Legal Analysts

Showing posts with label forbearance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label forbearance. Show all posts

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Forbearance and Foreclosure Freeze in Coronavirus Stimulus

On March 27, 2020, the historic stimulus package known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or “CARES” Act was enacted into law.

In addition to the relief enumerated in our recent blog (Nuts & Bolts of Stimulus Package - House Passes 2 Trillion Dollar Stimulus Package), the CARES Act also includes mortgage relief in the form of forbearance periods and foreclosure moratoriums for federally backed mortgages on 1-4 family homes and multifamily (5 or more) homes.

Which mortgages are covered?
  • Federally backed mortgage loans secured by a first or subordinate lien on residential real property (including individual units of condominiums and cooperatives) for 1- to 4-families and for on multifamily residential real property (5 or more dwelling units) are covered, these include loans:
  • insured by the Federal Housing Administration;
  • insured under section 255 of the National Housing Act;
  • guaranteed under section 184 or 184A of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992;
  • guaranteed or insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs;
  • guaranteed or insured by the Department of Agriculture;
  • made by the Department of Agriculture; or
  • purchased or securitized by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) or Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae).

What relief is available? 
For 1-4 family properties:
  • Forbearance period of 180 days, which may be extended for an additional 180 days, upon the borrower’s request;
  • No late fees, interest, or penalties during the forbearance period beyond those scheduled or calculated as if borrower is current on the mortgage; and
  • Foreclosure moratorium – servicers are prohibited from moving for a foreclosure judgment or order of sale, or execute a foreclosure-related eviction from March 18, 2020 to May 17, 2020;
For multifamily properties
  • Forbearance period of 30 days, which may be extended for up to 2 additional 30-day periods, upon the borrower’s request. Note that the forbearance is only applicable to multifamily mortgage loans that were current on payments as of February 1, 2020. Also, tenants may not be evicted nor issued a notice to vacate for nonpayment or late payment of rent during the forbearance period.
  • Foreclosure moratorium: servicers are prohibited from moving for a foreclosure judgment or order of sale, or execute a foreclosure-related eviction from March 18, 2020 to May 17, 2020. 

What is the process for requesting a forbearance?
  • For 1-4 family properties: Requests for a forbearance may be made by submitting a borrower’s attestation to a financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 emergency. No other documentation is required for the initial 180-day forbearance to be granted.
  • For multifamily properties: Requests for a forbearance may be submitted to the servicer orally or in writing, through an affirmation that the multifamily borrower is experiencing a financial hardship during the COVID-19 emergency.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Podcast | Foreclosure Avoidance Through Forbearance Negotiations

Businesses devastated by quarantine should proactively negotiate forbearances with their lenders to avoid foreclosure and monetary judgments.

Click here to listen to the Podcast

NYS 90-Day Mortgage Relief Plan – DFS Regulation Issued

On March 24, 2020, the details of NYS’ COVID-19 mortgage help came to light.

Specifically, the New York State Department of Financial Services promulgated 3 NYCRR 119 in response to Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.9.

Here is a Q&A about the details

What is the COVID-19 Relief Program?
The COVID-19 Relief Program requires DFS regulated institutions to make applications for a 90-day forbearance of any payment due on a residential mortgage of New York Property to individuals residing in New York and who demonstrates financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How long is the Program effective?
The Program shall be in effect until June 19, 2020, but may be extended if necessary.

Are mortgage payments waived under the Program?
The Program does not expressly require institutions to waive mortgage payments.

When can a borrower apply for the Program?
On or before April 3, 2020, regulated institutions are required to e-mail, publish on their website, mass mail, or broadly communicate to customers how to apply for COVID-19 relief and provide their contact information.

Which institutions are covered under the Program?
DFS-regulated institutions are covered under the Program. They are New York regulated banking organizations covered by the New York Banking Law and all New York regulated mortgage servicers regulated by DFS. This means that the program does not cover National Association lenders (federally charted banks). The Program does not apply to mortgage loans made, insured, or securitized by the United States, Government Sponsored Enterprise, Federal Home Loan Bank, and lenders, issuers, servicers or trustees of such loans, as well as, servicers for the Government National Mortgage Associations.

Does the Program cover commercial loans?
The Program does not apply to any commercial mortgage or other loans not described in 3 NYCRR 119.

