Lawyers say there will be a flood of foreclosures and evictions after the order is lifted
By Katherine Kallergis and Keith Larsen, The Real Deal| April 6th, 2020
With hundreds of Floridians losing their jobs on a daily basis and the economy on crutches, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended evictions and foreclosures for a period of 45 days. But experts say it is far from enough.
The move, announced on Thursday, allows homeowners and renters to stay in their homes if they can’t pay their mortgages or rent due to Covid-19. It follows similar emergency orders issued in New York and in California by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Yet, attorneys say the governor’s executive order does not provide long-term help for people who have lost their jobs and are struggling to get by. It also doesn’t help landlords abate mortgage payments from their lenders.
“It is nice that the governor is protecting people from losing their space,” said attorney Josh Migdal, a partner at Miami-based Mark Migdal & Hayden. “However, it doesn’t change the fact that there will be defaults, and it is only a temporary band-aid.”
The delays, in fact, could lead to a stream of evictions in a month and a half, when lenders start filing foreclosure actions on borrowers who have lost their jobs and are unable to pay rent. In tourism-dependent South Florida, hospitality owners have already laid off thousands as their industry takes a beating. And more distress may be in store in the coming months.
Attorney Bruce Jacobs of Miami-based Jacobs Legal, who represents homeowners in the foreclosure process, warned, however, that many banks will eventually demand full payment. And that will probably lead to an onslaught of foreclosures – likely greater than the last recession, he said.
“In the last crash in 2008, people were told to ‘stop paying your mortgage and we’ll help you,’ Jacobs said. “And then people didn’t pay their mortgage, and at some point the bank filed for foreclosure.”
He sees a similar situation playing out now.
“If you don’t pay your mortgage or don’t pay your rent, even Gov. DeSantis’ order says you still owe that money.”
Contact Katherine Kallergis at firstname.lastname@example.org and Keith Larsen at email@example.com.