Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ moratorium is scheduled to expire in just a few days which means landlords and lenders will be given the green light to initiate the eviction and foreclosure process. The moratorium, which will expire on September 1st, gave Floridians peace of mind knowing that during these unprecedented times, they wouldn’t be thrown out of their homes with nowhere to go if they couldn’t cover their rent or mortgage. However, now that the protection is going to be lifted, many landlords and lenders are preparing the legal paperwork to get those who are still unable to pay their rent or mortgage out of their property.
What will eviction and foreclosure hearings look like amid the COVID-19 pandemic?
Anytime a landlord or lender decides they have the grounds to evict a tenant or foreclose on a property, they must go through the legal system to do this. But with in-person proceedings suspended as a way to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, a significant portion of eviction and foreclosure cases will be held virtually. Although local court officials who have been testing the system with domestic violence cases are “confident hearings will run smoothly,” the Orlando Sentinel says some housing advocates “worry that holding hearings over video could make it more difficult to ensure residents get a fair shot at defending themselves.”
While one Orlando real estate lawyer is advising clients not to “take part in virtual hearings” because they “are in violation of due process,” another is fighting to get their client’s foreclosure case postponed. After a Port Charlotte couple’s house went into foreclosure in 2018, their attorney filed an emergency motion that challenged the “legality of holding hearings over Zoom.” The couple has also requested that their hearing be conducted in-person or postponed until in-person hearings resume. The couple’s attorney says he has participated in one virtual hearing so far and claims “it was a mess.” Not only did the lawyer say there were issues with uploading documents but that the court reporter also had trouble hearing everyone.
Although it is understandable for courts to implement strategies that would reduce the number of people who come in and out of the courthouse which, in turn, would curb the spread of the virus, many believe residents who are facing eviction or foreclosure are losing out on their due process rights by being forced to attend their hearing via Zoom.
In the event an individual does not have access to a computer or Wi-Fi, the source says that there will be kiosks set up inside the Orange and Osceola courthouses for them to use.
Now, if your Orlando home is at risk of being foreclosed on or your lender has already initiated the process, don’t wait to contact Legal Counsel P.A. to speak with an Orlando, FL real estate lawyer. Because many homeowners in Florida are facing various challenges as they enter the foreclosure process, it especially important that you have someone who is familiar with the legal system representing you. The Orlando, FL real estate attorneys at Legal Counsel P.A. may also be able to provide you with some options that would allow you to keep your home rather than lose it.
Legal Counsel P.A. has an office in Orlando which is located at:
189 S. Orange Avenue, Ste. 1800
Orlando, FL 32801
Email: [email protected]