Disclaimer: The following information is being provided as a courtesy to AAGO members. It is important to discuss all legal matters with your management team, counsel and landlord/tenant attorney. Additionally, the following references the statewide eviction moratorium only. Keep in mind other local requirements may be in effect as well as requirements at the federal level.
On April 2nd, 2020 Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-94 . The (moratorium) order suspends the eviction and foreclosure process for a period of 45 days for non-payment of rent (or mortgage). The order specifies that this suspension does not forgive a resident or home owners financial obligations to make rent or mortgage payments.
Three Day Notices - Caution Advised
We are now through the first full rent week since "Shelter in Place" and "Stay at Home" orders have gone into effect, and property managers will be evaluating how to best manage delinquent rent payments. In light of the Governor's Executive Order (20-94) there is concern that serving three day notices might yield greater risks (liability) than reward. It is important to note that, in any case, the three day notice will not be legally enforceable while Executive Order 20-94 is in effect.
There are varying opinions on which, if any, notices should be sent to residents that have fallen behind on rent payments while under the 45 day moratorium. Our understanding is that some communities and management companies are either making personal phone calls to residents and/or sending a "softer" reminder letter. A phone call is a great opportunity to engage with the resident, discuss options your company may have available for them, and demonstrates great customer service.
Consider also that a great deal of media attention and regulatory scrutiny is focused on housing providers at the moment. Be careful to avoid written (or spoken) communication or notices that could place your community or company in a negative light.
Lastly, remember that these are unprecedented times and there is no pre-existing playbook for it. There will be varying legal opinions, strategies, and interpretations. As always, only make all operational and legal changes or considerations after consulting with your company and legal counsel. Many thanks to Harry Heist with the Law Offices of Heist, Weisse, and Wolk, P.A for lending his expertise on this issue to us! Harry has also provided a short video about this issue which you can review by clicking the link below.
Thank you to Harry Heist & The Law Offices of Heist, Weisse and Wolk PA!