Announcement from NCLC:  The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread disruption in the daily lives of millions of people worldwide, and the hardest hit are the vulnerable people, families, and communities at the core of NCLC’s mission, and likely at the heart of our everyday life.

NCLC’s (National Consumer Law Center) Boston and Washington, D.C. offices have been closed to lessen the spread of the virus, but our advocates continue to work remotely to advocate for policies that will protect consumers from exploitation and fraud, and to secure emergency relief for individuals and families experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. You can continue to contact our staff using their regular email addresses, and we are also monitoring the consumerlaw@nclc.org account and forwarding all inquiries to the appropriate staff member.

foreclosureNCLC has created a new “COVID-19 & Consumer Protections” page on our website to provide updates on our current efforts to protect renters and homeowners from eviction and utilities shutoffs; advocate for student loan borrowers whose ability to repay their loans may suffer due to lost income, insufficient paid leave, or lack of access to childcare; encourage financial institutions to offer loan modification and payment accommodations to their clients; and protect all consumers from the financial scams that arise in disaster situations. This page is being updated constantly with new resources for attorneys, advocates, and consumers. 

We are also offering free access to the digital edition of Surviving Debt: Expert Advice For Getting Out of Financial Trouble, NCLC’s most comprehensive guide to navigating debt for consumers and consumer advocates. All inquiries related to NCLC’s publications or Digital Library can be directed to publications@nclc.org.

Please stay safe and healthy during this difficult time.

COVID-19

Some foreclosures suspended for two months

According to The New York Times, March 20, 2020 the federal agency overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the giant government-run finance firms that back the mortgages of 28 million homeowners, ordered a suspension of foreclosures and foreclosure-related evictions for at least two months. The move is meant to keep people in their homes and avoid a housing squeeze like the one that followed the mortgage-fueled financial crisis of 2008.

Resource: A government website to help homeowners determine if they have a mortgage backed by Fannie, Freddie or HUD.

And over the past week, there has been a groundswell across the country to protect renters as well. The Miami-Dade police in Florida said they wouldn’t carry out evictions during the health crisis. A high-ranking New York State judge declared that the courts would consider no eviction cases until further notice. Gov. Gavin Newsom of California issued an executive order allowing cities to impose eviction moratoriums.

The President Misleads Tenants and Homeowners

President Trump suggested Wednesday that the Department of Housing and Urban Development would suspend evictions of those in public housing for 60 days, though Housing Secretary Ben Carson said later on Twitter that it was a goal being discussed with Congress.

What most people do not know is that the President cannot stop or postpone foreclosures or evictions.  Federal laws must come from Congress, then signed into law by the president.  State law come from the State Legislature, then signed into law by the governor of that state.  Normally, state laws govern real estate in that state (which also governs foreclosures and evictions in that state).  Federal laws or policies can govern federal agencies, such as HUD, Fannie or Freddie.

Next – there are constitutional protections for property owners.  To take someone’s property (like stop an eviction or foreclosure) without paying for the lost benefit is referred to as “Constitutional taking”. This refers to government’s acquisition of private property by ousting owners or by destroying the property or impairing its utility. Constitutional taking issues are actions involving the physical or regulatory taking of private real property by the government. A constitutional taking requires payment of compensation when the landowner is deprived of all practical value of his/her property.

The elements of a constitutional taking are (1) the state intentionally performed certain acts in the exercise of its lawful authority (2) that resulted in a taking of property (3) for public use. [Kerr v. State DOT, 45 S.W.3d 248 (Tex. App. 2001)].

So, jJust because our current president says something will happen is far from a guaranty that will happen.  Instead, this exemplifies his failure to understand how laws are created in the United States.  Shame on him because millions of people will think is a “real thing”.

COVID-19

MUSINGS FROM DIANE:

foreclosure or eviction

What most people do not know is that the President cannot stop or postpone foreclosures or evictions.  Federal laws must come from Congress, then signed into law by the president.  State law come from the State Legislature, then signed into law by the governor of that state.  Normally, state laws govern real estate in that state (which also governs foreclosures and evictions in that state).  Federal laws or policies can govern federal agencies, such as HUD, Fannie or Freddie.

Next – there are constitutional protections for property owners.  To take someone’s property (like stop an eviction or foreclosure) without paying for the lost benefit is referred to as “Constitutional taking”. This refers to government’s acquisition of private property by ousting owners or by destroying the property or impairing its utility. Constitutional taking issues are actions involving the physical or regulatory taking of private real property by the government. A constitutional taking requires payment of compensation when the landowner is deprived of all practical value of his/her property.

The elements of a constitutional taking are (1) the state intentionally performed certain acts in the exercise of its lawful authority (2) that resulted in a taking of property (3) for public use. [Kerr v. State DOT, 45 S.W.3d 248 (Tex. App. 2001)].

So, just because our current president says something will happen is far from a guaranty that will happen.  Instead, this exemplifies his failure to understand how laws are created in the United States.  Shame on him because millions of people will think is a “real thing”.