Ron DeSantis announces $250 million rental and mortgage relief

Illustration photo by Ron DeSantis (Getty, iStock)

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced the state will tap $250 million in CARES Act funding for rental and mortgage assistance due to Covid-19.

The announcement comes about a week before the scheduled end of the state’s moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. The executive order gives landlords and renters time in their homes if they can’t pay their mortgage or rent due to the pandemic, but it doesn’t offer financial relief to renters and landlords. As a result, industry sources say there will be a backlog of evictions and foreclosures in July.

Florida Housing Finance Corp. will administer a funding pool of $120 million of the $250 million, in the form of short-term rental assistance for households affected by Covid-19 who live in affordable housing rentals in the portfolio of FHFC.

Qualified tenants could tap into the fund for rent between July and December and may be able to get help with payments due from April to June.

A separate fund of $120 million will be earmarked for rental and landlord assistance programs, including new construction, rehabilitation, mortgage buyouts, down payment and closing cost assistance, emergency repairs and home ownership advice for those affected by the pandemic.

Up to $10 million of the $250 million will be set aside for anticipated operating costs of assistance programs. And about $200,000 will be set aside for technical assistance to local municipalities.

Some South Florida cities have rolled out similar programs, such as the City of Miami and Miami Beach. Miami Beach created a $550,000 rent relief fund in May, using state and federal money from three programs, including the CARE Act.