However, not all federal consumer protections have been lifted. On Aug. 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued another temporary Order extending the federal moratorium on evictions through Oct. 3, in areas of heightened levels of community transmission. Note: On Aug. 26, however, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the CDC’s eviction order to be unconstitutional, in a 6-3 decision.
Similar to their federal counterparts, individual states vary on lifting or extending COVID-related moratoriums. Embedded is a comprehensive spreadsheet capturing the current orders, legislation, and policies on foreclosures and evictions.
The following list outlines current orders and legislation from California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Virginia, involving foreclosures and evictions in response to COVID-19.
California: On June 28, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 832, which extended the state’s eviction moratorium to Sept. 30. AB 832 further extends the protections of the COVID-19 Small Landlord and Homeowner Relief Act of 2020 (Homeowner Act) until Dec. 1. The Homeowner Act requires, in part, that mortgage servicers provide written notice to a borrower if the mortgage servicer denies a forbearance request. Under the Homeowner Act, if a mortgage servicer denies a forbearance, it must provide the reasons for the denial so long as the borrower was: (1) current on payments as of Feb. 1, 2020; and (2) experiencing a financial hardship that prevents the borrower from making timely payments on the mortgage obligation, due – directly or indirectly – to the COVID-19 emergency.
District of Columbia: The moratoriums on foreclosure and eviction actions remain in effect until 60 days after the end of the state of emergency. To date, Mayor Muriel Bowser has not lifted the COVID-19 state of emergency.
Illinois: The moratorium on evictions and foreclosures expired on July 24 and its phase-out was completed Aug. 31. On July 23, Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued an Executive Order allowing eviction filings to begin on Aug. 1. After Aug. 31, enforcement of all eviction orders will be permitted.
Maryland: The state’s emergency declaration lifted on July 1. A 45-day grace period ran out on Aug. 15; so now, eviction or foreclosure actions can be commenced.
New Jersey: On Aug. 4, Gov. Phil Murphy signed new legislation and issued Executive Order No. 249 that winds down the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums. Under the new legislation, renters who missed payments would be protected from eviction through Aug. 31, if their annual household income is less than 120% of their county’s median income. For tenants who make less than 80% of the median income in their county, tenants are shielded from an eviction judgment through Dec. 31. Under the legislation, tenants are afforded a private right to a cause of action with regard to a landlord’s violation of eviction protections. Additionally, the state Attorney General’s Office may impose monetary penalties for non-compliance, including a $500 fine for the first violation, $1,000 for a second violation, and $2,500 for each subsequent violation.
Meanwhile, for mortgage borrowers, New Jersey’s new legislation effectively ends the foreclosure moratorium on Nov. 15.
New York: On May 5, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill extending the protections of the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Act of 2020 through Aug. 31. The Act summarily prohibits residential evictions, foreclosure proceedings, credit discrimination, and negative credit reporting as a result of COVID-19.
Under the Act, a lender – prior to initiating a foreclosure action – is required to serve proper notice, including a Hardship Declaration to the borrower. To benefit from the protections of the Act, a borrower must declare that he/she is experiencing a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A financial hardship may include a significant loss of household income, childcare responsibilities, moving expenses, or other circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. If a borrower provides a lender with a Hardship Declaration, the lender is prohibited from filing an eviction action. The Act further provides that no court shall accept a foreclosure filing unless the petitioner files an affidavit demonstrating the manner in which the Hardship Declaration was provided to the borrower. For any pending foreclosure action, the court shall stay the matter for at least 60 days. In any foreclosure action in which a judgment of sale has been issued, but not yet executed, the court shall stay the execution of the judgment until the court has held a status conference with the parties. The Act further prohibits credit discrimination or negative reporting to agencies with regard to a stay of a foreclosure proceedings.
With respect to evictions, the Act requires a landlord to provide proper notice of any eviction action, including service of a Hardship Declaration, to the tenant. To benefit from the protections of the Act, a tenant must declare that: (1) he/she is experiencing a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and (2) vacating the residential property and moving into a new property would pose a significant health risk due to age, disability, or an underlying medical condition. If the tenant provides the landlord with a Hardship Declaration, the landlord is prohibited from filing an eviction action. The Act further enjoins courts from accepting or filing any petition for eviction, unless the petitioner files an affidavit demonstrating the manner in which the Hardship Declaration was served on the tenant, or a declaration by the landlord that the tenant is a substantial safety hazard or persistently and unreasonably infringes the use and enjoyment on other occupants. For any eviction action pending on the effective date of the Act, a court shall provide a Hardship Declaration to the tenant and stay the matter for at least 60 days.
Unless extended, the protections and provisions of the Act shall expire on Aug. 31.
Ohio: On Feb. 3, House Bill No. 20 was introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives and proposes a suspension on foreclosure activity and the eviction of residential tenants during the COVID-19 state of emergency. Under the proposed legislation, no court shall issue a writ of execution for possession of residential property with regard to foreclosure or eviction actions during the state of emergency. The HB 20 proposes a pause on all statutes of limitation relating to foreclosure actions and stays deadlines in foreclosure actions that have already been filed.
The bill would further require that, for 60 days after the state of emergency expires, any eviction or foreclosure action filed as a result of a mortgage default or nonpayment of rent that occurred during the emergency must be stayed and referred to mediation. The costs of mediation are to be paid by the courts, and the required mediations are to be concluded at the courts’ discretion.
Virginia: As of July 1, Virginia’s state of emergency officially expired. The end of the state of emergency triggered a 90-day final grace period in which the foreclosure and eviction protections provided by House Bill No. 340 remain in effect. Accordingly, the borrower and tenant protections deriving from HB 340 are set to expire on Sept. 29.