As agencies extend moratorium, some states move to allow evictions again

For some renters grappling with financial issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, whether or not they get evicted may depend on what state they live in and what kind of mortgage their rental is under.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced on Thursday that it is extending the suspensions of foreclosures and evictions on properties with government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) mortgages through at least June 30. Likewise, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reveal that it is doing the same for properties with mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

Evictions and foreclosures on such properties had been suspended by HUD and the GSEs until May 17, but with coronavirus continuing to wreak havoc on the economy and requests for unemployment benefits still rising, each agency decided to extend its moratorium.

“For those among the over 8.1 million single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages who need assistance, our highest priority is to ensure that they have the time through the foreclosure moratorium, and the assistance they need through special COVID-19 mortgage forbearance, to remain in their homes long-term,” said HUD Deputy Secretary and Federal Housing Commissioner Brian Montgomery.

“At the same time, extending our policy flexibilities will ensure that affordable FHA-insured mortgage financing continues to remain available to support first-time and other homebuyers, and the nation’s housing market.”

But in some states, renters whose residences have mortgages that aren’t backed by the government could soon be finding themselves needing a new place to stay.

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After a two-month freeze, evictions and foreclosures are set to resume today in South Carolina as the state continues to reopen. The moratorium, which covered all properties against evictions for unpaid rent, was initially set to terminate at the end of April, but was extended by the state’s Supreme Court. Despite urging from affordable housing advocates for another extension, the state decided to let the stay expire, citing recent aid measures enacted for homeowners and renters.

Similarly, the Texas Supreme Court has ordered that evictions can resume after a temporary freeze was lifted. Eviction proceedings in Texas can now start as soon as Tuesday, with writs authorizing evictions allowed starting a week later.

Notably, some local governments in the state have extended their eviction protections beyond the Texas Supreme Court’s expiring moratorium. This includes some of the most populous areas of the state, including Austin, Dallas, and the counties surrounding San Antonio, El Paso and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

And others can fall back on the federal eviction moratorium enacted through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, provided their residence is eligible. That moratorium covers most federally assisted rental housing programs as well as properties with federally backed mortgages. The stay for those properties effectively lasts until Aug. 23 — 120 days past the moratorium’s enactment on March 27, plus 30 days after a notice of eviction is provided.

Not all states are following suit and lifting their eviction freezes just yet. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer just this week extended the state’s eviction suspension until June 11, while Florida Gov. Ron deSantis prolonged that state’s eviction stay until June 2. Earlier in the month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended New York’s eviction moratorium until Aug. 20.


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