Without question, 2020 was one of the most difficult and painful years in recent memory for many around the globe – and with the beginning of 2021, many of those difficulties remain ongoing. The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating in many ways — first and foremost for the tragic loss of life it has caused, and also because of the effect it had in changing day-to-day life in any number of ways.
Certainly, it changed our economy, and without question has negatively impacted employment opportunities for many. Some were fortunate enough to have careers that could transition to remote work, but for many others, that was simply not an option. Many lost their jobs and found themselves faced with bills that kept coming each month as usual – but without an income stream with which to pay them.
As if an ongoing pandemic weren’t stressful enough, many found themselves wondering how they could afford to feed their families and still pay their rent or mortgage. In fact, it has been estimated that across the country, nearly 30 to 40 million American renters were at risk of losing their homes, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition – a statistic that doesn’t even include those who have found themselves unable to pay their mortgages.
Federal Funding and Protections for those Facing Foreclosure
Fortunately, the federal government understood that these difficulties existed, and in mid-2020, passed the CARES Act, which was intended to provide relief from the devastation caused by COVID-19 on many fronts. Fortunately for homeowners and renters across the country, this relief included instituting a moratorium on evictions for renters as well as foreclosures on federally guaranteed mortgages. Although it was temporary relief, it gave those struggling to make ends meet a bit of breathing room amid the economic havoc wrought by the pandemic.
Following the initial eviction moratorium, and extension, in December, Congress again approved a one-month extension to further protect renters. Of course, the arrival of 2021 saw not only the beginning of a new year but also the beginning of a new presidential administration under now-President Joe Biden. Many have wondered what steps President Biden might take concerning COVID-19 relief, and whether it would include additional and ongoing protection for those worrying about losing their homes. Fortunately, the country didn’t have to wait long for the answer.
Happily, for homeowners and renters across the country, the Biden administration wasted no time in extending protections for renters and homeowners. In fact, on his first day as president, Biden signed an executive order extending the eviction moratorium through at least the end of March 2021, a move that will protect millions of renters and homeowners who have been struggling throughout the pandemic. The Biden administration has also called on Congress to provide nearly $30 billion in rental assistance as well as an unspecified amount of money to be paid for legal aid for those facing evictions and needing legal help.
What does this mean for you as a renter or an owner with a federally guaranteed mortgage? In short, it means that you cannot be evicted from your home because you are unable to pay your mortgage or your monthly rent.
It is important to understand that you have this protection, as unfortunately, some landlords may attempt to evict you despite it. You should know your rights and you should assert them. The last thing anyone needs during a devastating pandemic is to find themselves homeless as well. Knowing the rights you have and the legal protections available is important and the value of doing so can’t be understated.
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