During the two months of the COVID-19 pandemic, stay-at-home orders necessary for public health and safety have resulted in massive unemployment, in turn affecting apartment renters’ and owners’ budgets. Rent and mortgage payments become considerably tougher to pay without income, and though there were some federal interventions to delay evictions and foreclosures at the start of the crisis, some temporary laws have since expired. Here’s the latest on how you can get COVID-19 rent or mortgage relief.
Federal COVID-19 rent relief regulation
Through the federal CARES Act passed in late March, evictions are banned for 120 days in many forms of housing. Under the CARES Act, tenants in federally-backed housing cannot be given an eviction notice before July 25. Thereafter, these tenants cannot be evicted until August 24.
The CARES Act covers many, but not all, rental situations. If your apartment is covered according to section 41411 of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 or the rural housing voucher program outlined in section 542 of the Housing Act of 1949, the CARES Act applies to you. Likewise, if your landlord has a federally backed or multifamily mortgage on your apartment, the CARES Act protects you from eviction.
If the CARES Act applies to your apartment, your safety net expands past a ban on evictions. Your landlord is also banned from adding late fees or other penalties for missing rent. Despite these renter protections, the CARES Act does not free tenants of their obligations to pay their rent, meaning that even though this law may provide you with housing stability in the short-term, it might not do so in the long-term.
Federal COVID-19 mortgage relief regulation
The CARES Act also applies to apartment owners unable to pay their mortgages. Under the CARES Act, lenders and loan servicers may not foreclose on apartments and homes for 60 days following March 18. During this 60-day period, lenders and services are banned from starting foreclosure proceedings or finalizing any foreclosures that were pending before the pandemic.
Additionally, you can request a forbearance on your mortgage payments for as long as 180 days, and you can ask for an additional 180-day extension at the end of your first forbearance period. To explore this option, you must directly contact your lender or servicer, who will be banned from implementing penalties or any other extra fees, though all scheduled interest will remain part of your mortgage.
Under the CARES Act, you technically do not need to provide documentation of any financial hardship you face due to COVID-19. If you remain able to pay your mortgage, do not exploit this documentation gap to receive unnecessary mortgage relief. Loan servicers and providers are currently inundated with unprecedented volumes of phone calls from apartment owners in desperate need of mortgage relief.
State COVID-19 rent and mortgage relief regulation
In addition to federal COVID-19 rent and mortgage relief regulation, individual states (as well as Washington, D.C.) have implemented their own guidelines regarding evictions, foreclosures, and other housing concerns. For a state-by-state list of eviction and foreclosure bans and other relevant regulations, click here.