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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.

State Legal and Regulatory Information

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.

Shelter in Place

A “Shelter in Place” order is currently in effect for the state of Florida until April 20th. The order exempts business activities, defined as essential under CISA. CISA’s guidelines specifically identify residential facilities and services as essential. 

Effective Monday, May 4, 2020, Florida will begin re-opening non-essential Florida businesses while maintaining focus on core safety principals under Executive Order 20-112.

Effective Friday, May 22, 2020, Governor DeSantis issued an Executive Order which extends Executive Order 20-123 (implementing Phase 1 of Florida’s reopening), but also permits organized youth activities (such as sports teams and leagues, youth clubs and programs, child care, summer camps, and youth recreation camps) to resume operation, with immediate effect.

State of Emergency

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

Eviction

State Supreme Court Order

  • Action: Suspension of non-essential proceedings, including the issuance of writs of possession.

  • Scope: All lease violations.

  • Duration: Until May 29, 2020.

  • COVID-19 Related Impact Requirement: No.

  • Residents Responsible for Rent: Yes.

Executive Order

  • Action: Suspension of all eviction actions for nonpayment of rent due to COVID-19 through June 2nd.

  • COVID-19 Related Financial Impact Requirement: Yes, but not further defined.  

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

No statewide emergency rental assistance for Florida.

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 are 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.

Broward County 

Shelter in Place

Effective, Friday, March 27, 2020 a “Shelter in Place” order is currently in effect for Broward County. The order shall remain in effect until the expiration of the State of Local Emergency Order. In Section 3(i) of the order, property management and maintenance are defined as essential services.

On Monday, March 30, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-89 defining essential businesses across South Florida (Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Monroe counties) based upon Miami-Dade Emergency Order 20-70, as amended. The Governor also issued Executive Order 20-91, which restricts individuals from any activity outside their homes other than those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities. Although some of these restrictions have been lifted in other parts of the state (Executive Order 20-112), they still remain in effect for Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties until further notice. Frequently Asked Questions

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.”

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.

Hillsborough County 

Shelter in Place

As of Monday, May 4, 2020, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ first phase of the Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. plan took effect. The three-phase plan still requires all Floridians to limit personal interactions outside the home and exercise responsible individual activity, but allows the conditional reopening of certain activities, stores, restaurants, and cultural facilities. Read the entire order or the Executive Order FAQs. Hillsborough County emergency leaders have aligned the community's COVID-19 coronavirus response to the plan

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 at http://www.lakelandgov.net. Those individuals who have questions or difficulties should call the city’s dedicated program hotline at 863-834-CARE (2273).

Leon County (Tallahassee)

Shelter in Place

Beginning on Monday, May 4, 2020, Florida will enter Phase 1 of the Safe. Smart. Step-by-Plan for Florida's Recovery. Governor DeSantis outlines steps for a phased reopening based upon recommendations from the Re-Open Florida Task Force. View the Governor's Executive Order.  View Frequently Asked Questions about Phase 1. More here. 

The Leon County curfew is no longer in effect. Leon County’s countywide curfew expired with the Governor’s extended order on Monday, May 4, 2020.

Miami Beach

Shelter in Place

The City Manager has extended his State of Emergency Declaration through Thursday, May 7, 2020. The City Manager has also extended the city’s “Safer at Home” Emergency Order , as well as the Emergency Measures, through Thursday, May 7, 2020. Any violation of the aforementioned emergency measures would subject the individual or business entity to criminal penalties.

Miami / Miami-Dade County 

Shelter in Place

Effective Thursday, April 30, 2020, Miami-Dade County will extend its existing State of Local Emergency declaration, thus extending its countywide “Shelter-in-Place” order. The county’s “Shelter-in-Place” order is in effect until the expiration of the Emergency Declaration.

Eviction

Sheriff / Police Suspension of Enforcement

Miami-Dade police announced on March 12, 2020 that officers would not assist with evictions during the emergency declared by Mayor Carlos Gimenez for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The agency said it “has temporarily suspended all eviction activities until further notice” in a release sent Thursday morning. The action means officers won’t assist landlords in removing tenants or serving court papers, freezing evictions until further notice.

Orange County

Shelter in Place

As of Monday, May 4, 2020, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ first phase of the Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. plan took effect. The three-phase plan still requires all Floridians to limit personal interactions outside the home and exercise responsible individual activity, but allows the conditional reopening of certain activities, stores, restaurants, and cultural facilities. Read the entire order or the Executive Order FAQs. This order supersedes all county mandates.

Eviction

Sheriff Suspension of Enforcement

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office suspended evictions on March 16, 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic. Officers will not be serving eviction notices or carrying out physical evictions.

Rental Assistance/Housing Provider Assistance

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.

Osceola County (Kissimmee)

Shelter in Place

As of Monday, May 4, 2020, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ first phase of the Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. plan took effect. The three-phase plan still requires all Floridians to limit personal interactions outside the home and exercise responsible individual activity, but allows the conditional reopening of certain activities, stores, restaurants, and cultural facilities. Read the entire order or the Executive Order FAQs. This order supersedes all county mandates.

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.

Pinellas County

Shelter in Place

As of Monday, May 4, 2020, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ first phase of the Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. plan took effect. The three-phase plan still requires all Floridians to limit personal interactions outside the home and exercise responsible individual activity, but allows the conditional reopening of certain activities, stores, restaurants, and cultural facilities. Read the entire order or the Executive Order FAQs. This order supersedes all county mandates.

Seminole County 

Eviction

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.

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.