Gov. DeSantis’ freeze on evictions and foreclosures last-minute reprieve for some and setback for landlords

Better Call Behnken

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Barely more than four hours before a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures was set to expire at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, Governor Ron DeSantis extended his statewide order to July 1.

The action was a relief for thousands of Floridians, many of whom are still waiting for unemployment checks and fear they will be evicted. However, the moratorium leaves some landlords uncertain how they will continue to pay their own bills.

Evictions filings have been piling up at courthouses around the Tampa Bay area and more landlords were waiting on this expiration to get their cases in the pipeline.

Lawyers, judges, clerks of court, and law enforcement have also been preparing for the expiration although not every county is interpreting the law the same way.

For example, in Hillsborough County, 180 writs of possession had already been signed by judges and have been sitting on a desk at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. If the moratorium had not been extended by the governor, those actions, the formal removal from a property, was set to be served starting Tuesday.

In addition, court records show nearly 400 new cases have been filed in Hillsborough County since Gov. DeSantis first issued a stay on evictions and foreclosures.

In comparison, there are typically 800 to 1000 cases filed in a month in Hillsborough County, according to Tom Scherberger, spokesman for the office of the Hillsborough Clerk of Circuit Court.

“We don’t know how many would have filed after the moratorium was lifted,” Scherberger said. “Some landlords may have been holding off and some people may have been able to pay rent a mortgage because of stimulus checks.”

In Pinellas County, just 15 writs of possession we’re ready to be executed by well enforcement, according to the clerk of courts office.

Unlike in Hillsborough County, the clerks office in Pinellas has been telling landlords and attorneys that writs of possession would not be accepted by the court until the moratorium was lifted by the governor. Now, those landlords will have to wait at least another month.

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