Last update: March 20, 2020
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to shut down U.S. cities and forces individuals into semi-isolation, some people are already out of work for the foreseeable future and others are likely to become so. How will those suddenly without income be able to keep a roof over their heads?
The federal government and states are starting to step in to provide protection for homeowners and renters. These initiatives are in their early stages and as COVID-19’s economic impact spreads, these relief programs will likely spread too.
This list will be updated regularly as new programs and initiatives come on line.
Federal Relief Programs
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was ordered by President Trump on March 18 to suspend evictions and foreclosures for the next 60 days. The moratorium only applies to homeowners with mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), a part of HUD that insures home loans made by FHA-approved lenders. The moratorium only covers FHA mortgages for single family homes.
The order not only prevents new foreclosure actions but also suspends all foreclosure actions currently in process.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which oversees Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan banks, is providing payment forbearance to borrowers impacted by the coronavirus for up to 12 months due to hardship.
Secretary of HUD Ben Carson said in a tweet Thursday that HUD is working with Congress to prevent evictions in public housing programs. There are no specific details available yet.
State Mortgage Relief Programs
Some states are beginning to implement relief measures for homeowners affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. While some individual states are halting evictions and foreclosures, mortgage and rent payments might still need to be made. Many state officials say these measures are in flux and will change over time.
(State-specific information is being added as new programs are announced. Bookmark this post for future reference.)
California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order halting all evictions during the pandemic. The order is in effect through May 31, with the option of being extended, and halts evictions for both renters and homeowners. The order does not relieve a tenant from paying rent, and a landlord still has the ability to recover rent that is due. However, individuals cannot be evicted from their home for nonpayment.
The order also requests that financial institutions halt foreclosure activity and protects against utility shutoffs for individuals affected by COVID-19.
The Delaware Justice of the Peace Court has postponed all landlord and tenant proceedings until after May 1. This includes any eviction proceedings.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has announced that no residential eviction proceedings or foreclosure actions can be initiated during the state of emergency—however, individuals still need to pay their rent or mortgage. Indiana’s current state of emergency ends on April 5 but will be extended an additional 30 days.
Additionally, essential utility companies (gas, electric, broadband, telecom, water and wastewater services) are prohibited from discontinuing service during the public health emergency.
Kansas has temporarily prohibited evictions and foreclosures across the state. There will be no mortgage foreclosure efforts or judicial proceedings, and now residential eviction efforts, until May 1, 2020.
The Kentucky Supreme Court has cancelled all eviction proceedings until April 10. This cancellation does not apply to cases already sent to the sheriff’s office to be executed.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has banned eviction completely for the duration of the state of emergency. Hogan also is preventing utility companies from shutting off service due to lack of payment or from charging late fees. The utility protections include electric, gas, water, sewage, phone, cable TV and internet services.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on March 19 that mortgage payments will be suspended for 90 days based on financial hardship for borrowers due to the effects of the coronavirus. Cuomo is also temporarily postponing or suspending foreclosures. Evictions are suspended until further notice. New York relief for renters has not yet been announced.
On March 16, North Carolina announced it is stopping eviction and foreclosure hearings for the next 30 days. Eviction orders already in the system will be carried out unless courts step in; one sheriff is already requesting courts to stop eviction orders already handed down by judges, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Private Mortgage Relief Programs
In addition to federal- and state-specific efforts, banks are offering relief to mortgage customers affected by coronavirus, including:
Ally Bank is allowing existing customers to defer mortgage payments for up to 120 days. No late fees will be charged, but interest will accrue.
Bank of America
Bank of America mortgage customers who find themselves struggling financially due to coronavirus can defer their payments; this applies to both mortgages and home equity loans. To defer payments, mortgage holders need to request deferment directly through the bank and the waived payments will be added to the end of their loan term.
As of now, there are no guidelines in place on how many payments can be waived or for how long. The deferments will be approved on a case-by-case basis.
Some mortgage customers may be eligible for a hardship program through Cenlar FSB, the bank’s service provider. For assistance, call Cenlar FSB at 855-839-6253 (Mon–Fri, 8:30 a.m.–8 p.m. ET or Sat, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. ET).