Foreclosure Relief During the Covid 19 Outbreak In Georgia

The covid 19 pandemic has led to many health and economic challenges, foreclosure numbers are at an all time high as most homeowners are falling back on their mortgage payment. The public is asked to take measures like social distancing to ensure the safety of the population and to slow the spread of the pandemic. As a result, there was a closure of schools, shops, and many industries, quarantines, people being asked to work from home, illness and other factors related to COVID-19 has rendered many people in the US to lose their jobs, housing insecurities for many due to loss of income. Due to the pandemic some companies, localities, and states imposed foreclosure moratorium for some kinds of loans in some areas. Courts shut down to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and foreclosure hearings were also postponed as part of the process.

The government of the united states signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law, which provides funds to assist homeowners to catch up with the mortgage payment and other related expenditures. In addition to the protections against foreclosure under the state. The Consumer  Financial Protection Bureau signed a rule which makes it mandatory for homeowners affected by the coronavirus pandemic to be assisted by loan servicers like banks to receive loan assistance. The rule ensured that borrowers get opportunities to avoid foreclosure by getting chances to loss mitigation options. The government of many states implements their utility shutoff and eviction moratorium laws along with foreclosure bans. This protection offered by many states simply suspends the lenders and landlords from evicting their tenants during the foreclosure ban period it does not relieve borrowers and tenants from paying mortgages or rents. For the borrowers and the tenants to be relieved under the moratorium and eviction laws, the tenants have to always comply with the required documents or notice.

To solve the housing crises the federal government implemented a protection program for tenants and mortgage borrowers under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act(CARES). According to the protection program a 60 days suspension of foreclosure procedure homeowners that are backed by federal mortgages who are behind payment.  

Additional protection was made available for tenants in properties backed by a mortgage from the housing Administration, the US Department of Agriculture, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and the Veterans Administration. This action gives relief to many debtors who were in a procedure for foreclosure, which the forbearance lasts for a year after that there is a loan modification that will change the loan permanently. According to the program, if the property backed by the mortgage from the US Department of Agriculture or the Veterans Administration contain more than five units, in which the landlord has received a forbearance on the mortgage, they are prohibited from evicting tenants for the late fees or unpaid rent or charge any fee or penalty for late paying of rent. When the forbearance period ends the landlord is required to provide a 30-day notice when asking tenants to vacate.

Homeowners that have a federally guaranteed mortgage are protected by the state to a certain extent. These mortgages account for more than two-thirds of the total residential mortgage loans across all the states in the US.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency placed a moratorium on new and ongoing foreclosure actions on loans of Federal Housing Finance Agency insured single-family and home equity mortgage. However, the foreclosure moratorium does not apply to abandoned or vacant properties. The moratorium also ceased evictions of families living in FHA-insured single-family properties, but actions to evict persons living in abandoned or legal vacant properties were excluded.

From summer 2021, a foreclosure protection program was announced by federal agencies which contain additional measures to help house owners with government-backed mortgages who are suffering from job loss or income loss and other negative effects caused by the COVID 19 pandemic. Moreover, the federal government allocates around ten billion to homeowners assistance funds. The purpose of the program is to provide funds that will help homeowners to catch up with overdue mortgages and utility payments and other housing expenditures so they can be able to stay in their homes and be relieved of foreclosure. The homeowner funds are distributed from the housing finance agency in most states.

Foreclosure moratorium varies from one state to another. Many local authorities of every state have enacted their policies based on their goals and timelines for the reopening of the state to normal activities. Some states freeze the foreclose procedures preventing landlords from evicting their tenants, and also courts actions that are required for their authorization.

Due to the covid 19 pandemic, the state policymakers in Georgia, and local leaders have taken certain actions to assist those with low or no income due to the global pandemic. By promoting house security and temporarily ban the foreclosure process and eviction as thousands of people find it difficult to pay their mortgage during the pandemic. The coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act in Georgia signed a law on March 25 that included a temporary moratorium on eviction filling for 120 days just for rental properties that receive federal financial assistance to help the people reduce the burden of foreclosure. For the government of the state of Georgia to help the people  to manage some losses caused by the  COVID 19 pandemic, they have provided some protections programs to house owners, tenants, and borrowers include:

Eviction Protection: The  Georgia Rental Assistance Program provides up to 12 months of rental assistance to people owing to their rents due to the Covid 19 pandemic. These payments are made directly to service providers and landlords on behave of the tenant.

Mortgage/ foreclosure Relief: There has been no statewide policy halting the foreclosure procedures in the state of Georgia, individual mortgages lenders and housing agencies may be will to negotiate forbearance or loan modification to help their clients to combat the losses caused by the corona virus outbreak.

Utility shutoff Protections: There is no statewide moratorium on shutoffs in the state of Georgia, but the Georgia public service commission list of utility assistance programs is made available for customers.


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