A grace period is a predetermined period of time immediately following a payment due date during which a late fee or other is waived provided that the obligation is satisfied during the grace period. Your grace period, if any, will be stated within your lease agreement, and will typically be limited to three to five days for residential tenancies and fifteen days for mortgage payments. However, several measures have been put in place by the federal, state, and local governments to protect tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On March 18, 2020, the Federal House Finance Agency which oversees government sponsored mortgage loans issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, issued a directive suspending all foreclosure actions and evictions for a period of at least 60 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While this directive only applies to loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, state and local governments have also stepped in to protect tenants in their jurisdictions.
On March 18, 2020, Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles T. Canady issued Administrative Order No. AOSC20-17 which placed a moratorium on the issuance of any new Writs of Possession through April 17, 2020. This deadline may be extended in light of the federal government’s extension of social distancing measures through the end of April.
In Miami-Dade County, Chief Judge Bertila Soto issued Administrative order No. (AO) 20-04 postponing all non-emergency matters through April 17, 2020. Eviction proceedings fall into this category. This means that if you were subject to an eviction proceeding and had any deadline such as filing an answer or depositing rent into the court registry, that time has been extended through and including April 17, 2020. You should, however, be prepared to file your answer or deposit rent in the court registry on April 20. This deadline is also be expected to be extended in light of the federal government’s extension of social distancing measures through the end of April.
The Miami-Dade Police Department, which is responsible for enforcing Writs of Possession, has suspended this service during the pendency of the Miami-Dade County state of emergency. This means that even in cases where a Writ of Possession was issued prior to the court closures and the entry of the Florida Supreme Court Administrative Order, those writs will not be executed by Miami-Dade Police while the state of emergency is in place.
It is important to note that while these measures have been taken to protect tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic, this does not mean that any missed rental payments or eviction actions will not be pursued by your landlord once the state of emergency is lifted.