There's no doubt that 2020 has been a stressful year for most of us, mostly thanks to COVID-19 and its resulting changes in the way we live and interact with one another. Many people took a big financial hit due to illness, businesses being closed down, and reduced working hours or job loss. Unfortunately, it isn't over yet.
Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the issuance of an Order under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act to temporarily halt residential evictions. Note that this is a temporary halt - meaning that it will end. This order is an attempt to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. It doesn't mean that any payments you owe are waived, and it doesn't mean you won't owe late fees.
The Order is effective from 9/4/2020 until 12/31/2020, which means that it will be ending in just a few short weeks. This is cause for concern for many, as the moratorium will also end on foreclosures, and people need money that, in some cases, they won't have.
So what should you do if you're in this situation?
- Communicate with your landlord or lender about the situation. We are all experiencing this pandemic in different ways, and both landlords and lenders are human beings just like you are. They very likely don't want to evict you, and would be happy to work with you however they can.
- Get help. This goes back to communicating with your lender or land lord. Getting assistance can seem pretty overwhelming, especially if you've never been in this situation before, but your land lord or lender can often point you in the right direction. Remember, they don't want to evict you - if you've lost income, so have they! You can also reach out to others in your community that are experiencing the same thing for support, advice, and how to begin.
- HUD-assisted tenants can report decreases in wages, hours, and income so that income-based rent payments can possibly be temporarily decreased, and housing subsidies can be temporarily increased (source: Resources for Renters (link will open in a new window)). If you are eligible to take advantage of this, do it.
- Don't expect this to just go away - it won't! As mentioned before, the Order doesn't waive rent or mortgage payments and doesn't stop evictions for good. It's a temporary solution to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and you will still owe money for the months you couldn't pay before. If you want to keep your home, you will need to be proactive in seeking assistance and doing all you can to prevent losing it.
- Did you purchase a home through us on Owner Financing? If you did, and you're struggling, please call us so that we can talk about what options are available to you. We are always happy to help our clients whenever possible.
There is hope, and there is help. We are all in this together, after all!
Some resources that might be helpful: