COVID-19 is creating financial turmoil for many individuals. With job loss and furloughs affecting an individual’s ability to pay their rent or mortgage, The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and The Arizona Governor’s Office have enacted measures to protect these individuals from evictions and foreclosures.
On March 18, 2020, Secretary Ben Carson announced a plan to protect some homeowners from foreclosure and eviction actions until May 18, 2020. The following types of loans are protected:
- FHA-insured Title II Single-Family forward
- Home Equity Conversion mortgages (reverse mortgages)
- All properties owned by HUD
- Mortgages backed by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac – these are multifamily building owners.
Under the plan, owners (landlords) can defer their loan payments, so long as they suspend evictions for non-payment of rent
On March 24, 2020, Governor Ducey issued Executive Order 2020-14. Governor Ducey stated that because self-isolation may impact an individual’s ability to pay rent, law enforcement officers “shall temporarily delay enforcement of evictions (under certain circumstances), unless a court determines otherwise.” These circumstances include individuals who:
- are required to quarantine due to a COVID-19 diagnosis,
- are required to self-quarantine at the direction of a licensed medical professional,
- are required to quarantine because they live at home with someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19,
- have with underlying medical conditions, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that places them at a higher risk, or
- suffered from a substantial loss of income due to COVID-19. Some examples can include: job loss, reduction in pay, closure of place of employment, or needing to care for your school-aged children. This list is not exhaustive. Please see the Governor’s Executive Order for more examples.
This Executive Order will expire on July 22, 2020.
Please note Executive Order-2020-14 deals only with the postponement of enforcement of eviction orders. A landlord can still initiate an eviction action, and a justice court may grant the eviction and issue a writ of restitution. After a landlord wins in court, a writ of restitution is issued. The writ of restitution is part of the eviction process in Arizona that allows a law enforcement officer to physically lock a tenant out from the apartment after an eviction action. After the Executive Order expires, law enforcement may serve the writ and remove you from your property.
The William E. Morris Institute for Justice has urged the Governor’s Office to expand protection to put a moratorium on evictions, and ACDL has signed on to support this request. To date, the Governor’s Office has not expanded these protections to include a moratorium on eviction action being initiated.
On March 27, 2020, Governor Ducey announced assistance to individuals living in rental properties whose income has been affected due to COVID-19. Applications for the funding are currently being accepted. To qualify, the individual must
- have their primary residence, a rental, located in Arizona
- “have seen a reduction in income due to COVID-19, that when annualized, does not exceed 100 percent of the area median income adjusted for family size for the county in which they reside.”
The Arizona Department of Housing launched the program on Monday, March 30, 2020. The State Housing Trust Fund provided $5 million for initial program funding. Additional funding may be identified for the program as the Department reviews need and applications. You can apply online at this link or make an application over the phone at a local Community Action Center (CAC). For a list of CACs, visit this link.
For more information, please see this press release.
On March 30, 2020, Governor Ducey announced an agreement between the Governor’s Office and Arizona Banks to suspend foreclosures. Under this agreement, banks will not foreclose on individuals for 60 days (the timeframe may be extended, depending on how long the emergency lasts). Please contact your bank for more details.
Save Our Home AZ (SOHAZ)
SOHAZ is a state-run program that offers foreclosure assistance. “The program’s goal is to aid Arizona’s homeowners in avoiding foreclosure by assisting with mortgage affordability.” If you are eligible, you can speak to a Housing Counselor at 1-877-448-1211.
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