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Federal Foreclosure and Eviction Moratoriums During COVID-19 Crisis

Date: 
03/20/2020
Author: 
National Housing Law Project
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On March 18, 2020, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) would institute an immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single-family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages. President Donald Trump's reference to HUD's temporary suspension of "all foreclosures and evictions" was a reference to HUD's March 18 announcement. 

Who is Protected?

The moratorium applies to homeowners with FHA-insured Title II Single Family forward and Home Equity Conversion (reverse) mortgages. During the moratorium, mortgage servicers must halt the initiation of all new foreclosure actions, suspend all foreclosure actions currently in process, and stop all evictions of persons living in properties with FHA-insured single-family mortgages. The moratorium will expire sixty (60) days after the March 18 announcement.  

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have also suspended foreclosures and evictions for sixty (60) days for Enterprise-backed mortgages. "Enterprise-backed" means owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, as indicated here for Fannie Mae or here for Freddie Mac.

The United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development (RD) has also implemented a foreclosure and eviction moratorium for USDA Single-Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program (SFHGLP) mortgages and single-family direct home mortgages. During the moratorium, mortgage servicers must halt the initiation of all new foreclosure actions, suspend all foreclosure actions currently in process, and stop all evictions of persons living in properties with SFHGLP and direct mortgages. The moratorium will expire sixty (60) days after their announcement. 

Who is Not Protected?

These moratoriums do not protect homeowners with other types of mortgages, including other federally-insured mortgages and privately owned mortgages not backed or insured by the FHA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac.

These moratoriums also do not protect tenants who live in properties with those other types of mortgages or in units assisted by HUD or RD rental programs or Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. Almost all federal housing tenants are still left unprotected.

As of March 20, 2020, the federal government has not announced any other foreclosure or eviction moratoriums or restrictions, although future federal action may be forthcoming. Both HUD and RD have encouraged federally-subsidized rental housing providers to exercise practices that would avoid evictions. However, both agencies should fully exercise their current authority to protect assisted-families from evictions during the COVID-19 crisis.   

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