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posted Friday, February 19, 2021 - Volume 40 Issue 08
Biden extends foreclosure moratorium
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Biden extends foreclosure moratorium

Renters not covered, but OK through March

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

There is good news out of Washington, DC for people struggling to pay their mortgages: President Biden extended the ban on mortgage foreclosures to June 30.

Census Bureau figures show that almost 12% of homeowners-or 10 million people-were behind on their mortgage payments.

Biden's action did not extend a moratorium on rental evictions, which is due to expire March 31. The Washington state eviction moratorium is also due to expire at the end of March.

The White House announced on February 16 that coordinated actions by the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs, and Agriculture will:

" extend to June 30 the enrollment window for borrowers who want to request mortgage payment forbearance-in other words, a pause or reduction in payments, and

" provide up to six additional months of forbearance for borrowers who entered forbearance on or before June 30 of last year.

The White House says that Biden's actions are to help keep people in their homes amid "a housing affordability crisis" triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. "[H]omeowners will receive urgently needed relief as we face this unprecedented national emergency," the White House added.

Biden's administration says extending forbearance policies "will provide critical support to homeowners of color, who make up a disproportionate share of borrowers" having trouble paying their loans because of hardships related to the pandemic.

Washington state renters Washington Gov. Jay Inslee extended the state's moratorium on evictions at literally the last minute-just as it was about to expire on January 1. The moratorium now extends through the end of March.

"COVID-19 has had a significant financial impact on Washingtonians over the last nine months," Inslee said.

"I know this moratorium has been critical for many families and individuals as they cope with the impacts of this virus. People need certainty about whether the moratorium will be extended, and it is important that I provide that certainty today while we work out the final details of the moratorium."

The eviction moratorium began in March 2020 and has been extended three times since. The moratorium bars landlords, property owners, and property managers from serving evictions due to unpaid rent, unless there is "a significant and immediate risk to the health, safety, or property of others created by the resident."

While tenants are still on the hook for any rent payments they skipped during the moratorium, the governor's order requires landlords to offer rental re-payment plans that are "reasonable based on the individual financial, health, and other circumstances of that resident."

It is unclear whether Inslee will extend the eviction moratorium yet again. If he does not, the state may see a landslide of evictions, as landlords try to get rid of tenants left unemployed by the pandemic.

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