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COVID-19 Information for Florida

The purpose of this page is to provide apartment industry professionals with an overview of the issues affecting our industry with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. The page is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute, and should not be construed as, legal advice. This resource is not intended to provide a mandatory standard of care for the industry.

State and Local Affiliates

Please remember to use your state or local apartment association as the primary resource for the most up-to-date information on your responsibilities. Find your local affiliate.

We highly suggest you contact a local attorney before you decide to initiate an eviction action against a resident in the current environment as overlaying federal, state and county laws or restrictions on the judicial process may apply. This includes: issuing a notice to vacate, initiating any eviction-related action, or assessing fees or penalties on residents for nonpayment of rent or other lease violations. In addition to the below, you can access NAA's statutory information on late fees, eviction laws and other policy issues.

Reopening Order

All of Florida, including previously excluded Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties, is in Phase 2 of reopening. Phase 2 reopens commercial businesses and places limits on capacity. 

Face Mask Mandate

The Florida Department of Health issued a recommendation that individuals wears mask coverings where social distancing is not possible. No statewide mandate has been ordered. 

State of Emergency

Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency on March 7, 2020.

Eviction

Status: Evictions Can Resume (Remote)

Executive Order 20-211 (Expired)

  • Action: This extension of Executive Order 20-180, which prohibits the issuance of writs of possession for cases of nonpayment of rent where the resident has experienced a financial impact due to COVID-19, lapsed on October 1, 2020.
  • COVID-19 Related Financial Impact Requirement: Yes. “Adversely affected by the COVlD-19 emergency means loss of employment, diminished wages or business income, or other monetary loss realized during the Florida State of Emergency directly impacting the ability of a residential tenant to make rent payments.”

State Supreme Court Order (Expired)

  • Action: Suspension of non-essential proceedings, including the issuance of writs of possession.
  • Scope: All lease violations.
  • Duration: Until July 2, 2020.
  • COVID-19 Related Impact Requirement: No.
  • Residents Responsible for Rent: Yes.

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

Governor Ron DeSantis announced $250 million in CARES Act funding for rental and mortgage assistance for Florida families that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Administered by Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC), $120 million will be provided in short-term rental assistance for COVID-19 impacted households residing at multifamily rental properties in FHFC’s portfolio.

FHFC will reimburse participating properties to subsidize eligible households’ rents for each impacted month. The rental assistance will be available to help pay a household’s rent for eligible months from July through December 2020. The household may be eligible for assistance to pay rent arrearages accrued during the months of April, May and June 2020.

A separate pool of $120 million will be released to counties based on a county’s reemployment assistance rate for the determined disbursement period. These funds would be used for rental and homeowner assistance programs such as new construction, rehabilitation, mortgage buydowns, down payment and closing cost assistance, emergency repairs and homeownership counseling for individuals impacted by COVID-19. The allocation also includes $200,000 for technical assistance to local governments.

Rent Freeze

No rent freeze is in effect at the state or local level. Local rent regulation is preempted by Florida Code § 125.0103.

Price-Gouging Law

Under Florida Code, § 501.160, the charging of unconscionable prices for the rent or sale of essential commodities, including dwelling units, is prohibited during a state of emergency. In the case of housing, unconscionable pricing is deemed if the amount charged represents a gross disparity between the rent of the housing and the average rent of housing 30 days prior to the declaration of emergency. “Gross disparity” or “grossly exceeding” do not contain definitions within the existing statutory language.

Local Legal and Regulatory Information

Brevard County

Eviction 

Per Chief Judge Lisa Davidson of the 18th District, eviction and foreclosure proceedings in both Seminole and Brevard County paused through April 15.

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

To assist Brevard’s individuals and families impacted by COVID-19, United Way of Brevard is providing information and resources to those in need. The United Way and several other local foundations have launched the Brevard COVID-19 Response Fund, which was authorized $50,000 to aid in recovery efforts.

To access the fund, the 211 Helpline is available 24/7 to connect you with resources for food, mental health, legal support and more. Those in need of help can dial 2-1-1 or 321-632-6688.

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Broward County 

Eviction 

Broward Chief Circuit Judge Jack Tuter has ordered a halt to all evictions in the county as Broward continues to lead the state in positive cases of the COVID-19 virus.

“Pursuant to that Administrative Order, the Sheriff shall suspend posting and execution of any writ of possession for residential premises that have not been executed prior to the declaration of emergency and partial suspension of court operations. This mandate not only applies to the Sheriff, but to all law enforcement agencies.”

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Daytona Beach 

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

As of May 8, 2020, low- and moderate-income renters can apply to receive up to $3,000 for two months of rental payments. Maximum assistance will be capped at $1,500 per month and $3,000 total per household. The one-time assistance, which is for people not receiving government housing subsidies, does not have to be repaid.

There’s enough money available to help hundreds of Daytona Beach renters avoid eviction.

The money is being offered through a city of Daytona Beach program that has $619,500 available. The funds are coming from the city’s allocation of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) federal funds and specific CDBG coronavirus funding expected to be received later this summer.

The rental assistance payments will only be made to landlords or rental property management companies. Renters who want to take a shot at receiving the assistance will have to meet certain criteria and follow a series of steps to apply. Eligibility will be based in part on annual incomes and household size.

Eligible one-person households can have a maximum annual income of $36,350. Two-person households can earn up to $41,550 annually. Three-person households can make up to $46,750 per year.

Four-person households max out at $51,900 annually. Five-person households can bring in $56,100 per year. And six-person households can make $60,250 total.

The funds are for rental housing costs incurred on or after March 1. Applicants must not have been in delinquency status prior to March 11.

Applicants will have to provide proof of an active lease and occupy the rental property in Daytona Beach. They’ll also have to document a loss of income as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Documentation will have to reflect an active employment status as of Feb. 29. Applicants can show pay stubs, bank statements of direct deposits or letters from employers that include salary or typical wages earned in a two-week period.

Since Feb. 29, applicants will have to have experienced a reduction in work hours or a pay reduction as a direct result of the pandemic. Appointments will have to be made to submit completed applications and provide documentation. Appointments can be made by calling Central Florida Community Development Corporation at (386) 226-1216 or Mid-Florida Housing Partnership Corporation at (386) 274-4441, ext. 301 and 304.

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Flagler County

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

To assist Volusia and Flagler county residents and families who are impacted by COVID-19, United Way of Volusia and Flagler Counties launched the COVID-19 Relief Fund to aid in recovery efforts.

The organization said it is working with local partner agencies to distribute emergency funds to those in need. More information is available here or by calling 211.

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Hillsborough County 

Face Mask Mandate

On August 13, 2020, Hillsborough County extended the order requiring face coverings throughout the county in indoor and outdoor spaces. The order is in effect until the State of Local Emergency expires. 

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Lakeland 

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

On April 27, 2020, the Lakeland commissioners voted unanimously to approve a $930,310 Emergency Rent Relief Program for city residents who have experienced a loss of income due to the coronavirus. Online applications will open at 8 a.m. May 4.

To qualify, applicants must live within Lakeland’s city limits and be delinquent on their rent or public utilities. City residents must be able to document a loss of income due to COVID-19, such as a job loss, furlough or reduced working hours. To be in compliance with federal requirements, a household’s total income cannot be more than 80% of the area’s average median income: $47,050 for a family of four, or $37,650 for a family of two.

Online applications will be made available on the City of Lakeland’s website. Those individuals who have questions or difficulties should call the city’s dedicated program hotline at 863-834-CARE (2273).

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Miami Beach

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

After Miami Beach was overwhelmed with requests for rental assistance last month, the city has pledged $336,000 in additional federal money to help more residents pay their overdue rent. 

The city, which has already budgeted about $550,000 for rent relief, stopped taking applications on May 18 after receiving more requests for help than the money could cover. 

Unlike the first round of funding, which will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, the order of appointments for the second round of funding will be based on a lottery. The program is funded mainly from two federal sources: the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the HOME Investment Partnership Program. 

On June 8, 2020, the city planned to hold a lottery of applications received online, which establishes the order in which applicants will meet with staff. 

More than 500 appointments were made for the first round of funding, of which 42 households have qualified for $79,191 in assistance. The city estimates that the first batch of money can cover rent for about 100 households.

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Miami / Miami-Dade County 

Face Mask Mandate

Mayor Gimenez issued an amendment to the county’s Emergency Order 20-20 now requiring individuals to wear face coverings in all indoor and outdoor spaces. The order will expire upon termination of the State of Local Emergency. 

