential Evictions:  Governor DeSantis issued Executive Orders, consistent with the CARES Act, which initially extended the foreclosure moratorium to ALL foreclosures and tolled residential evictions.  The Executive Orders now limit the moratorium to “final action” in residential evictions for non-payment of rent or mortgage foreclosures for failure to make mortgage payments only.  Further, the Executive Orders require that the failure to pay must relate to the COVID-19 emergency meaning “loss of employment, diminished wages or business income, or other monetary loss” impacting the ability to make rent or mortgage payments. The Executive Orders do not waive the borrower’s or tenant’s obligation to make scheduled payments. 

Evictions of non-residential or commercial tenants are not prohibited.  Many Florida judicial circuits have also entered administrative orders which limit or prohibit foreclosure and eviction actions at this time.

CARES ACT – Moratorium on foreclosures and related evictions on federally backed residential mortgages: On March 27, 2020, Congress enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act of 2020 (“CARES Act”), which provides for financial relief due to the COVID-19 Virus Pandemic.  Section 4022 provides a moratorium on residential foreclosures for borrowers with federally backed 1-4 family mortgage loans and addresses the right of a homeowner to request a forbearance from payment on these loans.  The requirements only apply to federally backed mortgages which are loans insured or guaranteed by FHA, VA, USDA or loans that are owned or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  The moratorium does not apply to vacant or abandoned property or private bank loans.  Under the Act, no mortgage servicer of any federally backed 1-4 family mortgage loan is permitted to do the following beginning March 18, 2020 and now further extended until December 31, 2020:

a)            Initiate any judicial or non-judicial foreclosure process; b)            File a motion for foreclosure judgment or order of sale; or c)            Execute a foreclosure-related eviction or foreclosure sale.

Section 4022 also allows a borrower on a federally backed 1-4 family mortgage loan to request a forbearance from payment up to 180 days with the right to request an additional 180-day extension.  Section 4023 allows a borrower on certain federally backed multi-family mortgages to request forbearance for up to 30 days with two 30-day extensions.  During the term of forbearance, a tenant cannot be evicted or charged late fees. Section 4024 establishes a temporary moratorium on eviction filings for certain single and multi-family housing.  During the above referenced period beginning on March 27, 2020, a lessor cannot initiate an eviction for nonpayment of rent.  After the moratorium period, the landlord may not evict a tenant unless a 30-day notice is provided to the tenant.

If you are facing foreclosure or are concerned that you might not be able to make your home mortgage payments in the near future, contact your Florida Real Estate Lawyer Eleni Noble Zarbalas for a free 30 min. consultations to look at different options. Call or email us today!

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