Tag Archives: Moratorium

COVID-19: NJ updates its Moratorium on Residential Utilities and their ability to pursue Non-Payment

Last week, NJ updated its guidance on COVID-19 related charges for most utilities in Executive Order 190.

Water, Gas, and Electricity:

No household may have its electricity, gas service, or water service shut off for nonpayment. This moratorium on utility shutoffs is extended to at least March 15, 2021 and applies to all residential gas, electric and water utilities, both public and private.

If there is any customer whose service has been disconnected since March 16, 2020, their service must be reconnected.

In addition, utilities will not be charging late fees nor fees to reconnect services that have been disconnected.

Although utility service shutoffs are still suspended, customers are still encouraged to set up payment plans with their utilities so they can begin paying their bills, if they are able, over a period of time.

According to NJ State published information on line, if you are struggling to pay your utility bills, contact your utility company about assistance programs and payment plans, or visit BPU’s “Assistance Programs” page for information about programs that can help.

Note: For any questions about your service, first contact your utility company. A list of public gas and electricity utility company phone numbers is available here.

If you are unable to resolve an issue with your utility company, you should contact BPU’s Customer Assistance team by filling out this online form, or by calling (800) 624-0241 and leaving a voicemail.

Phone and Internet:

No cable or telecommunications provider that provides residential internet and voice services to New Jersey residents shall terminate these services due to nonpayment before November 15.

After November 15, cable and telecommunications providers are required to enroll customers with an already existing account in an interest free payment plan of at least 12 equal monthly installments, including the balance already due, prior to disconnecting the customers service.

For households with school-age children who need Internet connectivity for remote-learning, Internet shutoffs will not be permitted through March 15, 2021. If a household experiences a change of circumstances where school age children will be using their home Internet service for school, the cable and telecommunications company will be required to reconnect that Internet service.

Source: Executive Order No. 190

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Paul Josephson, Matthew LoBello or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19: FHA Extends Eviction and Foreclosure Moratorium for Homeowners through 12-31-2020

Per HUD, earlier today, on August 28, 2020, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced the 3rd extension of its foreclosure and eviction moratorium through December 31, 2020, for homeowners with FHA-insured single family mortgages covered under the Coronavirus Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

This extension provides an additional 4 months of housing security to homeowners. With this 3rd extension, the FHA has now provided more than 9 months of foreclosure and eviction relief to FHA-insured homeowners

The FHA’s Single Family foreclosure and eviction moratorium has been in place since March 18, 2020, and continues to apply to homeowners with FHA-insured Title II Single Family forward and Home Equity Conversion (reverse) mortgages.

The moratorium requires that mortgage servicers:

1. Halt all new foreclosure actions and suspend all foreclosure actions currently in process for FHA-insured single family properties, excluding legally vacant or abandoned properties; and

2. Cease all evictions of persons from FHA-insured single family properties, excluding actions to evict occupants of legally vacant or abandoned properties.

The HUD press release suggested that homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages should continue to make their mortgage payments during the foreclosure and eviction moratorium if they are able to do so, or seek mortgage payment forbearance pursuant to the CARES Act from their mortgage servicer, if needed.

Pursuant to the CARES Act, the FHA requires mortgage servicers to:

1. Offer borrowers with FHA-insured mortgages delayed mortgage payment forbearance when the borrower requests it, with the option to extend the forbearance for up to a year.

2. The FHA does not require a lump sum payment at the end of the forbearance period.

3. Assess borrowers who receive COVID-19 forbearance for its special COVID-19 National Emergency Stand alone Partial Claim before the end of the forbearance period. The COVID-19 National Emergency Standalone Partial Claim puts all deferred mortgage payment amounts owed into a junior lien which is only repaid when the borrower sells the home, refinances the mortgage, or the mortgage is otherwise extinguished.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.

COVID-19: PA issues Executive Order extending Residential Evictions and Foreclosures Moratorium until August 31, 2020

Governor Tom Wolf signed a new executive order earlier today, July 15, 2020, extending the moratorium on residential evictions and foreclosures until Aug. 31.

This Order follows a previous moratorium extension, but now only applies if the renters or homeowners have not already received assistance from a new program administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) or are not already receiving relief through one of several federal foreclosure moratorium programs or judicial orders.

Lenders and property owners that receive funds through the PHFA program must agree not pursue foreclosure or eviction actions as a condition of participation in the program. The governor signed legislation in May providing $150 million for rental assistance and $25 million for mortgage assistance through PHFA with CARES Act funds. PHFA began accepting applications July 6.

At the federal level, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Federal Housing Finance Agency, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have each extended eviction and foreclosure protections for housing under their authority to Aug. 31.

In terms of the applying of the Order, it states:

The provisions of this Order and the suspension of the Acts under this Order apply only to matters involving the nonpayment of monies as well as to those proceedings related to removal of any tenant solely because the tenant has held over or exceeded the term of a lease. The Order does not apply to suspend notice requirements relating to evictions for breaches of any other covenants.

This Order does not treat nonpayment of monies during this period as forgiven and individuals are still responsible for any rent or monies owed under the terms of the mortgage or lease agreement.

Therefore, in almost all circumstances, renters and homeowners are still required to make monthly payments if they can. Also, importantly, the governor’s Order does not apply to proceedings regarding property damage or illegal activity.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For Further Information:

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, David Augustin, Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!

COVID-19: Philadelphia Limits Public Gatherings of 50 or more on public property through February 28, 2021

As of late yesterday, July 14, 2020, Philadelphia issued a public gathering, large event moratorium notice. Per Mayor Kenney’s office, due to the ongoing public health crisis, the City’s Office of Special Events will not accept, review, process, or approve applications, issue permits, or enter into agreements for special events or public gatherings of 50 or more people on public property through February 28, 2021.

The City may further extend this timeline based on feedback from public health experts. Any pending applications will not be further reviewed, processed or approved.

The moratorium will apply to special events and public gatherings including, but not limited to:

•Festivals
•Parades
•Concerts
•Carnivals
•Fairs
•Flea markets

In addition, permit applications for residential block party permits will not be accepted until further notice. Any pending applications will not be further reviewed, processed or approved at this time. Further guidance regarding block party permits, including a timeline for when such activities may resume, will be communicated as soon as possible.

The moratorium does not apply to:

•Demonstrations and First Amendment-protected activities.
•Outdoor gatherings that are not publicly advertised—such as family picnics and outdoor weddings—with less than 50 pre-registered guests.
•Organized, outdoor group recreational and sports activities for youth and adults with less than 25 participants.
•Events and gatherings taking place on private property, including performance venues and stadiums.

Please note this is different than the rules that have been issued for dining that are still applicable in PA and in Philadelphia.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For Further Information:

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Elizabeth Mincer, Jonathan Segal, Eve Klein or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!