COVID-19 Updates: Home Preservation

Home Preservation

Evictions: (May 30th) Evictions are postponed in Mecklenburg until July 1st. The postponement is due to summary ejectments being diverted to pre-trial mediation through the City of Charlotte’s Community Relations Department mediation program.

In most other counties across the state, evictions are postponed until June 20th per Gov. Cooper’s order. June 20th is a Saturday, thus, practically, the first summary ejectment proceedings will occur on June 22nd. According to Gov. Cooper’s most recent Executive Order for rent owed between May 30 and June 20, 2020, your landlord is required to give you six months to pay the rent, and cannot charge late fees for rent owed during that period. During the six month period, the Landlord cannot move to evict you based on non-payment of the June rent. This does not prevent the landlord to for moving to evict a tenant for a reason other than non-payment. Additionally, a landlord may be able to evict a tenant for rent that is owed prior to May 30th.

The Order’s evictions moratorium:

  • Is effective immediately and lasts for 3 weeks;
  • Would prevent landlords from initiating summary ejections or other eviction proceedings against a tenant for nonpayment or late payment of rent;
  • Prevents landlords from assessing late fees or other penalties for late or nonpayment;
  • Prevents the accumulation of additional interest, fees, or other penalties for existing late fees while this Order is in effect;
  • Requires landlords to give tenants a minimum of six months to pay outstanding rent;
  • Requires leases to be modified to disallow evicting tenants for reasons of late or nonpayments; and
  • Makes clear that evictions for reasons related to health and safety can take place.

Presently, a separate Executive Order from Gov. Cooper prevents water, gas, and electric providers to shut off any utility service or charge you a late fee if you do not pay your utilities during this coronavirus crisis. This rule is effective through July 29, 2020. Not included in the moratorium against utility shut offs are phone and internet access.

The Order’s utility shutoff moratorium:

  • Continues effective immediately and lasts 60 days;
  • Prohibits utility disconnections for all customers;
  • Prohibits billing or collection of late fees, penalties, and other charges for failure to pay; and
  • Extends repayment plans at least six months, and sets the default term for repayment to six months for cases when the utility and customer cannot agree on the terms of an extended repayment plan.

Read more about the moratorium on utility shutoffs.

Evictions from hotels/motels: (April 3) N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein is protecting residents who live in hotels or motels as their primary residence from being evicted by reminding businesses that they need to follow the law. New eviction proceedings are on hold in N.C. courts (see below). Stein reminded businesses that trying to evict guests without a court order is a violation of N.C. landlord-tenant and consumer protection laws.

Read more

Eviction and Foreclosure in N.C. courts: (May 20) From the Office of the Clerk of Superior Court, Mecklenburg County: “Given ongoing concerns about COVID-19, a soft reopening of Mecklenburg County Courts will begin on June 1, 2020.  Mecklenburg County Courts will employ a phased-approach in which courtroom operations will expand based on priorities set forth by Chief Justice Beasley.

Effective immediately, the Office of the Clerk of Superior Court will cancel all standing foreclosure blocks for Deeds of Trust and Claims of Lien.  All foreclosure hearings currently scheduled for dates in June 2020 will be continued.  Trustees and Substitute Trustees should not schedule any new matters for June 2020 or in their former standing foreclosure blocks

The Clerk’s Judicial Hearings Team is crafting a plan to hear continued matters in July 2020  and to identify future dates for new foreclosure actions. The new hearing dates will be based on courtroom availability, occupancy limits, and other safety protocols. Trustees can expect to receive new scheduling guidelines on or before June 5, 2020.”

(April 3) North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cherie Beasley has extended postponement of court cases in district and superior court to June 1, 2020.

(March 20) North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cherie Beasley directed local courts to postpone most cases in district and superior court for at least 30 days beginning March 17, 2020. This includes halting evictions and foreclosures during this time of uncertainty. In keeping with a new order extending the postponement, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office has announced it will not enforce court-ordered evictions until April 17, 2020.

HUD Suspends all foreclosures for 60 days: (March 18) U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) authorized the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to direct mortgage servicers to halt all new foreclosure actions and suspend all foreclosure actions currently in process for homeowners with FHA-insured Title II Single Family forward and Home Equity Conversion (reverse) mortgages for the next 60 days. See HUD’s website for more information.

Guidance for homeowners with federally guaranteed mortgages through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: (March 18)

Fannie Mae Assistance Options for Homeowners Impacted by COVID-19

Fannie Mae’s guidelines for single-family mortgages:

  • Homeowners impacted by the emergency may request mortgage assistance by contacting their mortgage servicer;
  • Foreclosure sales and evictions of borrowers are suspended for 60 days;
  • Impacted homeowners are eligible for a forbearance plan to reduce or suspend their mortgage payments for up to 12 months;
  • Credit bureau reporting of past due payments of borrowers in a forbearance plan as a result of hardships attributable to the emergency is suspended; and
  • Homeowners in a forbearance plan will not incur late fees.

After forbearance, a servicer must work with the borrower on a permanent plan to help maintain or reduce monthly payment amounts as necessary, including a loan modification.

Through its Disaster Response Network, Fannie Mae also offers help to homeowners with a Fannie Mae-owned mortgage who are navigating the broader financial effects of this national emergency, including:

  • A needs assessment and personalized recovery plan;
  • Help requesting financial relief from insurance, servicers, and other sources; and
  • Web resources and ongoing guidance from experienced disaster relief advisors

Homeowners can find out if they have a Fannie Mae-owned mortgage and access to the Disaster Response Network here.

Homeowners can contact Fannie Mae directly at 1-800-2FANNIE (1-800-232-6643). Get more information about your options.

Freddie Mac Assistance Options for Homeowners Impacted by COVID-19

Freddie Mac’s guidelines for single-family mortgages:

  • Suspension of all foreclosure sales and evictions of borrowers living in homes owned by the company until May 17, 2020;
  • Expansion of its forbearance program, to incorporate additional impacted borrowers;
  • Ensuring payment relief by providing borrowers forbearance for up to 12 months;
  • Waiving assessments of penalties or late fees against borrowers;
  • Suspending the reporting of delinquency related to forbearance, repayment, or trial plans to credit bureaus;
  • Allowing servicers to offer borrowers additional loss mitigation options that are typically only enacted to address natural disasters, including loan modifications that give servicers options to provide payment relief or keep the payment the same post the forbearance period; and
  • Offering forbearance eligibility regardless of whether property is owner occupied, a second home or, an investment property.

These measures apply to borrowers who are unable to make their mortgage payments due to a decline in income resulting from the impact of COVID-19, regardless of whether they have contracted the virus.

Forbearance plans provide borrowers with payment relief for up to 12-months and suspend borrower late charges and penalties. It also suspends reporting to credit bureaus of past due payments of borrowers who are in a forbearance plan as a result of hardships attributable to this national emergency.

Borrowers experiencing financial challenges due to COVID-19 should contact their mortgage servicer to discuss Freddie Mac workout options. Get more information on Freddie Mac mortgage relief.