Advice For Commercial (& all!) Renters in Florida from Rep. Anna V. Eskamani (4/9/2020)

Rep. Anna V. Eskamani sent this email to Main Street Directors and Nonprofit Leaders on 4/9/2020 — she wants to make sure that all commercial renters in Florida has this information too. Most of this information is also relevant to residential renters.

Listen to a recent interview Anna did with WMFE about evictions in Central Florida here.

Hey folks,

Another article for you about this topic from the Tampa Bay Times.

I also just wanted to share two quick points about evictions for all residential and commercial tenants in Central FL:

1. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office — the only agency able to actually remove someone from their home/business — is NOT engaging in any evictions.

2. The Supreme Court of Florida has also put into place an administrative order where they are not hearing any non-essential proceedings and it was communicated to me by the Circuit 9 Chief Judge that no evictions will be processed by the Clerk of Courts at this time. I am attaching legal guidance from a local attorney about this which includes information on “force majeure” to see if that clause is in your lease.

3. Also, the Governor put into place an Executive Order that suspends ALL foreclosures for 45 days starting on April 2 and residential evictions. You can see that Executive Order here. (NOTE — this Executive Order has NOW been extended to June 2, 2020)

So what does this mean for commercial tenants in Orange County?

Unfortunately (at this point) there is nothing to stop a landlord from filing a three-day notice for an eviction but during the COVID19 pandemic BUT that’s as far as it would go. Here’s what the Orange County Sheriff’s Office told me in regards to residential evictions, but it also applies to local:

Anybody can type up and post the 3-day notice which is the first step in the eviction process. To my knowledge, there is no penalty for posting the 3-day notice. If no response to the 3-day notice, they proceed to the next step which is to file a 5-day notice with the Clerk of the Court. But with the recent Administrative Order from the Chief Judge, the Clerk of the Court will not accept anything from anyone under any circumstances.

So both commercial and residential renters at least have the benefit of a delay when it comes to avoiding eviction, but I know that’s not a very comforting thing to say during a moment when people really need and deserve more relief.

FOR ANYONE EXPERIENCING A DIFFICULT LANDLORD: Consider seeking legal support! Options include:

https://clsmf.org

https://legalaidocba.org

http://floridalegal.org

You can also call Florida Bar lawyer referral at (800) 342- 8011 or locally to the Orange County Bar association lawyer referral at (407) 422–4551 for lease issues.

Email me at anna.eskamani@myfloridahouse.gov if I can help in anyway.

Finally, if you are a Floridian who lives in one of our motels or hotels, please visit this link to know your rights: https://www.floridabar.org/the-florida-bar-journal/what-are-you-a-hotel-guest-tenant-or-transient-occupant/

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Anna V. Eskamani

Orlandoan, daughter of working class immigrants and UCF grad elected to serve FL HD47. Working for you, fighting for us. #OnwardWithAnna