Residential Evictions: What Homeowners Need to Know – UPDATE March 2021 | Lowenstein Sandler LLP

As of March 19, 2021


Can I be evicted from my home as a result of foreclosure proceedings during the COVID-19 emergency?

No. On March 19, 2020, New Jersey Governor Philip Murphy issued Executive Order 106, which suspended deportations and removals statewide. This is called a “moratorium on evictions” and it means that, except in rare circumstances, no homeowner can be evicted from their home as a result of foreclosure proceedings at this time. You cannot be revoked even if a final foreclosure judgment has been entered and a sheriff sale of your property has taken place. The moratorium on evictions do not affect legal proceedings; instead, it prevents deletions. More information on court proceedings can be found below.

How long will the moratorium on evictions last?

The moratorium on evictions began on March 19, 2020 and will last for up to two months after Governor Murphy declared the COVID-19 health crisis over. The governor has extended the official public health emergency on several occasions, most recently by Executive Order 231, which will expire on April 17, 2021. Unless the governor extends the emergency again or terminates it earlier, the moratorium on evictions will therefore last at least until June 17, 2021.

Do I still have to pay my mortgage?

Yes. Sooner or later you will have to make your mortgage payments. If you need more time, however, help is available for some.

If you have a mortgage from the Federal Housing Administration for a single-family residence, you are entitled to up to June 30, 2021 to request forbearance (a break on payments) to ease financial hardship stemming from the pandemic. The initial forbearance period can be up to 12 months, but you will also have the right to request an additional six month mortgage forbearance if you request a forbearance by June 30 at the latest.e. This relief applies to all homeowners with an FHA-insured Term Mortgage or Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), and to homeowners with a Section 184 mortgage or the article 184A.

The owners who hold single family mortgages of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and who entered into forbearance plans by February 28, 2021, may be eligible for a three-month extension of their mortgage forbearance. Owners who hold multi-family mortgages Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac can apply for forbearance until June 30, 2021. Multi-family borrowers must agree to certain protections for tenants in order to obtain mortgage forbearance. For more information on mortgage forbearance, see the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s help page.

Additionally, Governor Murphy announced significant relief for homeowners with mortgages, including those not backed by the federal government. If you contact your mortgage manager, you may be eligible for: (1) a 90 day grace period for mortgage payments; (2) assurance that the manager will not report late or missed payments during this period to credit bureaus; (3) a 60-day moratorium on the initiation by agents of foreclosure sales or evictions services; and (4) relief from certain fees and charges for at least 90 days. For more information, see the FAQs published by the state. You can also visit the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency website for updates on available help and access a list of counselors by county.

Is there a national moratorium on evictions?

Yes, for some owners. On February 16, 2021, the Biden administration announced that it had coordinated with three federal agencies – the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) – to extend their existing foreclosure moratoriums for federally guaranteed mortgages, including FHA insured, VA guaranteed, and USDA loans, at least June 30, 2021. The Federal Housing Administration has extended its foreclosure and eviction moratorium for all homeowners with an FHA-insured Home Equity or Term Mortgage (HECM), and homeowners with a Section 184 mortgage. or section 184A, by June 30, 2021.

On February 25, 2021, the Federal Housing Finance Agency extended at least the foreclosure and eviction moratoria for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac June 30, 2021. The foreclosure moratorium applies to single-family mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The eviction moratorium applies to properties that these entities have acquired through foreclosure.


Can lenders still initiate foreclosure proceedings during this period?

Not if you have an FHA single-family mortgage. FHA foreclosure moratorium prevents administrators from initiating foreclosure proceedings against single-family mortgage holders through June 30, 2021. This period can be further extended by further action or legislation of the agency.

Yes, if you don’t have an FHA single-family mortgage. The state decree and related legislation specifically state that lenders can bring foreclosure actions while the ordinance is in effect. The Superior Court Foreclosure Office accepts new cases and electronic filings in existing cases.

Will the foreclosure office handle cases during this time?

Yes. The foreclosure office administers a portion of most foreclosure cases and handles most of the process when a foreclosure is “uncontested,” meaning the owner has not filed a response to the complaint. Under a June 25, 2020 order issued and repeatedly extended by the New Jersey Supreme Court, the Office of Foreclosure is handling cases as it normally does. If you have questions about an ongoing uncontested foreclosure case, you can try contacting the Foreclosure Office at 609-421-6100 or [email protected]

Will courts hear foreclosure cases during this time?

Yes. There is no order staying the hearings in the contested foreclosure cases (in which the owner responded to the complaint). Please note, however, that under an order of February 23, 2021, “legal operations. . . continue in a remote format whenever possible. Until the court lifts or changes the order, most hearings, conferences and arguments will be conducted by video or telephone. Please check with the court where the case is pending if you have any questions. Please also check the New Jersey Courts website for details on how and when proceedings will take place.

Can my utilities, water, phone and internet be cut off during the COVID-19 crisis?

No. As of March 13, 2020, the New Jersey electricity and gas utilities have voluntarily suspended utility shutdowns. On March 3, 2021, the governor’s office issued Decree 229. This decree suspends residential services and water cuts until June 30th, 2021, and prohibits the imposition of late fees occurring during the emergency period. In addition, the Ordinance requires cable and telecommunications service providers to offer specified payment plans to their customers and prohibits companies from cutting off customers as long as they make timely payments under those plans. . In addition, Internet service providers should check with existing customers whether school-aged children are using the Internet service for educational purposes. If this is the case, the provider cannot end the service before June 30, 2021. If Internet services have already been cut off and a school-aged child is to use the account for educational purposes at a later date, the provider must immediately restore service.

Do I still have to pay for utilities and water?

Yes. You still have to pay the electricity, gas, water, telephone or internet bills you normally pay. If you can’t pay now, you’ll have to pay later. The Department of Community Affairs (DCA) offers assistance to low-income tenants with certain utility bills; you can call the customer service number on your utility bill, or look up the number here, to try and work out a payment plan; or you can check the Board of Public Utilities website for a list of agencies that offer assistance.

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