Over 9 million homeowners and renters won’t be able to make their housing payments for November, according to the latest survey by the U.S. Census Bureau. Many of them are shielded from losing their homes to eviction or foreclosure through the end of the year, but the rules are confusing and there is uncertainty about what comes next.
▪ Some federal protections passed as part of the CARES Act in March still apply and government agencies have stepped in with patches to some that have expired. Meanwhile, 16 states have their own eviction and foreclosure moratoriums in place, and in places where there is no state-mandated freeze, some city and local governments have successfully pushed for more robust protections.
▪ “What has not been addressed in any meaningful way, is that by the end of the year people nationwide will owe tens-of-billions of dollars in back rent that they just can’t pay back,” says Diane Yentel, President & CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. With each state having their own programs and interpretations of legislation, it can be difficult to know what does and does not apply to each individual situation.
▪ When the coronavirus pandemic began to take hold of Americans’ lives in March, Congress was swift to pass the CARES Act. In addition to providing stimulus checks and expanded unemployment benefits, the bill aimed to keep people from becoming homeless during the health crisis. Homeowners with federally-backed mortgages, or backed by government-sponsored enterprises, which account for about 70% of all mortgages will still have protection for up to 12 months. The remaining 30% of homeowners with private mortgages are not technically protected under federal law.
▪ The CARES Act also included a 120 day moratorium on most federally subsidized housing which covered around 30% of renters nationwide. In August, President Trump told leaders of a few federal agencies to look into existing options for helping those on the brink of losing their homes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with the Department of Health and Human Services, put out an agency order halting residential evictions for tenants who would otherwise be at risk of homelessness or at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 until the end of the year.
▪ Tenants have to certify under penalty of perjury that they can’t pay and the reason. However, landlords have no obligation to tell tenants about the CDC moratorium and 10,000 evictions were filed in just five states since the moratorium went into effect. “We will see a tremendous number of evictions in the dead of winter during a COVID-19 spike,” says Yentel. Questions also still remain on how repayment of rent owed will work.
To know more about your state’s specific eviction and foreclosure moratorium status or where to find more information based on your specific needs, please click on “Read the Full Article”.