We're here to help with housing concerns in these crazy times
“Unprecedented,” “crazy,” “difficult,” “challenging.” However we describe “these times” of facing a pandemic and resulting quarantine and economic impacts, it is clear we are living in, well, uncertain times.
We want to remind you that we here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor are available to work with you whether you are a renter, landlord or homeowner. We are a nonprofit organization committed to creating safe and affordable housing opportunities for everyone in Grays Harbor.
As you may be aware, to alleviate financial stress for those people whose jobs were impacted by COVID-19, on March 18, 2020, evictions and foreclosures for homeowners with mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), FHA were suspended.
This moratorium just covers FHA mortgages for single family homes. Also, it not only prevents new foreclosure actions, but also suspends all foreclosures currently in process.
In addition, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which oversees Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan banks, is providing payment forbearance to borrowers impacted by the coronavirus for up to 12 months due to hardship.
In addition, a federal moratorium also went into effect on landlords evicting tenants who couldn’t pay their rent due to economic effects related to COVID-19.
But now on March 31, these moratoriums are scheduled to be lifted.
To be clear, that means that loans will be due and landlords can evict non-paying renters even if they can’t pay because of job loss due to the coronavirus.
If you fit into this category and need assistance with civil legal aid, you can visit the website for Washingtonlawhelp.org. and click on Eviction and Your defense. It explains the process and provides the paperwork the landlord and renter complete as a work out plan during COVID-19.
What this moratorium didn’t mean
Before we go on to describe what the lifting of this moratorium means, we want to go back to clarify what the moratorium didn’t mean.
We’ve had numerous reports from landlords that their tenants simply stopped paying their rent during this time even though they continued to work. The rent moratorium does not protect these non-paying renters.
The same goes for people who have a private loan for a house. These folks were not included in or protected by this moratorium. If that’s you and you’ve lost your job or a portion of your income, you need to get into contact with your lender to make payment arrangements. Clear communication with your lender is the best path forward. They can often work with you to change your loan or temporarily reduce payments.
What the moratorium’s lifting means
Our housing counselor, Julie Galligan, says she’s ready now to help renters and homebuyers figure out their financing options.
“I’m eager to help people sort all this out,” Julie said. “I can highlight a variety of approaches to address their issue and show them different options and resources to get a grip on their financial situation.”
Frankly, the lack of calls so far during this economic crisis has Julie concerned.
“I think we’re going to be having a lot of people scrambling to figure out what to do after the moratoriums lift on March 31,“ she said, urging people to call her as soon as possible to get a jump on the coming tsunami of work in this area.
“In fact, if you’ve been affected by COVID, even if you don’t think you would qualify for some sort of help, you need to reach out to us, you need to communicate. We may have other programs that you would qualify for,” she said. “You never know!”
Not only can NeighborWorks help inform you of the current laws regarding housing, we are available to help you build a household budget. If you have had a loss of income, we can help you determine just how big of a payment for housing you can afford. In addition, we can help explain various options and programs that may be suited to you.
To get ahold of Julie Galligan, our housing counselor, call our office at (360) 533-7828 and leave a message at ext. 102. She will return your call and can set up an appointment.