Eviction

Sheriff / Police Suspension of Enforcement

The Miami-Dade Police Department announced on September 17, 2020 that Mayor Gimenez had directed the department to proceed with enforcing evictions that were ordered on or before March 12, 2020. The Department said it would “remain cognizant of any bans or moratoriums applicable on a case by case basis.”

However, the Mayor backtracked hours later in a series of tweets, saying he’s issuing a temporary stop order on his directive to ensure the application of the Florida’s revised restrictions on evictions due to COVID-19 economic hardship are fair to both tenant’s and property owners. 

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Miami Gardens

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

The City of Miami Gardens is offering rental assistance to residents who have experienced financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Eligible applicants can receive up to $4,500 per household. To be eligible, you must:

  • Be a renter currently living in Miami Gardens
  • Have documented hardship due to COVID-19
  • Have a current and fully executed lease agreement with a Miami Gardens address
  • Leaseholder must be a US Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Not receive any rental assistance from any federal, state, or local agency, or any other source or entity for this purpose
  • Household income must be at or below 80% Area Median Income (see chart in the application link)

Applications will be accepted June 8-11. Recipients are selected based on a lottery system. Click here to apply.

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Orange County

Eviction

Sheriff Suspension of Enforcement

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office suspended evictions on March 16, 2020 during the moratorium period established by Governor DeSantis via executive order. Officers will not be serving eviction notices or carrying out physical evictions for defaults due to nonpayment of rent. 

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

In an effort to help curb the onslaught of possible evictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners created the Orange County COVID-19 Eviction Diversion Program. The $20 million program is funded by the Federal CARES Act monies allotted locally and the Florida Housing CARES Act – Coronavirus Relief Funds.

The income-based program assists Orange County’s most vulnerable residents who are in imminent danger of eviction due to COVID-19 and provides the property owner with an alternative to eviction. The Program provides up to $4,000 in past due rent for housing providers and residents who meet the eligibility criteria.

This Program is a partnership with the Orange County Bar Association, Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida and other local legal assistance nonprofit agencies. The Orange County Bar Association will administer the program and process all applications. Orange County Government will provide final review of applications, and the Orange County Comptroller will provide payment directly to the housing provider.

The pre-screening form for eligible residents as well as full applications for housing providers are now available. The resident or housing provider can initiate the application process; however, both must agree to participate. If you are not eligible for the program, we encourage you to contact Heart of Florida United Way 2-1-1 for a list of local programs available to assist residents.

This is not a rental assistance program, or a resource for mortgage relief. Homeowners with Federal or Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) backed mortgages can learn about forbearance or mortgage relief by visiting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Additionally, the Orange County government has made the COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program available as a one-time benefit for Orange County residents who qualify.

The program will provide assistance with one month’s rent, so residents will be able to use their limited funds on other necessities. To qualify, applicants must call 407-836-6500 for an appointment.

In response to the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic, Heart of Florida United Way has established a fund to support Central Florida residents whose financial stability is being impacted. Heart of Florida United Way has made an initial investment of $100,000 to seed the fund but is seeking financial support to aid as many families as possible. The focus of the fund is to support the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) population experiencing hardship due to decreased hours or unpaid leave.

Specifically for residents of Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties, the ALICE Fund provides rent, mortgage and utility assistance to help prevent eviction and homelessness. Clients must demonstrate financial need by presenting documentation including but not limited to bank statements, pay stubs, rent agreements, utility bills, etc. For those seeking assistance, contact Heart of Florida United Way’s 211 Information and Referral Crisis Line by dialing 2-1-1, texting your zip code to 898211.

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Osceola County (Kissimmee)

Eviction

Courts are closed until further notice. Only essential cases will move forward. These include all in-custody arraignments involving adults and juveniles as well as emergency matters, such as filings related to child protective proceedings.

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

On March 31, 2020, the City of Kissimmee modified its Eviction Prevention Program to support low-income renters facing financial hardship in light of COVID-19.

Applicant income must be less than 80% of the area median income and financial allocations will be $1,200, or one month’s rent, whichever is less.

In response to the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic, Heart of Florida United Way has established a fund to support Central Florida residents whose financial stability is being impacted. Heart of Florida United Way has made an initial investment of $100,000 to seed the fund but is seeking financial support to aid as many families as possible. The focus of the fund is to support the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) population experiencing hardship due to decreased hours or unpaid leave.

Specifically for residents of Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties, the ALICE Fund provides rent, mortgage and utility assistance to help prevent eviction and homelessness. Clients must demonstrate financial need by presenting documentation including but not limited to bank statements, pay stubs, rent agreements, utility bills, etc. For those seeking assistance, contact Heart of Florida United Way’s 211 Information and Referral Crisis Line by dialing 2-1-1, texting your zip code to 898211.

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Palm Bay

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

The City of Palm Bay announced that it would provide residents with rental and utility assistance under the Eviction Prevention/Rental and Utility Assistance Program.

The program is designed to assist residents who have become delinquent on rent and/or utility payments due to the impacts of COVID-19. Any resident interested in the program must fill out a questionnaire to find out if they are eligible for assistance.

City officials said the prescreening questionnaire is available on the City’s Housing & Community Development website at www.palmbayflorida.org/assistance.

Residents without computers or smartphones can access paper questionnaire forms at the main entrance of City Hall located on Malabar Road, or can contact the Housing & Community Development Division at 321-726-5615 to answer prescreening questions.

City officials said they would accept applications through June 30, or until funding is expended, whichever occurs first. Residents who fill out the questionnaire will be contacted by a city staff member within seven to 10 business days regarding eligibility.

According to a news release, all eligible residents will be sent an application to complete and submit to the city with the required documentation under the Eviction Prevention/Rental & Utility Assistance Program.

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Pinellas County

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

In Pinellas County, Florida, the Bay Area Apartment Association (BAAA) has worked closely with county officials to revamp the county’s Pinellas CARES program, which provides financial assistance for missed rental, mortgage, and utility payments during the period starting March 1, 2020. The improved program is more user-friendly, streamlining the application process by allowing individuals to sign a form attesting that your job or income was impacted directly by COVID-19, as well as attesting to no more than $10,000 in cash, checking, or savings, which cuts down on paperwork for individuals that need assistance.

Applicants who did not previously qualify for the program or have already received help, but need assistance for additional overdue bills, can apply again with a maximum of $5,000 per household. BAAA is currently working with officials on a solution to assist individuals who are unable to apply for the program online.

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Polk County

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

The Polk County Board of County Commissioners has accepted nearly $2 million in additional CARES Act Funds. These funds will be made available to Polk residents to pay delinquent rent and mortgage payments due to layoffs and furloughs caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The program will provide eligible applicants up to $6,000, which will be paid directly to landlords, property management and mortgage companies on behalf of qualifying Polk County residents. If you have been awarded $2,000 Polk CARES funding your assistance may be adjusted.

Polk residents will be able to apply for the available funds beginning at August 5, 2020. All applications must be received by August 19, 2020.

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Port St. Lucie

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

The Port St. Lucie City Council approved the COVID-19 Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance grant program to pay past-due rent or mortgage payments from April 1. The program is open only to residents of Port St. Lucie. 

Priority will be given to people who have no income. Applicants seeking mortgage assistance must first attempt to receive a forbearance from their lender before applying to the city’s program. Applicants who have received a forbearance will be ineligible to apply. 

Applicants are required to submit an online pre-qualification questionnaire at www.cityofpsl.com/communityservices. Applicants whose questionnaires are approved will be emailed a link to the official application. 

If an applicant is approved, the money will be paid directly to the landlord or lending institution, according to the city. 

All landlords and mortgage companies receiving payments must complete a W9 tax form. For help completing the online questionnaire, call 772-871-1775 or email [email protected].

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Seminole County 

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

In response to the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic, Heart of Florida United Way has established a fund to support Central Florida residents whose financial stability is being impacted. Heart of Florida United Way has made an initial investment of $100,000 to seed the fund but is seeking financial support to aid as many families as possible. The focus of the fund is to support the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) population experiencing hardship due to decreased hours or unpaid leave.

Specifically for residents of Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties, the ALICE Fund provides rent, mortgage and utility assistance to help prevent eviction and homelessness. Clients must demonstrate financial need by presenting documentation including but not limited to bank statements, pay stubs, rent agreements, utility bills, etc. For those seeking assistance, contact Heart of Florida United Way’s 211 Information and Referral Crisis Line by dialing 2-1-1, texting your zip code to 898211.

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Volusia County

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

To assist Volusia and Flagler county residents and families who are impacted by COVID-19, United Way of Volusia and Flagler Counties launched the COVID-19 Relief Fund to aid in recovery efforts.

The organization said it is working with local partner agencies to distribute emergency funds to those in need. More information is available here or by calling 211.

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