Article courtesy of National Association of Realtors
The U.S. Supreme Court ended the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC's) eviction moratorium Thursday night, giving much-needed relief to America's small housing providers facing financial hardship for more than a year.
In a 6-3 ruling, a majority of justices agreed that the stay on the lower court's order finding the CDC's eviction moratorium to be unlawful was no longer justified.
In their order, the justices wrote, "The moratorium has put the applicants, along with millions of landlords across the country, at risk of irreparable harm by depriving them of rent payments with no guarantee of eventual recovery. Despite the CDC's determination that landlords should bear a significant financial cost of the pandemic, many landlords have modest means."
The case was brought by the Georgia and Alabama Associations of REALTORS® and other property providers, with NAR's help.
In May of this year, U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich for the District of Columbia had struck down the ban as unlawful, but she stayed her ruling pending appeal. The case wound up twice before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.
In a statement, NAR said of the ruling:
"This decision is the correct one, from both a legal standpoint and a matter of fairness. It brings to an end an unlawful policy that places financial hardship solely on the shoulders of mom-and-pop housing providers, who provide nearly half of all rental housing in America, and it restores property rights in America.
"No housing provider wants to evict a tenant-it is always a last resort and reserved for the rarest cases. The best solution for all parties is rental assistance, and all energy should go toward its swift distribution. Nearly $50 billion of aid is now available to cover up to a year-and-a-half of combined back and future rent and utilities for struggling tenants-and every state has started a program to distribute the funds.
"With this rental assistance, now is the time to return the housing sector to its former, healthy function. NAR is thankful for the Biden administration's new guidance to speed up rental assistance distribution, which includes many NAR recommendations. We will continue to work with all parties to make that assistance readily accessible to tenants and housing providers."
NAR cautions housing providers that some state and local governments may still have their own eviction moratoria in place. (See more here.)
Stayed tuned to NAR for the latest analysis on this finding.
Access NAR's rental assistance resources.
Excerpt from the JD Journal...
On Friday, the federal appeals court rejected a petition by landlord groups demanding that the latest moratorium on residential evictions imposed by President Joe Biden's administration be temporarily halted, setting up a Supreme Court showdown. Two chapters of the National Association of Realtors sought to stop the COVID-19 pandemic-related eviction ban set by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by filing a written request to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. A moratorium, implemented after a previous one expired at the end of July, will be in effect through Oct. 3. The moratorium was challenged by real estate groups in Alabama and Georgia.
Read the full article here www.jdjournal.com/2021/08/25/u-s-eviction-moratorium-rejected-by-the-appeals-court/
If you have questions regarding an eviction, please contact Marshall Law. Marshall and his staff have helped thousands of clients avoid eviction. 205-752-1202. The call is easy and the consultation is always free.
Two new rules by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau affect how creditors can collect debts under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and are expected to take effect November of 2021 or early in 2022.
The first debt collection rule focuses on the use of communications related to debt collection, and clarifies prohibitions on harassment and abuse, false or misleading representations, and unfair practices by debt collectors when collecting consumer debt.
The second debt collection rule clarifies disclosures debt collectors must provide to consumers at the beginning of collection communications. The rule also prohibits debt collectors from making threats to sue, or from suing, consumers on time-barred debt. The rule requires debt collectors to take specific steps to disclose the existence of a debt to consumers before reporting information about the debt to a consumer reporting agency.
If you are receiving collection calls, texts, emails, or correspondence, contact Marshall Entelisano Law to discuss your options.
Congress chose not to extend the eviction moratorium, which expired July 31, 2021. According to a study by the Aspen Institute and the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project, an estimated 15 million people in 6.5 million U.S. households are currently behind on rental payments.
While there is federal money available to help those who suffered an economic impact due to COVID after January of 2020 and who are 150% below the poverty line, much of it has yet to be distributed.
The U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) publishes the poverty guidelines:
2021 POVERTY GUIDELINES FOR THE 48 CONTIGUOUS STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Visit https://eraalabama.com (Emergency Rental Assistance Alabama) to see if you qualify for rental assistance. If you have received an eviction notice from your landlord and are now able to resume your rent payments and have a term left in your lease, contact Marshall Entelisano Law now to discuss your options. 205-752-1202.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many mortgage companies and mortgage servicers agreed to forbearances for those affected by COVID and unable to pay their mortgage. The CARES Act provided for forbearances for 13 months. The forbearance moratorium ends June 30, 2021, at which time mortgage companies and mortgage servicers will be able to commence foreclosure on delinquent accounts.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Agriculture, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (the independent agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) extended forbearances for three months for those homeowners coming to the end of their forbearance period. These departments cover roughly 2.7 million borrowers, approximately 70% of homeowners.
The American Rescue Plan provides $10 billion dollars in aid to states for use with struggling homeowners. This aid is critical in the private market whose loans are in more immediate jeopardy of foreclosure.
Please visit consumerfinance.gov/housing for up-to-date information on relief options.
