9 Investigates

Gov. DeSantis extends mortgage foreclosure and eviction relief in Florida

Gov. DeSantis extends mortgage and eviction relief in Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. — 8:15 p.m. update

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Monday extending the mortgage foreclosure and eviction relief in Florida.

The original order had been set to expire Tuesday, but will now be extended until July 1.

Original report:

It’s the first of the month, and for many Floridians, it’s another due date for rent or mortgage that they still cannot afford due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Despite record state unemployment and ongoing glitches with Florida’s unemployment payment system, the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures in Florida expires Tuesday.

Channel 9 investigative reporter Karla Ray looked into how the process will play out in the coming weeks as families fear losing the roofs over their heads.

READ: Executive order stopping evictions during pandemic expires Tuesday

Working in the music industry and taking care of their 3-year-old son, the Long family in Orlando’s College Park neighborhood are on 11 weeks of waiting for unemployment benefits. That means Monday marks the third month of rent they’re unable to pay.

“If we had even half of that [money], we wouldn’t be in this situation right now,” Lauren Long said. “We’ve never had a problem paying our rent our whole life together, for eight years.”

On Tuesday, renters like the Longs could lose eviction protections. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures April 2, and up until Monday, he has made no mention of plans to extend the ban.

“This is clearly a situation out of so many people’s hands right now. If you could just have that human connection, for one minute, (it) would be huge from our governor,” Long said.

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Landlords are lining up. 9 Investigates searched court records, and for Orange County alone, at least 100 eviction petitions were filed since the moratorium was put in place.

“My prediction is we’re going to see a massive amount of evictions filed,” real estate attorney Barry Miller said.

Miller said once the ban is lifted, there will likely be a backlog in the court process. It will then take time for process servers and deputies to serve notices to renters that they’re being ordered out, giving tenants some additional time. But it could get ugly.

“We’ve been encouraging landlords and tenants to work things out and do an addendum to their leases,” Miller said. “Unfortunately, a lot of people haven’t been talking to each other, so I think we’re going to see an onslaught of evictions filed.”

Karla Ray

Karla Ray, WFTV.com

Karla Ray anchors Eyewitness News This Morning on Saturday and Sundays, and is an investigative reporter for the 9 Investigates unit.

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