LIEB BLOG

How current events impact business & real estate

Showing posts with label cdc. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cdc. Show all posts

Friday, August 27, 2021

Evictions Evictions - Get Your Evictions - US Supreme Court Opens the Floodgates

On August 27, 2021, the US Supreme Court opened the floodgates for evictions throughout the United States in the case of Alabama Association of Realtors v. DHHS


Landlords, have you called your attorney yet to start the eviction process? 

Investors, are you ready for the housing market to swing because of a flood of inventory? 

Tenants, have you started to make moving arrangements and tried to settle your arrears for less money? 


Wow, can you feel that tsunami coming? 


Make no mistake, this is the first domino to fall in our housing market's shift into a buyer's market on fundamentals. Are you ready? 


For the legal context of what transpired, the CDC had issued a moratorium on evictions in counties with substantial or high levels of COVID-19, which we explained here. That moratorium was thrown-out by the District Court for the District of Columbia, but that Court knew that the issue would get to the Supreme Court so they stayed (a/k/a, paused) the effectiveness of their Order overturning the moratorium until the Supreme Court could weigh-in, which we explained here. Now, the Supreme Court has weighed-in and the eviction moratorium is ineffective, unlawful, and unenforceable. 


To be clear, the Supreme Court did not weigh-in on the policy of an eviction moratorium. They didn't rule as to whether it is a good idea, good policy, or needed for our country. Instead, the Supreme Court ruled "that the statute on which the CDC relies does not grant it the authority it claims." In plain language, the eviction moratorium was thrown-out because the CDC's basis for imposing the moratorium does not afford it that power.


You see, Executive Branch agencies, like the CDC, can't do whatever they want. They need power before they act, which comes from Congress. Without that power, they can't do anything. They can't issue regulations, rules, or directives. This power, called an enabling statute, was missing from the eviction moratorium, according to the Supreme Court, which explained that the power relied upon by the CDC was meant "to implement measures like fumigation and pest extermination," not eviction moratoriums. According to the Supreme Court, "our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends." 


Knowing that, you should be wondering if Congress will act and impose its own eviction moratorium? 


For landlords, investors, and tenants that is a really important question given that the Supreme Court acknowledged, in its decision, that "[a]t least 80% of the country, including between 6 and 17 million tenants at risk of eviction, [fell] within the moratorium." 


However, we doubt that Congress will issue another moratorium because it can't get anything done with its division in the Senate. Further, the Supreme Court reminded Congress, in its decision, that a federal "moratorium intrudes into an area that is the particular domain of state law: the landlord-tenant relationship." 


As a result, evictions are about to flood the court systems. Are you ready for the eviction tsunami? 




Thursday, August 19, 2021

Federal Judge allows CDC Eviction Moratorium to Remain in Effect

On August, 13, 2021, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich held that the CDC eviction moratorium, which was extended by the Biden Administration through October 3, 2021 (“New CDC Moratorium”) should remain in effect.

This means that tenants may still be protected, subject to certain rules, until October 3, 2021.

As background, the CDC’s previous moratorium, which was first enacted in September 2020 and was challenged all the way up the US Supreme Court, expired on July 31, 2021.

Yet, before it expired the Supreme Court upheld its effectiveness until an appeal was decided on its merits, which remains pending. Now, the moratorium, which we discuss more fully here, remains in effect because Judge Friedrich ruled that it remains subject to the prior stay. on the basis that the New CDC Moratorium is subject to the D.C. Circuit Court’s stay.

Stay tuned for changes as Judge Friedrich’s decision is currently under appeal.


Friday, August 13, 2021

U.S. Supreme Court Allows NYS Landlords to Resume Evictions

The U.S. Supreme Court blocked part of New York’s eviction moratorium, specifically Part A of the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Protection Act of 2020 (CEEFPA), which imposed a moratorium on evictions for tenants who provide their landlord with a signed hardship declaration. What this means is that New York State landlords can now resume their eviction matters.

As a reminder, CEEFPA allowed tenants to simply sign and provide a Hardship Declaration to their landlords to halt any eviction proceeding against them. The Supreme Court found that this self-certification by the tenant and CEEFPA’s limited avenue for a landlord to challenge the tenant’s declaration “violates the Court’s longstanding teaching that ordinarily ‘no man can be a judge in his own case.’”

The Supreme Court’s decision is a big win for landlords and it came at a time when everyone is wondering whether CEEFPA’s eviction moratorium, which was set to expire on August 31, 2021, would be extended. However, New York landlord-tenant courts and county sheriffs have yet to implement rules which reflect the Supreme Court’s decision. We’ll keep you posted.

Although the New York eviction moratorium is now essentially nonexistent, it should be noted that the CDC moratorium is still in place until October 3, 2021. However, with the CDC moratorium basically having the same framework as CEEFPA, it's possible that it will also come under the same scrutiny as CEEFPA and also be struck down. What do you think?



