On April 2, 2020, Governor DeSantis signed an Executive Order 20-94, which suspended residential evictions for 45 days, due to the Covid-19 outbreak. In addition, on April 6, 2020, the Honorable Lisa Davidson, Chief Judge of the 18th Circuit, encompassing Brevard and Seminole County, Florida, signed Administrative Order No. 20-15 2nd Amended, which implemented a moratorium on evictions until May 29, 2020. For Landlords, this means that evictions cannot be processed further by the Clerk or served by the Sheriff until the Executive Order expires and the moratorium is lifted. Other Circuit Courts may have similar or different Administrative Orders.
Landlords should note, however, that Tenants are still contractually obligated to pay their rent and other lease charges, including any back rent they owe. I encourage Landlords to do what they can to work with their Tenants to resolve any disputes. Should a Landlord enter into negotiations with a Tenant to modify rent payments or payment of back rent, I strongly recommend that any payment arrangements be in writing. We can assist you in drafting forbearance agreements which typically include language as to: (a) number of months rent that need not be paid; (b) how the months not paid are to be paid back; (c) whether the Tenant continues to pay common area charges in a commercial lease, even if it is not paying rent. Additionally, Landlords should keep detailed records of all payments made by Tenant as well as any past rent that is due. This will allow you to keep proper accounting in the event you file for eviction after the Executive Order expires and the moratorium is lifted.
Should you have any questions or need assistance with any of your property matters, please contact our office at 321-639-1320 for additional information.