COVID-19 Florida Regulatory Update from FAA

Advocacy News ,

This information was taken from an email sent out by FAA on May 5, 2020.

Disclaimer: This information is being provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. FAA members are encouraged to contact their legal counsel regarding any landlord/tenant law matters. The industry is in uncharted territory at this time and legal interpretations surrounding this topic may vary.

FAA RELEASES COVID-19 REOPENING POLICIES TRACKER

In an effort to help FAA members navigate the patchwork of regulations that are being enacted by local governments across the state, FAA has created a Local Government COVID-19 Reopening Policies Tracker for members. On Wednesday, April 29, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-112, which became effective on May 4 and provides specifics for phase one of Florida's reopening. A summary of these policy changes is also provided below for your convenience.

It is important to note however, that the governor’s executive order (20-112) does not contain a preemption on local rules that restrict or close businesses and buildings. Therefore, local governments may establish additional rules or regulations that could impact apartment community amenity spaces.

This google spreadsheet will be updated as new local regulations are enacted. Please note that many local governments are in the early stages of evaluating reopening procedures, and FAA anticipates that more local-specific restrictions will be enacted by cities and counties in the coming days. Therefore, it is important for members to check this spreadsheet often and remain in close contact with their local FAA affiliate to stay up-to-date on local regulations.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR APARTMENT COMMUNITIES?

Because some local governments have instituted regulations regarding amenity spaces and social distancing, there is no one-size-fits-all approach for apartment community amenities across the state. Additionally, the Florida Department of Health has not issued statewide guidance for apartment amenities at this time. As you begin to evaluate when and how to reopen your amenity spaces, FAA encourages you to consult your legal counsel and risk management teams for guidance.

Below are some other resources that may be helpful as you determine how to approach reopening your amenity spaces.

NOTE: The information linked below is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

If you have additional questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 restrictions, please contact Amanda@faahq.org or William@faahq.org.

PHASE ONE SUMMARY (EXECUTIVE ORDER 20-112)

  • Becomes effective May 4, 2020 and will remain in place until the governor issues a subsequent executive order. Access an FAQ regarding this executive order.
  • This order is in effect statewide, however in coordination with county mayors, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties will follow stricter protocol without the reopen provisions of Executive Order 20-112.
  • Gyms and fitness centers closed by Executive Order 20-71 shall remain closed.
  • Vacation rentals prohibition remains in effect.
  • Senior citizens and individuals with significant underlying medical conditions are strongly encouraged to stay at home.
  • Individuals should avoid socializing in groups of more than 10 people in circumstances that do not allow for physical distancing.
  • FAA recommends that members consider this directive when evaluating the opening of amenities such as the apartment community pool. Members are also advised to check whether local restrictions have been put in place related to recreational spaces to ensure compliance with any local-specific regulations.
  • Individuals should avoid nonessential travel.
  • Face masks are recommended for face-to-face interactions and when individuals cannot practice physical distancing.
  • When in public, individuals should maximize distance between one another.
  • Restaurants and retail stores can operate at 25 percent capacity.
  • Elective surgeries will now be permitted.
  • Visits to senior living facilities prohibited.
  • Schools will remain in session via distance learning.
  • Museums and libraries may open at no more than 25% of occupancy.
  • No changes were made to business operations previously deemed essential.
  • A violation of this order is a second-degree misdemeanor under s. 252.50 F.S. and punishable by imprisonment not to exceed 60 days, a fine not to exceed $500, or both.

The governor did not elaborate on the specifics of phase 2 or phase 3 of his reopening plan. You can rest assured that FAA will continue to monitor these developments and communicate timely updates to members on these important issues.

Other COVID-19 Resources

In an effort to ensure Florida Apartment Association members are well informed, new resources are continually being added to FAA's COVID-19 page. Below, please find links to recently added resources that may be of assistance to you and your teams.

  • State and Federal Eviction Moratorium Timeline Summary
    • FAA created this visual aid to help members understand the timelines included in the governor's executive order suspending evictions for nonpayment of rent and the eviction moratorium in the federal CARES Act.
    • Please note, you will have to log in as an FAA member to view the State and Federal Eviction Moratorium Timeline linked above.
  • New Resident Resources
    • Many local governments across Florida are starting to establish rent relief funds for residents financially impacted by COVID-19. FAA has compiled a list of the resident resource funds we are aware of at this time. View a list of programs, which will be updated on an ongoing basis as new programs are established.
  • New CDC Guidelines for Cleaning Facilities
  • New CDC Guidelines for Businesses
    • NOTE: The CDC established these new guidelines for states to reference as they work to reopen their economies.
  • Emergency Rule Regarding Rent Increases
    • The Florida Housing Finance Corporation issued an emergency rule on April 29. This emergency rule incentivizes owners and operators of properties financed by the corporation to suspend any rent increases during this public health crisis. This rule expires after 90 days or upon the expiration of the Governor's Executive Order 20-52, which declared a public health emergency, whichever comes sooner.