BATON ROUGE — Gov. John Bel Edwards supports the Biden administration’s extension of the federal eviction moratorium until July 31, 2021. He encourages all renters, homeowners and landlords who are experiencing ongoing economic hardship due to COVID-19 to take immediate steps to apply for state assistance that will help them address their housing challenges.
“We are grateful to President Joe Biden and his administration for extending this additional lifeline to those who are still struggling due to the pandemic,” said Gov. Edwards. “It’s important that everyone who needs this additional time act as soon as possible to secure state assistance or explore mortgage payment options because this is intended to be the final federal extension. While this will prevent evictions and ensure housing stability for another month, there are steps renters and homeowners who are struggling financially due to COVID-19 can and should take now to protect themselves from possible eviction or foreclosure beyond this extension. Later this summer, Louisiana will receive $146.7 million funded through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to assist homeowners economically impacted by the pandemic.”
Renters and Landlords
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a one-month extension of the eviction moratorium for renters impacted by COVID-19 until July 31.
About 50,000 renters and landlords have already applied for assistance through Louisiana’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program and similar programs administered by Caddo, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Jefferson, Orleans and St. Tammany parishes. More than $10.7 million has been awarded to renters and landlords through the state-administered emergency rental assistance program. The program, which expanded in May to include utility assistance, provides funding support for past-due rent and utility fees dating back to April 2020, as well as future rent for eligible applicants. For more information about Louisiana’s Emergency Rental Assistance program and how to access locally administered programs, visit www.LAStateRent.com or call 877.459.6555 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Federal agencies that back mortgages—the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Agriculture—have extended their respective foreclosure moratoriums until July 31, 2021. The Federal Housing Finance Agency also extended the foreclosure moratorium for mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac until July 31, 2021. While state programs for homeowner assistance are still in the planning stages, homeowners who are struggling financially can temporarily pause or reduce their mortgage payments by entering into a forbearance agreement with their lenders.
Forbearance allows homeowners to repay missed payments over time or when they refinance or sell their homes, and relief options depend on who owns or backs a mortgage, the programs they offer, and the eligibility criteria they set. To learn whether a mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the federal government, homeowners can contact their loan servicer or search online. Homeowners without federally backed mortgages who are behind on payments are urged to contact their mortgage servicers to determine any forbearance options. Visit the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau website for more information on the moratorium extension and preventing foreclosure.
Under the U.S. Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, servicers of federally backed mortgages must provide forbearance for borrowers with COVID-related hardships for up to two consecutive 180-day periods. HUD, VA and USDA will continue allowing homeowners to enter into COVID-related forbearance through Sept. 30, 2021, while homeowners with Fannie Mae- or Freddie Mac-backed mortgages also continue to be eligible for COVID-related forbearance. HUD, VA and USDA will announce additional steps in July to offer borrowers payment reduction options that enable more homeowners to stay in their homes.
Lastly, Louisiana is set to receive $146.7 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds later this summer as part of the Homeowner Assistance Fund, which is designed to prevent mortgage delinquencies and defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services and displacement of homeowners experiencing financial hardship after January 21, 2020. Louisiana is awaiting final guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department to launch the program.