Frequently Asked Questions
(And Answers)

These FAQs are meant to answer general questions for consumers and industry stakeholders who are directly impacted by COVID-19.

CDC: “AN communities with multi-generational households or those in rural or tribal areas may experience unique challenges with social distancing, access to grocery stores, water, and local and tribal health services. However, there are several steps individuals can take to keep your home and family safe.

Wash hands often following these steps:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands, palms, back, between fingers and around fingernails for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water. If you do not have running water, make sure your water source is clean.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
  • If you can’t wash with soap and water, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • Place a dime-sized amount in your palm and rub hands together, covering all parts of the hand, fingers and nails until they feel dry
  • Remind everyone in the household to avoid touching their face and cover their coughs and sneezes with the inside of their elbow or with a tissue, and then throw the tissue away.
  • Regularly clean frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, and electronics (see below for special electronics cleaning and disinfection instructions)) with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants external icon that are appropriate for the surface, following label instructions.
    • Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
  • It is important for people at higher risk for severe illness, hospitalization or death from COVID-19, to limit time spent away from the home. People at higher risk for severe illness include older adults and those with certain underlying conditions.
  • Based on what we know at this time, pregnant women might be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared to people who are not pregnant. Pregnant women have had a higher risk of developing severe illness with other respiratory infections. There may be an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth, among pregnant people with COVID-19. Therefore, if you are pregnant, be mindful about reducing your risk of getting sick. It is always important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illness.
  • Lack of access to grocery stores, water and health services may require more frequent trips to the store. If possible, send individuals that are not at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 to gather essentials for the home.

Wear a mask in public settings, like grocery stores and pharmacies, where it may be more difficult to maintain social distancing.

Source | CDC

CDC: “AN communities with multi-generational households or those in rural or tribal areas may experience unique challenges with social distancing, access to grocery stores, water, and local and tribal health services. However, there are several steps individuals can take to keep your home and family safe.

Wash hands often following these steps:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands, palms, back, between fingers and around fingernails for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water. If you do not have running water, make sure your water source is clean.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
  • If you can’t wash with soap and water, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • Place a dime-sized amount in your palm and rub hands together, covering all parts of the hand, fingers and nails until they feel dry
  • Remind everyone in the household to avoid touching their face and cover their coughs and sneezes with the inside of their elbow or with a tissue, and then throw the tissue away.
  • Regularly clean frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, and electronics (see below for special electronics cleaning and disinfection instructions)) with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants external icon that are appropriate for the surface, following label instructions.
    • Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
  • It is important for people at higher risk for severe illness, hospitalization or death from COVID-19, to limit time spent away from the home. People at higher risk for severe illness include older adults and those with certain underlying conditions.
  • Based on what we know at this time, pregnant women might be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared to people who are not pregnant. Pregnant women have had a higher risk of developing severe illness with other respiratory infections. There may be an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth, among pregnant people with COVID-19. Therefore, if you are pregnant, be mindful about reducing your risk of getting sick. It is always important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illness.
  • Lack of access to grocery stores, water and health services may require more frequent trips to the store. If possible, send individuals that are not at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 to gather essentials for the home.
    • Wear a mask in public settings, like grocery stores and pharmacies, where it may be more difficult to maintain social distancing.
Source | CDC

HUD: “If the people being served by the activity are Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA)-eligible families and the activity is NAHASDA-eligible without the need to apply the waivers outlined in HUD sub- regulation guidance at PIH Notice 2020-13 (which superseded PIH Notice 2020-05), then any fiscal year’s IHBG funding included in the IHBG 55 Grant can be used for activities to prevent, prepare for, or respond to COVID-19. Moreover, these funds would not need to be transferred to the 1620 COVID-19 Budget Line Item in LOCCS and would be reported on the FY 2020 Annual Performance Report (APR) as required of any NAHASDA-eligible activity. 