Aside from a 90-day forbearance, is there additional relief available under the Program?
From today until June 19, 2020, or until extended, lenders will provide the following relief to individuals who experience financial hardship from COVID-19:
  • Waive fees for use of automated teller machines (ATMs);
  • Waive overdraft fees; and
  • Waive credit card late payment fees.
Institutions are not limited to offering the above types of relief and are encouraged to take additional reasonable and prudent actions to COVID-19 affected individuals.

Who is qualified to receive COVID-19 relief?
Regulated institutions must develop their own clear, easy to understand, and reasonably tailored criteria for assessing qualified individuals. The qualifications and process for applying for relief should be published by institutions on or before April 3, 2020.

How are applications processed under the Program?
Regulated institutions are required to develop and implement procedures for expedited processing where they must process and respond to requests immediately and no later than 10 days of receipt of all information reasonably required to process the application. All determinations must be communicated to the applicant in writing and must explain the reasons if the application was denied and a statement that the applicant may file a complaint with DFS if he believes the application was wrongly denied.

Is the Program ready to launch?
More clarity concerning the Program is expected once regulated institutions have published their process for applying for relief. Individuals who are seeking mortgage assistance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are encouraged retain counsel as soon as possible to negotiate with their mortgage lenders or servicers. Don’t assume you qualify and get all terms in writing before you stop making mortgage payments.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

NYS Mortgage Relief Plans Becomes Clearer, BUT Not Enough

On March 21, 2020, the Governor issued NYS Executive Order 202.9, which provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
Subdivision two of Section 39 of the Banking Law is hereby modified to provide that it shall be deemed an unsafe and unsound business practice if, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, any bank which is subject to the jurisdiction of the Department shall not grant a forbearance to any person or business who has a financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic for a period of ninety days... The Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services shall ensure under reasonable and prudent circumstances that any licensed or regulated entities provide to any consumer in the State of New York an opportunity for a forbearance of payments for a mortgage for any person or entity facing a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Superintendent shall promulgate emergency regulations to require that the application for such forbearance be made widely available for consumers, and such application shall be granted in all reasonable and prudent circumstances solely for the period of such emergency. 
While a cursory reading shows that mortgage help is on the way, many uncertainties remain, including:

  • What does subject to the jurisdiction of the Department mean in the Order? Specifically, there are two charting systems for banks; federal and state. The Federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency controls federally chartered banks pursuant to the National Bank Act. Generally, you can tell that a bank is federally chartered because it has the initials N.A. after its name. As a result, NYS doesn't have jurisdiction over federally chartered banks so how does this work if you have a loan through a federal bank like many NYS residents do?
  • When is the Superintendent promulgating emergency regulations and how are consumers going to understand those regulations if attorneys at law were not labeled as essential services under the quarantine and therefore are becoming less available by the minute? Yes, some law firms are open and working remotely, but for how long with many clerks' offices closed and all court deadlines tolled (yesterday's Executive Order 202.8), including "any specific time limit for the commencement, filing, or service of any legal action, notice, motion, or other process or proceeding."
  • By adding the words business & entity, is it intended that this applies to both residential and commercial property?
  • Is there a limit on the amount of the mortgage for this to be applicable?
  • After the forbearance is over, what happens to the money deferred (i.e., back end balloon, recapitalized, ballooned immediately, something else)?
  • Will the Superintendent of DFS be answering these questions or someone else; plus, will the answers be part of a regulation or just advisory? 
Please don't misunderstand this post. We 100% support the quarantine and also support the forbearance. Instead, this blog is designed to prevent further hardship to the vulnerable who take a leap of faith on their mortgage without first researching facts.

Get facts before you act and the facts aren't out yet - so, CONTINUE PAYING YOUR MORTGAGE for now.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Coronavirus & Foreclosure: It's about to get real

With quarantine, foreclosures are next.

We are heading for a recession and possibly a depression the likes of which we haven't seen before.

Jobs are going to be lost, tenants aren't going to pay rent, mortgage payments are going to be missed and banks will have no choice but to start to pursue foreclosure.

If you are currently in a foreclosure proceeding, you should know that the courts have just rescheduled (adjourned) all foreclosure settlement conferences (CPLR 3408) for at least 45 days while they work on new orders and directives for the process.

This is going to be a mess.

If you are concerned about your mortgage, you need to act immediately and negotiate a forbearance (i.e., banks often agree to refrain from pursuing a foreclosure for a period of time for no or reduced payments) with a lender before going into default.

Get ready - the next foreclosure crisis is here.