Gov. DeSantis extends order preventing foreclosures, evictions as tenants struggle to make rent

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Thursday that he has extended an executive order intended to prevent foreclosures and evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The executive order, which was issued on April 2 to help provide relief for those struggling financially during the pandemic, was set to expire on May 17. The governor announced during a news conference the extension would last until June 2.

All court proceedings will be suspended against those who fail to pay rent or mortgages during the crisis. The order was designed to suspends evictions because of nonpayment of rent for 45 days.

Read: Orlando residents receive eviction notices after DeSantis issues order to temporarily stop them

DeSantis said on Wednesday that he’ll have an official announcement on the extension “pretty soon.”

Roughly 36 million people across the country have filed for jobless aid in the two months since the coronavirus first forced millions of businesses to close their doors and shrink staff, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Kristin Burarzzuk has been able to get back to work in Florida salons, but it’s part time due to distancing restrictions. Her main source of income has been child support.

So DeSantis’ decision came as welcome news amid all the bad news she’s gotten from the state. She’s already two months behind on all of her bills, and owes half of April’s rent and all of May’s.

“I have eight weeks of processing and haven’t heard one thing, not one payment, not heard from anybody,” Burarzzuk said.

State Rep. Carlos Guillermo-Smith said he isn’t surprised by the governor’s decision.

“You have hundreds of thousands of Floridians who haven’t received a penny from the state in unemployment benefits who need that money to pay their rent or to pay their mortgage,” he said.

For some landlords like retiree Chris Wilson, it’s not the mortgage they’re worried about.

He owns the two houses he rents out, but says that’s his only source of income.

“A lot of people think that [the] landlord owns his house or whatever, but they don’t take into consideration the insurance, the mortgage, the taxes, the upkeep,” he said.

“I’m already up to about $900 in late fees that are due, so it’s almost equivalent to the amount of my rental,” Burarzzuk said.

Suspending foreclosure proceedings doesn’t mean a landlord won’t get hit with penalties for not paying, and they could be forced to sell the house from under their tenants, even if they couldn’t be evicted.

See more in our in-depth coverage below:

Christopher Boyce, WFTV.com

Christopher Boyce joined WFTV in January of 2019.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.

Comments on this article