The waivers clarified in PIH Notice 2020-13 (which superseded PIH Notice 2020-05), are only available for FY 2020 IHBG funds and IHBG-CARES funds. Therefore, if the activity is only permitted pursuant to the waivers/alternative requirements or the families being served are only considered eligible as a result of the waivers, only FY 2020 IHBG and IHBG-CARES funds can be used to carry out such activities or serve such families. 

Accordingly, it is important to avoid using funds from years prior to FY 2020 to conduct activities that are only eligible under the waivers/alternative requirements as this would be non-compliant uses of those IHBG funds and such expenditures will be subject to repayment. 

This is why it is critical that before using FY 2020 IHBG grant funds on COVID-19 related activities only eligible under the waivers/alternative requirements, a recipient contacts its local Area ONAP, advises its Grants Management or Grants Evaluation Specialist how much FY 2020 IHBG grant funds it intends to use and makes certain that amount is transferred to the 1620 COVID-19 Budget Line Item in LOCCS by ONAP where the recipient can withdraw it. Multiple transfers can be made, as needed. Recipients wishing to use FY 2020 funds can call their local Area ONAP and should also consult ONAP guidance on doing so. 

If prior to the availability of the 1620 COVID-19 Budget Line Item, IHBG 55 funds have already been expended on COVID-19 activities that are only eligible uses with FY 2020 or CARES Act funds under a waiver, the recipient should immediately inform its local Area ONAP Office so that ONAP can ensure the funding came from the proper account. 

If the FY 2020 IHBG funds are expended on COVID-19 activities, the recipient should amend its 2020 IHP accordingly as soon as possible and then report the use when appropriate in its 2020 APR. The Abbreviated IHP and APR should only be used to report and track the use of the IHBG-CARES grant. 

Again, recipients wishing to use FY 2020 IHBG funds for activities only permitted under the waivers in HUD sub-regulation at PIH Notice 2020-13 (which superseded PIH Notice 2020-05), should also consult ONAP guidance on how to do so. 

Again, recipients wishing to use FY 2020 IHBG funds for activities only permitted under the waivers in PIH Notice 2020-05, superseded by PIH Notice 2020-13 should also consult ONAP guidance on how to do so.”

 

Source | HUD

Indian Health Service: “The first and best method for tribal and urban Indian organization health programs to seek supplemental staffing is to follow their usual process for hiring and contracting staff, as well as their processes for onboarding volunteers. Staffing companies and recruiting firms should be utilized first. If tribal and urban Indian organization health programs are not able to access critical staffing through their usual method, they should inquire if state and local government partners can perform or contract for the performance of the requested work. If an organization desires to request Direct Federal Assistance, and the request for personnel is a result of the COVID-19 emergency and not a pre-existing condition, then they should contact their IHS Area Emergency Management Point of Contact (EMPOC) who can facilitate submission of a FEMA Resource Request Form [PDF]   for a request for staffing. This is done through a request for a Mission Assignment.”

Indian Health Service: “IHS recently announced the expansion of telehealth services during the COVID-19 response  . Expanding telehealth allows more American Indians and Alaska Natives to access healthcare they need from their home, without worrying about putting themselves or others at risk. IHS service units and their clinicians who are using the system will obtain verbal consent from patients who meet with their provider via a telehealth appointment. Health care providers are required to verify the patient at the beginning of each encounter and are not authorized to record the session.

IHS is also working to rapidly deploy telehealth services to IHS hospitals as needed to respond to the potential surge in hospitalized and critically ill patients. This would allow critical care consultation for patients managed in an IHS intensive care unit, and for critically ill patients receiving care at hospitals without an ICU in the process of transfer to a higher level of care.

Many IHS facilities continue to use telehealth services by replacing office visits for things such as prescription refills for chronic conditions with phone calls for some patients. Service units are also screening individuals for COVID-19 either by phone or prior to the patient entering our health facilities to determine their risk for COVID-19 and to prevent additional infections within our facilities.

