Information on the “Foreclosure Moratorium”
The COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Act of 2020, signed into law on December 28, 2020, places a “moratorium” on evictions and foreclosures, until May 1, 2021, for people experiencing a hardship related to COVID-19. Effective September 2, 2021, the moratorium was extended to January 15, 2022. During a moratorium evictions and foreclosures may not proceed.
If you already submitted a Hardship Declaration, the moratorium will automatically extend to January 15, 2022. There is nothing you need to do.
The foreclosure moratorium only applies to residential properties for which the owner is an individual who owns ten or fewer dwelling units. Mortgage borrowers should read the complete FAQs below to learn how to get relief for the full moratorium time period.
This FAQ only addresses questions relating to the mortgage foreclosure moratorium. For questions relating to stay of eviction and tax lien foreclosure proceedings, visit the Office of Court Administration website.
The Act provides relief to mortgage borrowers who are experiencing a hardship due to the impact of COVID-19 and are in or at risk of a foreclosure proceeding. Under the Act, qualifying mortgage borrowers are entitled to an automatic “stay” (or “pause”) of 60 days for any pending, or existing, foreclosure proceeding or filing made within 30 days of December 28, 2020, with the ability to further stay any foreclosure proceeding till January 15, 2022, if the mortgage borrower files a Hardship Declaration (discussed below).
In contrast, Section 9-x of Banking Law, signed into law in June 2020, requires that New York state-chartered banks and state-regulated mortgage servicers grant 180 days of mortgage payment “pause” called a “forbearance” (plus an additional 180 day extension, if borrower continues to experience a COVID-19 related hardship) to mortgage borrowers for any mortgage secured by the mortgage borrower’s primary residence located in New York if such borrower is experiencing a financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.
Because mortgage borrowers must repay the “paused” monthly payments after the forbearance ends, Section 9-x allows a mortgage borrower who is granted a forbearance to select one of four different options on how they can repay the forbearance:
- Extend the loan for the term of the forbearance;
- Have the amount of the forbearance spread out evenly among the remaining life of the loan;
- Negotiate a loan modification with the lender; or
- Repay the amount of the forbearance in an interest free balloon payment at the end of the loan.
For additional information about the relief provided under section 9-x, see the COVID-19-related forbearance relief FAQs.
Yes, the Act applies to mortgage borrowers of co-ops and condos that meet the other requirements (i.e. mortgage borrower is an individual that owns ten or fewer dwelling units).
A Hardship Declaration is a written form that mortgage borrowers can complete and submit to stay, or “pause,” the filing of a new foreclosure lawsuit or the progress of an ongoing one.
For pending (ongoing) foreclosure cases, the court will mail the homeowner a copy of the Hardship Declaration. Prior to initiating new foreclosure actions, the foreclosing party (mortgage lender, servicer etc.) must send borrowers a copy of the Hardship Declaration along with the required pre-foreclosure notices. The form is also available on Office of Court Administration’s website.
If there was already a foreclosure action filed and pending against you as of December 28, 2020, the court is required to automatically stay, or “pause,” your foreclosure action for at least 60 days and mail you a Hardship Declaration to complete and return to the Court if you choose to. You must complete the Hardship Declaration and return it to the court promptly if you want to extend the stay until January 15, 2022.
If you are in foreclosure and do not have an attorney, you should seek legal assistance as soon as possible. See the “Wondering where you can get help?" section.
That is up to you. Once you submit a Hardship Declaration to your mortgage bank, no foreclosure action may be filed against you until January 15, 2022.
If you are experiencing a COVID-19 related hardship and are having a hard time paying your mortgage, you should contact your bank or mortgage servicer as soon as possible to find out if you qualify for a mortgage forbearance under section 9-x of the Banking Law. Even after you submit a Hardship Declaration, you should contact your servicer to discuss ways to modify your payments to make them more affordable. This process is called “loss mitigation.”
You can also contact a free housing counselor to discuss making your loan more affordable. If you receive any legal papers, seek legal assistance immediately. See the “Wondering where you can get help?" section.
Once you submit a signed Hardship Declaration, all foreclosure proceeding against you are stayed, or “paused,” until January 15, 2022. However, any lawful fees, penalties and interest for not having made mortgage payments may still be charged to you and may ultimately result in a monetary judgment against you if you fail to pay them.
The Act requires the Hardship Declaration to be made available in the mortgage borrower’s primary language. If the Office of Court Administration does not make the form available in that language, the foreclosing party is responsible for providing a suitable translation.
The Hardship Declaration form only requires that the homeowner fill in their name, property address, and, if known, the case index number and county and court info. The form lists the following as qualifying economic hardships, but the homeowner is not asked or required to specify which ones apply to their circumstances:
- Significant loss of household income during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Increase in necessary out-of-pocket expenses related to performing essential work or related to health impacts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Childcare responsibilities or responsibilities to care for an elderly, disabled, or sick family member during the COVID-19 pandemic have negatively affected the borrower’s ability or the ability of someone in the household to obtain meaningful employment or earn income or increased necessary out-of-pocket expenses.
- Moving expenses and difficulty securing alternative housing make it a hardship to relocate to another residence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Other circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic have negatively affected the borrower’s ability to obtain meaningful employment or earn income or have significantly reduced household income or significantly increased expenses.
- One or more tenants has defaulted on a significant amount of their rent payments since March 1, 2020.
No. There is no requirement to include supporting documentation with the submission of a Hardship Declaration, but the form is signed under penalty of perjury, which means it is against the law to make a statement on the form that you know is false.
If a mortgage borrower receives the Hardship Declaration as part of a pre-foreclosure notice, the homeowner should return the form to the mailing or email address provided by the servicer of their loan. If a homeowner already has a foreclosure action filed against them, they can return the form to either the servicer of their loan or to the court.
If a foreclosure action was filed against you between December 28, 2020 and January 27, 2021, the court is required to automatically stay, or “pause,” the action for at least 60 days, regardless of whether you have submitted a Hardship Declaration. You may extend the stay of foreclosure until January 15, 2022, by submitting a Hardship Declaration to the court or to your servicer.
If a judgement of foreclosure and sale has already been issued against you, the court is required to automatically stay, or “pause,” the execution of such judgement until a status conference can be held with the parties, which means the house cannot be sold at auction. The court will contact you with the date of the conference. If, after the status conference, you wish for the stay to be extended until January 15, 2022, you may do so by submitting a Hardship Declaration.
For any actions that were stayed, or “paused,” until January 15, 2022, the stay will be lifted and the court proceedings may continue. The regular options to work out affordable payments on your loan, a process called “loss mitigation,” will still be available to mortgage borrowers.
None. Lenders are prohibited from discriminating against a loan applicant on the basis of the submission of a Hardship Declaration.
None. The COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Act of 2020 prohibits negative credit reporting associated with the submission of a Hardship Declaration.