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Coronavirus: Landlord-Tenant Update

The information you obtain on this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult with an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

March 28, 2020

As you may have heard, the Hillsborough County Sheriff has announced that eviction executions have been suspended through April 20, 2020.  This may be causing confusion among landlords and tenants alike. All that means is that the Hillsborough County Sheriff is not executing writs of possession until April 20, 2020.  A writ of possession is a court document that authorizes the Sheriff, in the landlord-tenant context, to remove tenants from leased property and to turn over possession of said property to the landlord.  When the Sheriff executes a writ of possession, they may remove tenants from leased property by force if necessary.

What the “eviction execution suspension” means is that the Sheriff will not be forcibly removing tenants from leased properties until April 20, 2020.  It is important to point out what it does not mean:

  1.   It does not mean tenants no longer have an obligation to pay rent;
  2.   It does not prevent a landlord from initiating an eviction action, even if the missed payments came due during the suspension; and
  3. It does not prevent a landlord from securing an eviction judgment.

All legal obligations that a landlord and tenant have pursuant to a lease and Florida law continue in full force and effect.

​It is important to note that the Pinellas and Pasco counties' sheriffs have not suspended the execution of writs of possession as of the writing of this article.  However, Pinellas and Pasco county clerks of court are temporarily putting a hold on issuing new writs of possession based on their interpretation of a Supreme Court directive.  

There’s going to be some tenants who are negatively affected by the Coronavirus crisis and may have trouble paying their rent due.  There will be other tenants who are merely attempting to take advantage of the national emergency. It is up to each landlord to decide how flexible they want to be with each particular non-paying tenant.  However, to be clear, there is no legal obligation for the landlord to modify any of the terms of the lease.