(As of March 23, 2020)
During these unprecedented times, there are concerns not only about the public health, but also rapidly-growing concerns over how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact our national economy. Unemployment claims have jumped significantly in one week, leaving people to wonder how they are going to pay basic bills, like their mortgage payments.
On March 18, 2019 the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released guidelines that apply to homeowners with FHA-insured Title II Single Family forward and Home Equity Conversion (reverse) mortgages, and directs mortgage servicers for the next 60 days to:
- Halt all new foreclosure actions and suspend all foreclosure actions currently in process; and
- Cease all evictions of persons from FHA-insured single-family properties.
Face-to- face counseling and inspections have also been temporarily halted. HUD has encouraged all mortgage servicers to offer loss mitigation options to distressed borrowers, including long and short-term forbearance options.
Similarly, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosures and evictions for 60 days and allow a forbearance for up to 12 months. In order to qualify, you need not have contracted COVID-19, only show a financial impact from it.
The Consumer Federal Protection Bureau (CFPB) is encouraging all borrowers, private or otherwise, experiencing a financial hardship, to contact their servicers quickly to assess all hardship offerings available.
In addition to the federal level, each state has taken their own approach to help distressed borrowers. Pennsylvania courts have paused on all foreclosures sales and evictions through April 3, 2020. New Jersey courts have halted foreclosure sales and evictions for a period no longer than two months after the state of emergency ends.
As of right now, there are no federal guidelines for evictions of rental properties; however, some members of Congress have called for a suspension of both foreclosures and evictions from rental properties.
Unruh Turner Burke & Frees will continue to monitor the situation and remains committed to serving your legal needs during this time.