When will the Pandemic Moratoriums End?
As we enter the second half of 2021, it is hard to believe that words such as: “pandemic”, “mask”, and “quarantine” are still part of our daily vocabulary. The pandemic has impacted every Floridian in some way. Whether your struggle was financial, physical, mental, or emotional, each of us has felt the wrath of COVID-19. Thankfully, as vaccination rates increase, and infection rates decrease, Florida is once again “open for business”. However, with this great “re-opening”, Floridians should reflect on what life after the Pandemic means for them.
Understanding the Pandemic Moratoriums
Throughout the pandemic, the State and Federal Governments have imposed administrative orders to help ease the financial and economic burdens of the pandemic. Many of these orders directly impact homeowners and renters. Specifically, to ease the burden on homeowners, the Federal Government imposed a foreclosure moratorium of federally backed mortgage loans. This foreclosure moratorium prevents lenders from initiating foreclosure actions against homeowners in default and prevents lenders from progressing ongoing litigation to final judgment or sale. To broaden the impact of the foreclosure moratorium on those in need, many lenders who own conventional loans have opted to follow the government-placed moratorium. As a result, hundreds of thousands of individuals on the cusp of or even in active foreclosure have been granted reprieve from monthly payments and litigation.
The aid to individuals did not stop at the homeowner level. To prevent the impact a homelessness crisis would have on the spread of the virus; the Center for Disease Control and Prevention enacted an eviction moratorium to protect renters across the country. The eviction moratorium prevents landlords from evicting tenants during the pendency of the pandemic. With this moratorium, individuals struggling to make their monthly payments are protected from eviction.
To protect and ensure Americans do not end up on the streets, the Federal Government has extended these moratoriums through June 30, 2021.
What will happen if the Moratoriums expire June 30, 2021?
The pandemic impacted what was already a fragile real estate market and housing crisis. During the pandemic, 1 in 5 renters in this country found themselves behind on their rent and just over 10 million homeowners behind on their mortgage payments. On February 16, 2021, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Department of Agriculture announced a coordinated extension and expansion of forbearance and foreclosure relief programs. As a result, the federal foreclosure moratorium for homeowners was extended from March 2021 to June 30, 2021; the mortgage payment forbearance enrollment window for borrowers who wish to request forbearance was extended until June 30, 2021; and an additional six months of mortgage payment forbearance, in three-month increments, was provided to borrowers who entered forbearance on or before June 30, 2021. Additionally, through Order under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act and 42 Code of Federal Regulations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Department of Health and Human Services extended the temporary halt in residential evictions through June 30, 2021.
Although the moratoriums were previously extended, many believe June 30, 2021, will mark their official expiration. This means thousands of Floridians may find themselves in foreclosure or faced with eviction in just a few short days.
With the lifting of the foreclosure moratoriums, lenders will no longer be mandated to or voluntarily chose to, hold the commencement of foreclosure actions. Even more pressing, if a foreclosure action is already initiated, lenders will no longer halt the progression of the action to final judgment or sale. For these reasons, if you are a homeowner who has fallen behind on your mortgage, either before or during the pandemic, you will be at risk of foreclosure, entry of a judgment against you, and sale of your property at public auction.
What Should You Do to Prepare for the End of the Pandemic Moratoriums?
With the impending expiration of the moratoriums, it is imperative for each Floridian to take inventory of their financial assets and responsibilities. For those Floridians who benefited from the moratoriums, whether as a homeowner or tenant, now is the time to reach out to your lender or landlord to see how best to get back on track with payments.
Time is of the essence when it comes to protecting you and your family from foreclosure or eviction. If retention is your goal, now is the time to reach out to your lender to request loss mitigation assistance to see if you are a viable candidate for a loan modification or forbearance plan. If you are a tenant, June 30th will mark the date you are no longer protected from eviction. As a result, landlords may initiate eviction proceedings against you.
If you are already in foreclosure, it is even more important to act expeditiously. Each day you are in foreclosure additional fees are incurred by the Plaintiff/ Lender. This means more fees to overcome before you are current with your mortgage. A skilled attorney can help you navigate these complicated waters and ensure that your rights and property are protected.
Allow Us to Help
At Scarnecchia Mullin, PLLC, our attorneys will work to create a personalized strategy for you based on your stated goals. We will guide you through the complicated pre-foreclosure process and defend your foreclosure while protecting your interests during any dispute with your lender. If you are a tenant facing eviction, your landlord must take the necessary steps before initiating an eviction. Our office can help review your case to ensure your due process is being protected. It is important that all Floridians prepare themselves for what life may look like after the moratoriums are lifted and how they may protect themselves, their families, and their homes from further hardship. Contact our office to schedule a consultation today.