Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance
The Florida Apartment Association is committed to keeping members informed about issues that may affect you, your businesses, and your residents.
Regarding the current outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) your primary sources of information should be the Centers for Disease Control, the Florida Department of Health, or your local health department.
The National Apartment Association (NAA) is offering general, precautionary guidance from officials, along with common-sense guidelines for our industry. Therefore, we encourage you to review the information provided by the NAA here and here (PDF).
It is important to recognize that the Florida Apartment Association, the National Apartment Association, local affiliates, and individual members are not healthcare professionals or providers and these resources are provided only as general information. Please refer to the above-mentioned healthcare agencies for specific guidance.
If you are involved in a COVID-19 case with a resident, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and include COVID-19 in the subject line.
FLORIDA HEALTH DEPARTMENT AND YOUR LOCAL COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
Please contact your local Health Department for information regarding COVID-19 in your area.
- Coronavirus Call Center- (866) 779-6121
- COVID-19 Resource Toolkit
- To locate and contact your local county Health Department, please click here.
EXECUTIVE ORDERS ISSUED BY GOVERNOR DESANTIS
Executive Order 20-68 on March 17:
- The governor ordered all bars, pubs, and nightclubs to close.
Executive Order 20-71 on March 20:
- The governor ordered all restaurants and food establishments to suspend on-premises food consumption for customers. Restaurants are still eligible to operate for the purposes of delivery and take out. The governor also ordered the closure of gymnasiums and fitness centers within the State of Florida. The order states that the mandate to close does not apply to gymnasiums and fitness centers, which are an amenity of a residential building.
- However, since many amenity/gym areas cannot be limited to less than 10 people per the CDC's guidelines, many FAA members have voluntarily closed their gyms to comply with the general closure of all non-residential gyms across the state.
- Click here to access FAA best practices related to Executive Order 20-71 and a sample letter to communicate this information with residents.
Executive Order 20-80 on March 24:
- The governor directed all persons whose point of departure originates from outside the State of Florida in an area with substantial community spread, to include the New York Tri-State Area (Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York), and entering the State of Florida through airports to isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry.
Executive Order 20-83 on March 24:
- The govenor directed all persons over 65 years of age to stay home and to take such other measures as necessary to limit their risk of exposure to COVID-19. In addition, the order directs the surgeon general to issue public health advisories stating that those who can work remotely from home are encouraged to do so and advising against all social or recreational gatherings of 10 or more people.
- Click here to access FAA best practices related to Executive Order 20-83 and a sample letter to communicate this information with employees.
Executive Order 20-86 on March 27:
- The governor has ordered all people entering Florida from the state of Louisiana to self quarantine for a period of 14 days.
Executive Order 20-87 on March 27:
- The governor has ordered all parties engaged in the operation of vacation rental properties to suspend their business. They are prohibited from making new reservations or accepting any check-ins for the duration of the order. There is an exemption for rentals previously booked, and are scheduled to check-in no later than March 28, 2020, and rentals to persons performing military, emergency, governmental, health or infrastructure response, or travelers engaged in non-vacation commercial activities.
- Click here for FAA's FAQs and other information regarding this order.
Executive Order 20-89 on March 30:
- The governor placed a stay-at-home order over Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County residents. It will close non-essential businesses and ask residents to stay inside, unless engaging in one of the few allowed activities. The purpose of this order was to place all of the counties' residents under one unified directive. Apartment management and maintenance personnel are deemed essential.
INFORMATION REGARDING MORTGAGE FORBEARANCE
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced on March 23rd that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will offer mortgage forbearance for multifamily property owners, under the condition that they suspend all evictions for renters who are unable to pay rent because of COVID-19, also known as “coronavirus.”
To be eligible, property owners must suspend evictions for as long as the owner remains in forbearance. Forbearance is available only for multifamily housing properties with an “Enterprise-backed performing multifamily mortgage” that is financially impacted by coronavirus.
We will continue to update you as FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac release information about implementation of this decision. For owners who believe they qualify, contact your loan servicer to learn more about the process to seek relief.
CYBERSECURITY AND INFRASTRUCTURE SECURITY AGENCY
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) is responsible for identifying the "essential critical infrastructure workforce." The federal government, along with state and local governments have generally accepted the recommendations made by CISA when determining their list of essential businesses. On March 28, CISA released a memorandum updating the list of essential services and operations. This list specifically identifies the critical roles played by residential property management staff and maintenance personnel. Please refer to Page 15 for the guidance on "Residential/ Shelter Facilities and Services."
U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION DISASTER ASSISTANCE LOAN PROGRAM
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for small businesses in Florida suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
To access the press release letter and find out more, please click here.
Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download
applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service
Center at (800) 659-2955 or email: email@example.com for more information on SBA
FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RELIEF ACT (PHASE II)
The Families First Coronavirus Relief Act was recently signed into law. Its purpose is to codify new rules that expanding paid sick and family leave in response to the current pandemic. The US Department of Labor released a questions and answers resource page dedicated to helping employees and employers navigate the new rules. Please click on the following link to access this resource: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions
CORONAVIRUS AID, RELIEF, AND ECONOMIC SECURITY ACT (CARES ACT, PHASE III)
On March 27, 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2.2 trillion stimulus package containing a host of tax and economic provisions intended to help both businesses and individuals. FAA put together a summary of how this Act will affect the multfamily industry. To access this summary, please click here.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACTIVITY IN FLORIDA RELATED TO COVID-19
The CARES Act has issued a 120 day moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent. The moratorium applies to all rental housing providers whose properties are insured, guaranteed, supplemented, protected, or assisted in any way by federal programs including but not limited to HUD, the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac, or participate in the Section 8 housing choice voucher program.
The Florida Supreme Court issued Order No. AOSC20-17, which suspends all non-essential jury trails and gives local courts the authority to suspend the issuance of writs of posession.
Local governments across the country, including some here in Florida, are considering or have enacted eviction bans in response to COVID-19 concerns. At this time, the following local governments have taken action to ban or reduce evictions:
- Brevard County Sheriff's Office is no longer serving Writs of Possession
- Broward County (evictions temporarily suspended)
- Collier County Sheriff's Office is no longer serving Writs of Possession
- Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office suspended serving Writs of Possession until April 20
- Indian River County Sheriff's Office is no longer serving Writs of Possession
- Lee County (evictions temporarily suspended)
- Leon County Sheriff's Office is no longer serving Writs of Possession
- Martin County Sheriff's Office is no longer serving Writs of Possession
- Miami-Dade (evictions temporarily suspended)
- Orange County (evictions temporarily suspended)
- Osceola County (evictions temporarily suspended)
- Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is not enforcing eviction notices at this time
- St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office is no longer serving Writs of Possession
- Volusia County Sheriff's Office is no longer serving Writs of Possession
In addition to the jurisdictions with formal or informal polices outlined above, several courts are temporarily no longer processing eviction filings, including:
- Alachua County (Evictions can be filed, but Courts are temporarily closed until April 17th)
- Brevard County (through April 15)
- Duval County (evictions suspended through April 3rd)
- Franklin County (Courts are temporarily closed until March 27th)
- Gadsden County (Courts are temporarily closed until March 27th)
- Jefferson County (Courts are temporarily closed until March 27th)
- Leon County (Courts are temporarily closed until March 27th)
- Liberty County (Courts are temporarily closed until March 27th)
- Seminole County (through April 15)
- Wakulla County (Courts are temporarily closed until March 27th)
Some local governments are now issuing shelter-in-place mandates or curfews, including:
- Alachua County shelter-in-place order 2020-09, closed non-essential business (Apartment management and maintenance personnel are deemed essential and, therefore, exempt)
- Broward County, per the Governor's order 20-89, closed non-essential business until March 31st (Apartment management and maintenance personnel are deemed essential and, therefore, exempt)
- City of Coconut Creek curfew (11:00PM-5:00AM)
- Hillsborough County issued a safer-at-home order. It requires any business staying open to ensure social distances or they will be force to close.
- City of Jacksonville issued order 2020-3 directing workers who can work remotely be allowed to do so.
- Leon County curfew (11:00PM- 5:00AM)
- City of Miami stay-at-home order 20-04
- City of Miami curfew (10:00PM-5:00AM)
- Miami Dade County , per the Governor's order 20-89, closed non-essential business (Apartment management and maintenance personnel are deemed essential and, therefore, exempt)
- City of Miami Beach stay-at-home emergency order
- City of Miami Beach curfew (12:00AM -5:00AM)
- North Miami Beach curfew (10:00PM-5:00AM)
- Monroe County, per the Governor's order 20-89, closed non-essential business (Apartment management and maintenance personnel are deemed essential and, therefore, exempt)
- Orange County curfew (11:00PM- 5:00AM)
- Orange County stay-at-home order 2020-04, closed non-essential business until April 9th (Apartment management and maintenance personnel are deemed essential and, therefore, exempt)
- Osceola County stay-at-home order No. 2, closed non-essential business until April 9th (Apartment management and maintenance personnel are deemed essential and, therefore, exempt)
- Osceola County curfew (11:00PM- 5:00AM)
- Palm Beach County, per the Governor's order 20-89, closed non-essential business (Apartment management and maintenance personnel are deemed essential and, therefore, exempt)
- City of Sunny Isles Beach curfew (11:00PM- 5:00AM)
Click here to access FAA's guidance related to local shelter in place, stay at home orders, or curfews.
Note: This list is expected to grow in the coming days and will be updated as new information becomes available. Many courts will still accept an eviction filing via their e-file system, however it may be placed on hold. Please refer to your local sheriff's office or court for additional information regarding eviction processes within their jurisdisctions.