The expansion of telehealth services is in response to HHS announcing unprecedented steps   to expand Americans’ access to telehealth services during the COVID-19 outbreak. CMS expanded Medicare coverage for telehealth visits and the HHS Office for Civil Rights announced it will waive potential HIPAA penalties for good faith use of telehealth during the emergency.”

Indian Health Service: “Tribal governments and their members are an essential part of our nation’s emergency management team. FEMA is committed to supporting Indian Country in its efforts to build more resilient and better prepared communities. For additional questions, begin by contacting the FEMA Regional Tribal Liaisons   in your Area. FEMA’s liaisons help build relationships with tribes in their area, helping them understand and use FEMA’s programs — especially during times of disaster.”

Indian Health Service: “IHS headquarters is holding weekly conference calls with tribal and urban Indian health organization leaders from across the country to provide updates, answer questions, and hear concerns from tribal communities. Additionally, IHS area offices provide technical assistance and support to tribal and urban Indian programs. For federal staff, IHS headquarters is holding regular all-employee conference calls and communicating through email updates. Area chief medical officers are in regular communication with clinical directors at all IHS facilities. We are actively extending outreach to all within the federal, tribal and urban clinical communities regarding webinar and similar resources as they become available from the CDC.” 

 

Indian Health Service: “The Indian Health Service has been given priority access to rapid point-of-care COVID-19 test systems  as part of White House efforts to expand access to testing in rural communities. The IHS received 250 ID NOW COVID-19 rapid point-of-care test systems. This test allows for medical diagnostic testing at the time and place of patient care, provides COVID-19 results in under 13 minutes and expands the capacity for coronavirus testing for individuals exhibiting symptoms as well as for healthcare professionals and the first responder community. Additionally, this will save personal protective equipment and ensure our critical workforce is safe and able to support the response, as only gloves and a facemask are necessary to administer this rapid point-of-care test.”

Indian Health Service: “We encourage tribes, tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations to work through all local, state, and federal avenues for any potential resources. We also encourage tracking costs associated with COVID-19 response activities. This information will help identify needs across the Indian health system and inform discussions about any potential additional resources that may become available.”

HUD: “HUD understands that the current crisis is having a severe impact on all IHBG recipients’ ability to conduct and fund operations. The CARES Act (Pub. L. 116-136, enacted March 27, 2020) does provide additional IHBG funding. This funding must be used by IHBG recipients to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19, including to maintain normal operations and fund eligible affordable housing activities under NAHASDA during the period that the program is impacted by COVID-19.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “No, matching funds are not required for the ICDBG-CARES applications. However, applicants for economic development projects must provide an analysis which shows public benefit commensurate with the ICDBG-CARES assistance requested will result from the assisted project. This analysis should also establish that to the extent practicable: reasonable financial support will be committed from non-Federal sources prior to disbursement of Federal funds; the ICDBG-CARES grant provided will not substantially reduce the amount of non-Federal financial support for the activity; not more than a reasonable rate of return on investment is provided to the owner; and, that grant funds used for the project will be disbursed on a pro rata basis with amounts from other sources. For more information see HUD sub-regulation guidance at PIH Notice 2020-11.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “You should review the HUD sub-regulation guidance on ICDBG-CARES Implementation at PIH Notice 2020-11. HUD started accepting applications for ICDBG- CARES grants on Monday June 1, 2020. 

The ICDBG program provides ICDBG Imminent Threat (IT) funding to Tribes and TDHEs to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. In the same manner to other IT grants, there is no NOFA for the ICDBG-CARES grant, and the applications were accepted on a first come, first served basis. 

Presentation slides and recording of the ICDBG-CARES Implementation Training can be found here, at ONAP’s Code Talk.”

 

Source | HUD

HUD: “There has been a high level of demand thus far in the ICDBG-CARES program, and HUD has received many applications. At this time, funding requests far exceed available appropriations. While applicants may continue to submit applications for ICDBG- CARES funding awards, not all applications will be funded within current appropriations.”