The Law Firm of Marshall A. Entelisano, P.C. is committed to helping clients keep their home. If you receive a foreclosure notice or are unable to pay your past-due mortgage payments, chapter 13 provides a method by which you may keep your home and make payment arrangements on the past due amounts. In addition, this will enable to you to address your other debt issues as well with the goal of providing you with both cash flow and debt relief and to provide peace of mind knowing that you will not lose your home.
Please contact me today at 205-752-1202 to schedule a FREE consultation to discuss your financial options.
The CARES Act was enacted March 27, 2020 and it allows chapter 13 debtors whose cases were confirmed on or before March 26, 2020 and who are experiencing or have experienced material financial hardship due to the coronavirus to extend their plans for up to 7 years (84 months).
This window to seek a plan extension expires a year from enactment or until March 27, 2021. Therefore, all term modifications or extensions must be requested and filed prior to March 27, 2021.
Keep in mind that you may always move to reduce your plan term but will be unable to extend it beyond 60 months unless a motion to modify your Plan to extend the term has been filed prior to March 27, 2021.
A Plan extension may help make your case more affordable and prevent dismissal. If you are interested in extending your Plan term under the CARES ACT, please contact me prior to March 27, 2021 to discuss.
PURSUANT TO THE SUPREME COURT OF ALABAMA, LAW OFFICES ARE DEEMED ESSENTIAL SERVICE PROVIDERS AND MAY REMAIN OPEN TO SERVE THE PUBLIC.
The Law Office of Marshall A. Entelisano (Marshall Law) is OPEN and is maintaining normal business hours.
Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday 8:30 a.m. – Noon
UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE -- BY APPOINTMENT ONLY CALL 205-752-1202
COVID – 19 WARNING: PLEASE BE AWARE THAT WHILE THE CARES ACT PROVIDES SUBSTANTIAL RELIEF TO QUALIFYING DEBTORS, THERE IS A LOT OF MISINFORMATION BEING CIRCULATED SO BEWARE OF SCAMS AND OFFERS THAT ARE “TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.”
FORECLOSURES: THE CURRENT MORATORIUM ON FORECLOSURES APPLIES ONLY HUD-BACKED LOANS. IT DOES NOT APPLY TO PRIVATE MORTGAGE TRUSTS OR SERVICERS.
PLEASE CONTACY MY OFFICE IMMEDIATELY IF YOU RECEIVE A FORECLOSURE NOTICE OR NOTICE OF ACCELERATION FROM YOUR MORTGAGE SERVICER.
MORTGAGE PAYMENTS: CONTINUE TO MAKE YOUR MORTGAGE PAYMENTS TO THE EXTENT THAT YOU ARE ABLE TO DO SO AND KEEP PROOF OF ALL PAYMENTS. IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO MAKE YOUR CURRENT MORTGAGE PAYMENT IN FULL, PLEASE CONTACT MY OFFICE.
PLEASE READ THE FINE PRINT OF ANY SUSPENSION, DEFERMENT, OR FORBEARANCE AGREEMENT THAT YOU RECEIVE FROM YOUR MORTGAGE SERVICERS. WHILE MANY SERVICERS ARE AGREEING TO A PAYMENT “SUSPENSION” FOR 60 TO 90 DAYS, THE ENTIRE PAST DUE AMOUNT MUST BE PAID ONCE PAYMENTS ARE SCHEDULED TO RESUME.
PLAN PAYMENTS: CONTINUE TO MAKE YOUR PLAN PAYMENTS TO THE EXTENT THAT YOU ARE ABLE TO DO SO. SHOULD YOUR PAYMENTS BE MADE VIA A WAGE WITHHOLDING ORDER, THE ORDER WILL NOT REMIT WHILE YOU ARE OFF WORK RECEIVING UNEMPLOYMENT AND WILL RESUME ONCE YOU RETURN TO WORK.
IF YOU CANNOT MAKE YOUR PLAN PAYMENTS AT THIS TIME, PLEASE CONTACT MY OFFICE SO THAT I CAN MODIFY OR SUSPEND YOUR PLAN PAYMENTS TO PREVENT YOUR CASE FROM BEING DISMISSED OR STAY RELIEF BEING GRANTED TO A CREDITOR.
Lender Letter (LL-2020-02)
Updated Apr. 8, 2020, Mar. 25, 2020, Mar. 18, 2020
To: All Fannie Mae Single-Family Servicers Impact of COVID-19 on Servicing
We are actively monitoring reports about the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the United States and understand that there may be concerns about its potential impact on borrowers. At the direction of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and in alignment with Freddie Mac, we are communicating temporary policies in this Lender Letter to enable servicers to better assist borrowers impacted by COVID-19. The policies in this Lender Letter are effective immediately and are effective until Fannie Mae provides further notice, unless otherwise stated.
The "golden years" of retirement are significantly tarnished for some older Americans, whose ranks among the bankrupt have surged fivefold since 1991.
Even though the U.S. population is aging, the spike in older Americans entering bankruptcy far exceeds the demographic shift, according to new research from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, which analyzed data from bankruptcy court records and written questionnaires. About 100,000 of the 800,000 annual bankruptcy filings are from households headed by seniors, or about 12.2 percent of all filings.
