Governor DeSantis again “extended” the Mortgage and Eviction Moratorium. It was due to expire at 12:01 am on September 1, 2020. It has been extended until October 1, 2020.
However, you may recall from a prior post that the prior “extension” came with significant limitations on the protections of the Moratorium.
First, the Moratorium only applies to homeowners and tenants who failed to make payments on their residences. The Moratorium does not protect homeowners and tenants who are in breach for non-monetary reasons. For instance, a homeowner’s failure to maintain insurance and a tenant subletting the property without permission.
Second, the Moratorium protection is limited to homeowners and tenants adversely affected by COVID-19. The failure to make payments must be related to a COVID-19 loss of income. And, the Moratorium protection can be lost when the COVID-19 loss of income ends!
Third, the Moratorium only prevents “Final Action” in mortgage foreclosure and eviction lawsuits. “Final Action” is not a legal term. As such, it is not clear what constitutes “Final Action” in a mortgage foreclosure and eviction lawsuits. But we do know that the Moratorium does not stop such mortgage foreclosure and eviction lawsuits from being filed or going forward in Court. As such, homeowners and tenants must defend mortgage foreclosure and eviction lawsuits during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Mortgage foreclosure lawsuits have been filed in both Martin County and St. Lucie County since August 1, 2020. In addition, some lawsuits filed prior to the initial Moratorium in both counties have resumed. However, it does not appear that a final judgment has been entered any such cases.
Eviction lawsuits also have been filed in both Martin County and St. Lucie County since the Moratorium was altered in August. While eviction lawsuits have been filed and are going forward in Martin County, no final judgments or writs of possession have been issued.
The same cannot be said in St. Lucie County. There are at least two eviction lawsuits which have been concluded with a final judgment and writ of possession in St. Lucie County. The Court in these cases may have interpreted “Final Action” in an eviction lawsuit to be enforcing the writ of possession. Or the Court may have concluded that the tenant was not impacted by COVID-19; and, therefore, not protected under the Eviction Moratorium. It’s not clear what happens next in these two cases. Do the Plaintiffs seek to enforce the writs of possession now or wait until October 1st when the Moratorium expires?