Thursday, August 05, 2021

CDC's Latest Eviction Moratorium - Applies to Counties with Red / Orange COVID on Map

On August 3, 2021, CDC issued its latest eviction moratorium to address the rise of the Delta variant. 


Here is what landlords and tenants need to know about the moratorium:

    1. It only applies to residential housing;
    2. The moratorium only applies where tenant(s) provide a declaration to their landlord(s);
    3. The Declaration is available here;
    4. The Declaration requires a sworn statement that the tenant(s):
        1. Have used best efforts to obtain all available governmental assistance; 
        2. Earned <=$99,000 in Calendar Year 2020 ($198,000 if filing jointly) with other financial options to qualify;
        3. Can't pay full rent because of stated work issues;
        4. Making best efforts to pay as much as possible of rent; 
        5. Would likely be homeless as a result of eviction; &
        6. Resides in substantial / high COVID county.
    5. Evictions are permitted for the following reasons:
        1. Engaging in criminal activity while on the premises;
        2. Threatening the health or safety of other residents;
        3. Damaging or posing an immediate & significant risk of damage to property;
        4. Violating any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation relating to health & safety; or
        5. Violating any other contractual obligation (other than rent payment). 
    6. Criminal penalties for violating this moratorium include a fine of <=$100,000 or one year in jail or both (<=$200,000 for organizations that violate the order). 

The counties subject to this Order can be found here - remember, the county must be an orange (substantial) or red (high) county for the moratorium to be applicable.




Friday, July 02, 2021

New Foreclosure Rule from CFPB

On June 28, 2021, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a final rule amending Regulation X of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) which aims to assist mortgage borrowers with a COVID-19 related hardship in seeking loss mitigation options and delaying foreclosure proceedings to encourage resolution of delinquencies through loan modification.
This Rule is going to make it harder for lenders to foreclose and cause more homeowners to enter a modification thereby avoiding foreclosure.

The Rule has 5 key parts:

  1. It imposes additional requirements before a mortgage servicer may make the first notice or filing required to commence a foreclosure proceeding due to default.
    • However, this requirement is only applicable if:
      • The borrower’s mortgage payment became more than 120 days delinquent on or after March 1, 2020; and
      • The statute of limitations applicable to the potential foreclosure action expires on or after January 1, 2022.
    • If the rule is applicable, mortgage servicers may commence a foreclosure only if:
      • The borrower has submitted a completed loss mitigation application and either:
        • The borrower is ineligible for any loss mitigation options and the borrowers’ appeal, if applicable, has been denied;
        • The borrower rejects all available options; or
        • The borrower fails to perform terms of an agreement on a loss mitigation option;
      • The subject property is abandoned as defined, under state or municipal law; or
      • The servicer has conducted specified outreach and the borrower is unresponsive to such outreach.
    • This requirement expire on January 1, 2022, and thus, mortgage servicers shall be free to commence foreclosure proceedings after such date.
  2. It provides specific limitations for loan modifications, including:
    • A modification may not cause an increase in mortgage principal and interest payments, and may not extend the life of the loan by more than 480 months from the date of the loan modification;
    • A loan modification may not charge or accrue interest on deferred payments, which are not due until the mortgage loan is refinanced, the property is sold, the loan modification matures, or the mortgage insurance is terminated (if the loan is insured by FHA);
    • Modification MUST be made available to borrowers experiencing COVID-19 related hardships;
    • Borrower’s acceptance of a permanent modification, after a trial modification plan, ends any preexisting delinquency on the mortgage; and
    • No fees may be charged in connection with a modification and all existing late charges, penalties, stop payment fees, or similar charges incurred on or after March 1, 2020, shall be waived.
  3. Imposes additional live contact early intervention obligations on servicers to discuss specific COVID-19 related relief:
    • Applies to:
      • A borrower who is not in a forbearance program; or
      • A borrower who is near the end of a forbearance program based on a COVID-19 related hardship.
      • These requirements expire on October 1, 2022.
  4. Requires the servicer to contact the borrower, within 30 days before the end of the forbearance period, if the borrower remains delinquent, and inquire if the borrower wants to complete a loss mitigation application.
  5. Defines COVID-19-related hardship to mean “a financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the national emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic declared in Proclamation 9994 on March 13, 2020 (beginning on March 1, 2020) and continued on February 24, 2021, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)).”

The Rule does not take effect until August 31, 2021. That being said, borrowers should be aware that the CFPB foreclosure moratorium expired on June 30, 2021 and the CDC foreclosure moratoriums for FHA, HUD, VA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac loans ends on July 31, 2021 and to contact their mortgage servicers as soon as possible to inquire about available loss mitigation options.