The culprit appears to be cutbacks in the social safety net -- such as raising the retirement age and requiring seniors to pay more out-of-pocket health care costs -- as well as a shift in risk from government and corporations onto individuals. Americans are less likely today to retire with a private pension, given the growing popularity of 401(k)s, where workers are responsible for making their own investment and savings decisions, and more likely to be carrying mortgage and credit card debt into their 60s and 70s.
The full retirement age for Social Security, once 65, is inching up every year. And retirees are now paying 20 percent of their income on health care expenses even though they are covered by Medicare, compared with 12 percent for previous generations.
As a result, the rate of bankruptcy among Americans over age 65 has doubled over the period studied by the researchers. "For an increasing number of older Americans, their golden years are fraught with economic risks, the result of which is often bankruptcy," their report noted.
Because one-quarter of the country will be older than 65 by 2050 compared with 15 percent now, the authors predict America will see a "coming storm of broke elderly."
Older and poorerThe problem with these societal risk shifts, as the authors view it, is that seniors are the group least able to cope with such changes. Because of their age, they have fewer years to build or rebuild wealth, and it's common for older Americans to have trouble finding jobs that pay as much as they earned when they were younger, they noted.
"Retirement is a particularly precarious time of life," they wrote.
Bankruptcy is designed to provide a "fresh start" by wiping away debts or restructuring them in a way that makes it easier to pay them down, but bankrupt seniors don't have enough time to regrow their financial wealth, they added.
Bankrupt seniors are in rough financial shape, the researchers found. They are shouldering more than $100,000 in debt, compared with $1,000 in debt for their non-bankrupt peers. Financially solvent senior citizens have about $251,000 in wealth, but bankrupt older Americans have negative net wealth of more than $17,000.
Older Americans who file for bankruptcy are less likely than their younger peers to have a college degree, although there's no racial difference between older and younger debtors, the researchers found. But across the general population, Asian-Americans and Hispanics are less likely to file for bankruptcy than white or black Americans.
"All things went up in price"Older Americans who file for bankruptcy told the researchers in survey responses that they were often hit by a double-whammy: inadequate retirement income and rising costs -- especially health care costs.
"All things went up in price," one unidentified respondent told the researchers. "Retirement never went up. Had a part time job that was helping to meet monthly payments. House payment kept going up. Was fired from my part time job that I had for over 10 years without any warning. Being 67 and having back problems, not many people will hire you even as part time worker."
Others noted their health problems resulted in a loss of their job or income, while their insurance didn't fully cover their health expenses.
"I got to the point I owed more than I was making on Social Security. To get out from under these medical bills I had to file bankruptcy," another respondent told the researchers.
About 7 out of 10 respondents indicated that the combination of medical expenses and missing work contributed to their bankruptcies.
Asked what they were unable to afford in the year before going bankrupt, half of seniors said the most important thing they had to cut back on was medical care, such as surgeries, prescriptions and dental care.
"These responses continue to suggest that their health care coverage is inadequate," the researchers wrote.
Taken together, the portrait of retirement in the U.S. is one of instability and risk, at least for some Americans. And bankruptcy, while designed to provide some relief, may be "too little too late."
They added, "By the time they file, their wealth has vanished, and they simply do not have the enough years to get back on their feet."
You can repair your credit report on your own. Repairing your credit report means updating your information and making sure everything is accurate. You don’t need to pay anyone to do this. All you have to do is to get a copy of your credit report from the 3 main credit-reporting companies. Then, if you find any error you can directly contact the credit-reporting agency involved to file your dispute. Within a certain period of time, any information that you claim to be an error will be removed if the agency fails to verify otherwise.
Bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for up to 10 years. Until the set period is over, there is nothing you or anyone can do to delete that information. Creating a new identity to conceal your bankruptcy is against the law. Usually, bankruptcy credit repair scams like this involve applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) that you will use in your credit application instead of your social security number. These companies will proudly claim they are offering legitimate services but nothing can be farther from the truth. Providing false statements in a credit or loan application is a federal crime so is obtaining an EIN with fraudulent intent.
Avoid bankruptcy credit repair scams with common sense. Check with the Better Business Bureau before you start doing business with any bankruptcy credit repair company. Never pay a company in advance for a service not yet rendered. The company should provide you a written contract and inform you of your legal rights.
There are no quick fixes when it comes to bankruptcy credit repair. Some may need the help of a professional. Most often, you can do it by yourself with simple yet effective steps such paying bills promptly. Either way bankruptcy credit repair requires time and a steady commitment on your part.
After your debts are discharged through a bankruptcy process, the credit reporting agencies and your creditors have an affirmative duty to update your information by indicating a zero balance and that the debt was discharged in bankruptcy. This will help your income to debt ratio, a primary component of your FICO score; and will help increase your score. Continuing to make payments in full and on time for any long-term debt that was not discharged (such as a mortgage), or on any reaffirmed debt will also help you quickly restore your credit.