Source | HUD

ICBA: “Large volume lenders are relieved from new quarterly reporting; however, all entities should continue collecting and recording HMDA data in anticipation of making annual submissions in March 2021. On March 26, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) issued a statement that it will not expect quarterly information reporting by certain mortgage lenders as required under the HMDA and Regulation C (generally financial institutions that report for the preceding calendar year at least 60,000 covered loans and applications (excluding purchased loans) must report their HMDA data quarterly (except for the fourth quarter) in addition to annually).”

 

Source | ICBA

Fannie Mae: “Hourly workers are covered under our variable income policy. The year-to-date income amount being used will account for a decline in income when determining the amount of income to be used for the trending analysis and when determining the amount to be used for qualifying purposes.” 

Freddie Mac: “The 2020 YTD earnings average used for qualifying, in accordance with Guide Section 5303.4(b), accounts for the decline in income experienced during the pandemic related income interruption(s).”

Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac

Fannie Mae: “A gap in employment or a reduction in income due to COVID-19 cannot be excluded from the calculation, and the year to date income must continue to be calculated over the entire time period. Refer to B3-3.1-01, General Income Information.”

Freddie Mac: “No.  For fluctuating employment earnings (e.g., fluctuating hourly employment earnings, overtime, bonus, commission, tips), and regardless of the earnings trend, all 2020 YTD income must be included in the calculation, in accordance with the requirements in Guide Section 5303.4(b) Employed income calculation guidance and requirements.  As the pandemic is ongoing, the income interruption/gap is not yet considered a one-time occurrence, such as an isolated injury may be; therefore, the period of income interruption must be considered in the overall YTD calculation.”

Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac

Fannie Mae: “The lender can continue to deliver loans with loan application dates prior to Jun. 11, 2020, without the additional level of documentation provided the lender determines the income amount used for qualifying purposes is stable and likely to continue by performing a self-employment income analysis in compliance with Selling Guide requirements. Lenders are encouraged to apply these temporary requirements to existing loans in process.”

Freddie Mac: “The additional documentation specified in Bulletin 2020-19 is not required for mortgages with application received dates before June 11, 2020, however the seller must determine when additional analysis and documentation is needed establish that the income amount used for qualifying purposes is stable and likely to continue in accordance with requirements of Chapters 5301 and 5304. Sellers are encouraged to apply these temporary requirements to existing Mortgages in process.”

Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac

Fannie Mae: “No. As reflected in LL-2020-03, self-employed borrowers must provide either a 2020 audited year to date Profit and Loss Statement OR a 2020 unaudited year to date Profit and Loss Statement along with two months business depository account statements. Lenders must utilize these additional documents along with the standard documentation required in the Selling Guide (B3-3.2-01, Underwriting Factors and Documentation for a Self-Employed Borrower) when calculating the income used to qualify the borrower.” 

Freddie Mac: “No, for the purposes of Bulletin 2020-19, a 2019 P&L is not required; however, a 2019 business financial statement may be used to assist in evaluating income stability when tax returns are on extension, as stated in Section 5304.1.”

Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac

Fannie Mae: “Yes. Lenders can continue to waive business income tax returns when the requirements of the Selling Guide are met.” 

Freddie Mac: “Yes; however, the seller may choose to obtain an additional year(s) of individual and/or business tax returns to support their underwriting decision.”

Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac

Is it acceptable to only use year-to-date income to calculate qualifying variable income? (added July 2 by Hollis Daniels)

Freddie Mac: “According to Guide Section 5303.4(b), if the income is consistent or the trend is increasing, the Seller must average the most recent year(s) and YTD income over the applicable number of months documented.”

“When the income trend is declining, the seller must use the YTD income and must not include the previous higher level unless there is documentation of a one-time occurrence (e.g., injury) that prevented the Borrower from working or earning full income for a period of time and evidence that the Borrower is back to the income amount that was previously earned. As the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, the income interruption/gap is not yet considered a one-time occurrence, such as an isolated injury may be.”

