Florida evictions moratorium ends; long-term extensions weighed heavily on landlords

Published: October 1, 2020 6:19 PM EDT
Updated: October 2, 2020 1:20 PM EDT

Time is up for people who haven’t paid their rent or made their mortgage payment. The moratorium on evictions and foreclosures in Florida ended, and Gov. Ron DeSantis said he is not extending it.

The moratorium has been helpful for some and weighs heavily on others. We spoke to a landlord who has been stuck paying bills that aren’t his.

The pandemic has put landlord Kris Pawelczyk in a tough spot.

“As a landlord, you’re a business owner,” Pawelczyk said. “The business is a property. And if the business is shut down, they’re not giving me a pass. The banks aren’t giving me a pass.”

That’s why many landlords across Southwest Florida support Gov. Ron DeSantis’ move to lift the moratorium on evictions.

For months, Pawelczyk could not do anything about those who were not paying rent.

“I am paying all of these other people’s bills, and I couldn’t have paid mine,” Pawelczyk said. “That really affects the outcome of those properties. I could’ve lost all of them or some of them.”

But a good number of those people couldn’t pay because of the pandemic. They lost their jobs or took pay cuts and couldn’t keep up with their bills.

The only hope for those folks now is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“If the tenant is still suffering financial burdens from the problem, COVID-related problems, they still can halt evictions,” attorney Charles Cartwright said.

The CDC issued its own seven-step, COVID-19-related moratorium. Among requirements to meet criteria is applicants make less than $99,000 a year and are making an effort to pay. The CDC order offers protection from eviction until Dec. 31.

“There are penalties in place if the landlord wrongfully moves forward,” Cartwright said.