Eviction moratorium extended through 2020
A third extension of the foreclosure and eviction moratorium for those affected by COVID-19 has been approved and stays in effect until the end of the year.
On Sept. 1, the federal Center for Disease Control (CDC) announced that it used its powers to continue the ban on evictions through Dec. 31, 2020, for certain renters or homeowners for failure to pay rent and to those with FHA loans who can’t make mortgage payments, as long as they can show they have no other housing options.
There will be similar extensions for HUD Section 184 Indian Home Loans, USDA and VA loans, as well as mortgages backed by Ginnie Mae, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. If you are not sure who is the investor of your portfolio, this is the first question to ask your lender or servicer.
This only applies to people with an annual income of under $99,000. But those who have received the stimulus checks as a result of the CARES Act earlier this year should qualify.
The U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin said earlier this month that the actions will affect about 40 million renters in the United States.
The national eviction moratorium does not replace or override stronger state or local eviction protection in place.
While the CDC’s moratorium temporarily stops evictions, it does not relieve renters—or affected homeowners behind on mortgages – of their obligations. So landlords who have gone months without pay may be lining up on Jan. 1, 2021, ready to evict those who can’t pay everything that is owed. Therefore we strongly recommend that renters in this situation communicate immediately with their landlord about their current income situation so that a payment plan can be set up. This plan would put in writing your agreement that something is being paid toward your rent.
If you need help writing a letter to send to your landlord to set up a reasonable payment plan, example letters are available at www.WashingtonLawHelp.org. This website also includes more free legal information, forms and videos.
Declaration of Eligibility
A requirement under this extended moratorium is for renters to sign a Declaration of Eligibility form and present it to their landlord. We will discuss this form and other facts about the CDC Eviction Moratorium in next week’s column.
As much as a breather the extension will give many who have been hit hard financially as a result of COVID-19, the bills will eventually become due. Again, this doesn’t mean people won’t have to pay rent or their mortgage, it just gives them more time to do it.
We here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor are your housing experts and can help you figure out how to cope in your current housing and budget situation – whether you are a homeowner, renter or even a landlord. We’re a nonprofit organization whose goal it is to help people in Grays Harbor.
Housing options, budgeting, credit help available
Our housing specialist, Julie Galligan, has worked with people for years on creating budgets, repairing credit, and navigating the home-buying process.
“We’re noticing that some people – even those not directly affected by COVID-19 – mistakenly have believed that they get a break from paying rent. That’s not so!” Julie said. “You can’t just stop paying your rent!”
She is willing to work with people to try to look at their expenses and overall budget to help free up money for the rent or mortgage. Julie is also an expert in helping people qualify for a housing loan.
“If you are someone who is in the situation now to buy a house, it’s a great time to get a loan,” said Julie. “The interest rates – which make so much difference in your monthly payments – are extremely low.”
One of the things we see repeatedly here at NeighborWorks is that when people think they are ready to purchase a house, their credit isn’t ready.
“I love working with people to get their credit scores up,” Julie said. “When the client works hard and puts the time and effort into cleaning up their credit, I can see a huge difference in their self-confidence.”
“If you are planning to buy a house in the next year, it’s good to make sure your credit score is as high as possible. Lending institutions won’t give loans to people with poor credit. On the flip side, a very high credit score can sometimes mean a further reduction in a mortgage loan interest rate – and those savings can add up to thousands of dollars,” she said