Fannie Mae: “When variable income is the source of income used in qualifying the borrower(s), lenders must follow the requirements as outlined in B3-3.1-01, General Income Information and perform a trending analysis. This includes determining the monthly year-to-date income amount and comparing that to prior years’ earnings to determine the appropriate amount of qualifying income for the loan transaction.

If the trend in the amount of income is stable or increasing, the income amount should be averaged. 

If the trend was declining but has since stabilized and there is no reason to believe that the borrower will not continue to be employed at the current level, the current, lower amount of variable income must be used (i.e., the monthly year to date income amount). 

If the trend is declining, the income may not be stable. Additional analysis must be conducted to determine if any variable income should be used.” 

 

Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac

FDIC: “No. Mortgage originations are typically subject to the CFPB’s Ability to Repay and Qualified Mortgage Rule (ATR/QM). The ATR/QM rule does not apply when you alter the terms of an existing loan without refinancing it. A loan modification that does not meet the definition of a refinancing in Regulation Z at § 1026.20(a) is not subject to the ATR/QM rule, and, accordingly, would not alter the QM status of a loan that was a QM at origination. As the CFPB notes in its Small Entity Compliance Guide: “The Truth in Lending Act applies to a loan modification only if it is considered a refinancing under Regulation Z. If a loan modification is not subject to the Truth in Lending Act, it is not subject to the ATR/QM rule. Therefore, you should determine if a loan modification is a refinancing to see if the ATR/QM rule applies. You will find the rules for determining whether a loan workout is a modification or a refinance in Regulation Z at § 1026.20(a) and accompanying Commentary.” 

 

Source | FDIC

HUD: “FHA has observed a significant increase in Early Payment Default (EPD) nationwide.  Most are likely caused by loss of employment and/or income due to the COVID-19 National Emergency, not the result of non-compliance with FHA Single Family origination and underwriting requirements.  Therefore, FHA is providing Mortgagees with flexibility by temporarily waiving its requirements found in Handbook 4000.1, Sections V.A.3.a.i(C) and V.A.3.a.iv(B)(2).  With this waiver, Mortgagees are not required to conduct QC reviews of EPDs that would have been selected as part of a Mortgagee’s May, June or July 2020 QC selections. Mortgagees must continue to meet all other loan-level QC requirements in Section V.A.3. For example, Mortgagees must select FHA-insured loans for review via random and discretionary sampling methods that meet the conditions described in Section V.A.3.a.iv. These random and discretionary samples may include EPDs.”

Source | HUD

Fannie Mae: “There is no pre-defined criteria or calculation for a claim amount from an investor. Investors can evaluate several factors on which they believe that they have been financially harmed due to an event, like a loan repurchase. You may contact your Fannie Mae account team to discuss.”

Freddie Mac: “In the event investors in Freddie Mac securities pay a premium that exceeds any premium paid to the Seller, the Seller will be responsible to pay the excess amount apportioned based on loan UPB and impacted investors that choose to make claims.”

Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac

Fannie Mae: “No. Other than the specific instances where an LLPA is identified as a remedy, there will be no repurchase alternatives offered.” 

Freddie Mac: “No.”

Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac

Fannie Mae: “Lenders should contact their Fannie Mae account team to make their respective election. Your account team will provide guidance on formalizing your remedy election.”

Freddie Mac: “Seller/Servicers should contact their Freddie Mac representative or call their Customer Support Contact Center at 800-FREDDIE how to make their election or if they have questions.”

Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac

Fannie Mae: “Lenders must self-report any loan that did not meet the requirements for the sale of loan in forbearance set forth in LL-2020-06 in accordance with self-reporting provisions set forth in Selling Guide D1-3-06, Lender Post-Closing Quality Control Reporting, Record Retention, and Audit. 

