Florida Moratorium on Foreclosures and Evictions
COVID-19 Economic Fallout
On April 3, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida Governor Ron Desantis signed Executive Order 20-94 which halted all Foreclosure Actions and Residential Tenant Eviction Actions for Non-Payment of Rent for 45 days.
Executive Order 20-94 ensured that all lenders holding mortgages secured by Florida properties were prohibited from continuing its Foreclosure action in Florida Courts for the 45 day period.
Additional protection to homeowners is being provided for in Palm Beach County Courts. Pursuant to 15th Judicial Circuit Administrative Order No. 12.510-4/2020.8, all foreclosure sales scheduled for any time up to and including May 29, 2020 are cancelled.
At the end of the moratorium, many legal experts (including myself) predict that we will encounter a new wave of foreclosure lawsuits. Our best advice to protect against a foreclosure is for a homeowner to first contact their lender and try to seek a Forbearance Agreement. A Forbearance Agreement temporarily modifies terms of an existing mortgage in exchange for reduced or deferred payments. An example of a forbearance is when a lender allows a homeowner to place any outstanding payments at the end of their loan in a lump sum payment.
As we have discussed in previous posts, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy may be another solution for homeowners facing foreclosure. In Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, a homeowner has the ability to “spread” past due mortgage payments over the duration of the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan (i.e., a 3 to 5 year period). However, the important caveat is that the homeowner must also pay their monthly mortgage payment as a portion of the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan Payment.
Executive Order 20-94 also placed a 45 day moratorium on residential eviction actions for non-payment of rent. This particular section of Executive Order 20-94 could potentially also trigger foreclosure actions from the landlord’s lender especially if the landlord is a novice real estate investor or has lost his or her employment.
Additional protection to tenants is being provided for in Palm Beach County Courts. Pursuant to 15th Judicial Circuit Administrative Order No. 12.510-4/2020.8, all writs of possession (including commercial tenants) are prohibited from being issued until May 30, 2020.
If you are a residential tenant facing eviction after the expiration of the moratorium, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy may also be an option for you to stay in your residence. In Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, similar to a mortgage payment, a tenant can pay its past due rent over a 3 to 5 year period in its Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan.
For any questions about foreclosure or bankruptcy, please contact the experienced bankruptcy attorneys at The Wallace Law Group with a convenient office location in Boynton Beach representing clients in Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Greenacres, Wellington, Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Parkland, Hollywood, Weston, Aventura, Miami, Miami Beach.