The Biden administration extended the mortgage relief and foreclosure ban programs through the end of June 2021 to help prevent people from losing their homes during the pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a housing affordability crisis,” a Feb. 16 written statement by the White House says, with a recent study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finding that just over 10 million homeowners are behind on mortgage payments.
The temporary foreclosure moratorium, initially enacted by the Trump administration in the early months of the pandemic, was set to expire at the end of March.
“Now, homeowners will receive urgently needed relief as we face this unprecedented national emergency,” the White House statement says.
Besides prolonging the foreclosure ban, the new moratorium also extended the enrollment window for borrowers who want to request mortgage forbearance, which is a pause or reduction in mortgage payments. The option to request forbearance is open to some 11 million federally-backed mortgages.
The Biden administration’s move also provides an additional six months of mortgage payment forbearance to the 2.7 million homeowners who entered the program before June 30, 2020.
“Communities large and small need this assistance,” the White House statement says. “That is why the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Department of Agriculture worked in concert to deliver across-the-board relief for urban, suburban, rural, and military homeowners, including seniors with reverse mortgages.”
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has approved housing counselors that homeowners can contact and seek advice from if they’re considering applying for mortgage forbearance.
However, the action leaves in place a March 31 expiration deadline for the federal moratorium on evictions of tenants who’ve fallen behind on rent payments.
The order (pdf) that extended the eviction moratorium for renters from Jan. 31 to March 31 was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with the agency determining that evictions during the pandemic could be detrimental to public health control measures to slow the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, around one in five renters is behind on rent.