Fannie Mae will require the responsible party (“lender”) to remedy the loan as described here.”

Freddie Mac: “Sellers must self-report any mortgage in forbearance that did not meet the requirements in Bulletin 2020-12 for the sale of a mortgage in forbearance following the QC reporting provisions set forth in Guide Section 3402.10 or through Quality Control Advisor®, and Freddie Mac will require the Seller to remedy the mortgage as described here.”

Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac

National Association of Realtors: “Yes. When an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, is associated with a specific population or nationality, fear and anxiety may lead to social stigma and discrimination.” Housing professionals “may not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their national origin, even if they are from other countries that have also been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

National Association of Realtors: “Federal and state fair housing laws remain intact during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those laws make it unlawful to discriminate on several protected bases, including disability and national origin. The pandemic provides a unique set of circumstances for navigating federal antidiscrimination provisions. First, each real estate professional must determine whether they will provide services during this time. To the extent they continue to make services available, the Fair Housing Act applies. Such services should be provided on an equal basis while recognizing that no one is required to engage in any transactions that put their health or safety, or the health and safety of others, at risk. If reasonable accommodations can be made to provide housing or services to individuals with COVID-19, without threatening the health or safety of others, the federal Fair Housing Act calls for such accommodations to be made.”

CFPB: “Yes. The ECOA Valuations Rule already includes flexibility that allows an applicant to waive certain timing requirements of the Rule. For valuations developed in connection with an application that are subject to the ECOA Valuations Rule, creditors must generally provide applicants with copies of all valuations promptly upon completion, or three business days prior to consummation of the transaction (for closed-end credit) or account opening (for open-end credit), whichever is earlier. However, as noted in a September 14, 2018 Statement on Supervisory Practices Regarding Financial Institutions and Consumers Affected by a Major Disaster or Emergency, the ECOA Valuations Rule permits an applicant to waive the timing requirement through an affirmative oral or written statement and agree to receive any copy at or before consummation or account opening, except where otherwise prohibited by law. This regulatory flexibility available under the ECOA Valuations Rule can expedite access to credit secured by a first lien on a dwelling for consumers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Source | CFPB

Freddie Mac: “When a borrower refinances a mortgage that with a payment deferral and the amount of the deferred payments is included in the new mortgage, the new mortgage is eligible for sale to Freddie Mac as a “no cash-out” refinance if it otherwise meets all of the requirements for an “no cash-out” refinance in the Single-Family Seller/Servicer Guide. Funds applied to paying off the deferred portion are not considered cash out.” 

Fannie Mae: “When a borrower refinances a loan that has a payment deferral and the amount of the deferred payments is included in the new loan, the new loan is eligible to be sold as an LCOR if it otherwise meets all of the requirements for an LCOR in the Selling Guide. Funds applied to pay off the prior loan, including the deferred portion, are not considered cash out.” 

Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac: “No. Missed payments during a forbearance may not be refinanced into the new loan amount in a no cash-out or cash-out refinance transaction. However, per the temporary requirements in Bulletin 2020-17, if the existing mortgage is in a repayment plan, Payment Deferral, trial period plan or other loss mitigation program and the borrower has either successfully completed the loss mitigation program or made at least three consecutive timely payments, as applicable, the proceeds may be used to pay off the existing mortgage.” 

Fannie Mae: “No. Missed payments during a forbearance may not be refinanced into the new loan amount in a limited cash-out or cash-out refinance transaction. However, if a borrower has initiated a repayment plan or accepted a loss mitigation solution (e.g., payment deferral, modification, etc.) and has made three timely payments, the entire existing loan amount, including any remaining outstanding payments under a repayment plan or deferred amounts, may be refinanced into the new loan. See Lender Letter LL-2020-03 for details.” 

Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac: “If a borrower was not employed on the note date, the loan would be ineligible for sale to Freddie Mac regardless of the temporary flexibilities set forth in Bulletin 2020-12. The loss of employment would constitute a significant defect and the mortgage would be subject to repurchase unless there is other eligible documented income that would satisfy our qualification requirements. Freddie Mac’s standard QC process, including a seller’s opportunity to provide additional information or documentation in the rebuttal process, would apply.” 

Fannie Mae: “If a borrower was not employed on the note date, the loan would be ineligible regardless of the temporary flexibilities in LL-2020-06. We would cite a significant defect and the loan would be subject to repurchase unless there was other eligible income documented and the loan satisfies our qualification requirements. Our standard QC process includes an opportunity for lenders to provide additional information or documentation in the rebuttal process.”

Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac: “If the forbearance begins on the settlement date of the loan, the Credit Fee in Price will be assessed. Please refer to the Post Fund Data Correction instructions to add the IFI.” 

Fannie Mae: “If the forbearance begins any time on the sale date of the loan, the LLPA is due to Fannie Mae. For whole loans, the sale date is the date that Fannie Mae sends funds via wire transfer to the lender. For MBS, the sale date is the date that Fannie Mae issues MBS securities to the lender or to the investor designated by lender (also known as the settlement date) and takes ownership of, and title to, the loan. See Receiving Sale Proceeds or Securities in the C1-2-01, General Information on Delivering Loan Data and Documents.”

Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac

Fannie Mae: “When the mortgage loan has an escrow account, the servicer must ensure the timely payment of all escrow and related charges in accordance with applicable law. 

However, without regard to whether the mortgage loan has an escrow account, the servicer must protect Fannie Mae’s mortgage lien and the property securing the mortgage loan by monitoring the status of all escrow and related charges; this includes advancing escrow to protect Fannie Mae’s mortgage lien.  See Servicing Guide B-1-01, Administering an Escrow Account and Paying Expenses for additional information.”

Freddie Mac: “When the mortgage loan has an escrow account, the servicer must ensure the timely payment of all escrow and related charges in accordance with applicable law. 

However, regardless of whether the mortgage has an escrow account, the servicer must protect Freddie Mac’s first lien position and the property securing the mortgage by monitoring the status of all escrow and related charges; this includes advancing escrow to protect Freddie Mac’s first lien position.” 

Source | Freddie Mac
Source | Fannie Mae

Fannie Mae: “Yes. Specifically for COVID-impacted borrowers, the CARES Act states that a forbearance plan must be provided to any borrower who requests a forbearance with an attestation of the financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 emergency; and no additional documentation other than the borrower’s attestation to a financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 emergency is required. In the event that the servicer is unable to achieve full QRPC and offers a forbearance plan to a borrower impacted by COVID-19 in compliance with the CARES Act, the servicer is considered to be in compliance with Fannie Mae’s Servicing Guide.  The servicer must approve forbearance plans for borrowers impacted by COVID-19 in accordance with the CARES Act. 

If the servicer determines the borrower is not eligible for a forbearance plan per the requirements in the Servicing Guide or in Lender Letter LL-2020-02, Impact of COVID-19 on Servicing, but there are acceptable mitigating circumstances, it must request our prior written approval following the existing process. This process requires completion of the Forbearance Exception Request Template and submission to loss_mitigation@fanniemae.com. The subject line must Include “Forbearance.” See Servicing Guide D2-3.2-01, Forbearance Plan for additional information.”

Freddie Mac: “Yes, Borrowers impacted by COVID-19 must be offered forbearance under the information required by the CARES Act and Bulletin 2020-10, which do not require a borrower response package.”

