Foreclosures Frozen Amid Coronavirus Outbreak


It may have taken longer for the coronavirus to reach the United States than other countries but, now that it has, it is hitting the entire country extremely hard. People are being asked to stay home, distance themselves socially from others, and more businesses are shutting down every day in an effort to contain the spread.

This has placed great hardship on a number of people in Florida and throughout the rest of the country. When people cannot go to work, they cannot earn a living, and that means that they cannot pay for their everyday expenses, like their mortgages. Now, for some homeowners who are worried they are going to lose their home as a result, there is hope: foreclosures on FHA loans are frozen for at least 60 days.

The Federal Announcement

It was the third weekend in March when President Trump announced a freeze on foreclosures involving an FHA loan for at least 60 days. The announcement was in response to the coronavirus and the millions of Americans who cannot pay their mortgages due to layoffs and self-isolation. Homeowners who have an FHA loan have been encouraged to contact their mortgage lenders to talk about a forbearance on their loans and what they may expect in the future.

Some banks have already made their own announcements regarding mortgages. Ally Bank announced that it would freeze foreclosures for 120 days, while the Bank of America said that it was also going to suspend mortgage payments for eligible borrowers, although no timeline was given for this freeze.

Evictions on Hold

It is not only homeowners who are being given a bit of relief during this difficult time. Renters are being given a hand as well. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have also stated that there is going to be a freeze on eviction movements until this latest financial crisis starts to come to a close.

Local sheriffs around the country, as well as around Florida, have also stated that they would not be serving eviction notices, and they would not be enforcing eviction orders. This will help some of the country’s and the state’s most vulnerable, as it is often low-income individuals who are in rental units and many of them are also currently unable to work.

Florida Takes Action

In addition to the moves being made on a federal level, Florida courthouses are also doing their part. Even before the federal announcement regarding foreclosures, some Florida courts announced that there was going to be a hold placed on all foreclosure and eviction hearings until at least early April. This is largely due to the fact that courthouses simply are not hearing cases that are considered non-urgent, which includes cases involving foreclosures and evictions. On March 9, Florida’s Supreme Court also declared a state of emergency, suspending all foreclosure sales.

Working to Avoid Another Financial Crisis

For many, especially in Florida, the thought of another financial crisis is too much to bear. Although much of the country has recovered from the crisis in 2008, Florida residents have only recently started getting back on their feet. The idea that something like the coronavirus could once again wipe out households–some that have just started to recover–is devastating. That is exactly what the freeze on foreclosures for FHA loans and evictions is trying to avoid.

During the financial crisis of 2008, many homeowners were unable to pay their mortgages, so lenders simply foreclosed on their homes. After all, lenders still had to pay their own mortgages and expenses, and it was really the only answer. However, by placing a freeze on foreclosures pertaining to FHA loans and evictions, many people will find  relief and, hopefully, there will be no need to take these severe actions.

Using Time Wisely

Even though foreclosures and evictions have been placed on hold for two months, it is still important that homeowners and renters use this time wisely. Simply because foreclosures are being put on hold certainly does not mean that homeowners should avoid paying their mortgage if they have means to do so.

Although foreclosures on FHA loans and evictions are on hold right now, the country will rebound from this crisis. When it does, mortgage lenders and landlords are not going to be as understanding, as their expenses will also come due and they will need a way to recover their losses. Homeowners and renters who still do not have the means to pay their foreclosures or back-rent may find themselves in real trouble, which is why those who can afford to continue making these payments should do so.

Now may also be a time to try and figure out a way to deal with an impending foreclosure. Sometimes there are solutions that will allow a homeowner to stay in their home, but those homeowners just need time to figure out a way to make that solution work. Now, they may find that they have this time. For example, maybe people have assets they can sell to help make up for missed mortgage payments, or maybe they can speak to a lawyer about negotiating a loan modification with their lender on the borrower’s behalf. Now is a great time to have teleconferences or video conferences with a lawyer to create a plan for what will happen once the freeze on foreclosures is lifted.

Our Florida Foreclosure Defense Lawyers can Help

If you are facing foreclosure, the current news about the freeze on foreclosures certainly allows for some breathing room. However, this freeze will not last forever and homeowners that are in fear of foreclosure must start to create a plan immediately. At Loan Lawyers, our Fort Lauderdale foreclosure defense lawyers are here to help. We can work with you to determine the best route to helping you stay in your home, and we will also negotiate with your lender on your behalf once the freeze is lifted. When you need help, call us at (954) 523-HELP (4357) or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with one of our attorneys and to learn more about how we can help.

Loan Lawyers has helped over 5,000 South Florida homeowners and consumers with their debt problems, we have saved over 2,000 homes from foreclosure, eliminated more than $100,000,000 in mortgage principal and consumer debt, and have recovered over $10,000,000 on behalf of our clients due to bank, loan servicer, and debt collector violations. Contact us for a free consultation to see how we may be able to help you.