Source | Freddie Mac
Source | Fannie Mae

Fannie Mae: “At the request of a borrower impacted by COVID-19, the servicer must provide an initial forbearance plan for a period up to 180 days, and that forbearance period may be extended for up to an additional 180 days at the request of the borrower.  In accordance with Servicing Guide D2-3.2-01, Forbearance Plan, the servicer may provide an initial forbearance period, and any extended forbearance period, in separate, shorter increments.  If the borrower’s COVID-19 related hardship has not been resolved during an incremental forbearance period, the servicer must extend the borrower’s forbearance period, not to exceed 12 months total.  For a borrower impacted by COVID-19, Fannie Mae is temporarily eliminating the requirement that the servicer must receive Fannie Mae’s prior written approval for a forbearance plan that would result in the mortgage loan becoming greater than 12 months delinquent.”

Freddie Mac: “Freddie Mac’s COVID-19 forbearance is available for up to six months initially (in increments if needed), and up to 12 months in total. The Servicer should discuss with the borrower the nature of the hardship and let that inform the decision of how long the forbearance should last, to the extent possible under applicable law. In the event that either a six-month term is what is agreed upon by the Servicer and borrower, or the borrower directly requests a six-month term, then the Servicer must offer a six-month term.”

Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac

HUD: “Mortgagees should report Status Code 06 – Formal Forbearance for the COVID-19 Forbearance and Status Code 10 – Partial Claim Started for the COVID-19 National Emergency Standalone Partial Claim, in the Single Family Default Monitoring System (SFDMS).

FHA continues to revise its FHA Single Family COVID-19 Q&A as needed to keep stakeholders updated with the latest information about FHA’s response to the Presidentially-declared COVID-19 national emergency. Refer to the Single Family main page on hud.gov for updates.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Mortgagees should also use the Single Family Default Monitoring System (SFDMS) existing Delinquency/Default Reason Codes available to report the Reason for Default accurately. For example: 002 Illness of Principal Borrower or 003 Illness of Borrower’s Family Member if the default is due to a primary borrower or family member that is ill; 001 Death of Principal Borrower or 004 Death of a Borrower’s Family Member if the illness results in death; 016 Unemployment if the borrower is laid off and has no job to go back to; or 006 Curtailment of Income if the borrower’s income is otherwise affected, including furlough. For further reporting questions, please contact sfdatarequests@hud.gov.

FHA continues to revise its FHA Single Family COVID-19 Q&A as needed to keep stakeholders updated with the latest information about FHA’s response to the Presidentially-declared COVID-19 national emergency. Refer to the Single Family main page on hud.gov for updates.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Yes. The FHA lender approval process is electronic, so lenders may continue to submit these requests.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “For borrowers included in the COVID-19 Moratorium published in Mortgagee Letter 2020-04, mortgagees should report the existing Delinquency/Default Status Code HUD Issued Moratorium (AS) for the applicable reporting cycle(s). Please do not report Natural Disaster (34). Borrowers otherwise affected by COVID-19 that require Loss Mitigation assistance should be reported as initially as Delinquent (42).

FHA continues to revise its FHA Single Family COVID-19 Q&A as needed to keep stakeholders updated with the latest information about FHA’s response to the Presidentially-declared COVID-19 national emergency. Refer to the Single Family main page on hud.gov for updates.”

 

Source | HUD

HUD: “HUD encourages servicers to consider the impacts of COVID-19 on borrowers’ financial situations and any flexibilities a servicer may have under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and CARES Act § 4021.d.(F) when taking any negative credit reporting actions. Borrowers with FHA-insured mortgages who are performing as agreed under FHA’s COVID-19 Forbearance option are not considered to be delinquent for purposes of credit reporting.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Only one COVID-19 Standalone Partial Claim is available to each borrower.  If the borrower requires additional assistance, Mortgagees must evaluate the borrower for HUD’s Loss Mitigation Options.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “FHA permits a Borrower to designate an attorney-in-fact to use a POA to sign documents on their behalf at closing, including page 4 of the final Form HUD-92900-A, HUD/VA Addendum to Uniform Residential Loan Application, and the final Fannie Mae Form 1003/Freddie Mac Form 65, URLA.  Detailed requirements on the use of a POA to execute closing documents can be found in Handbook 4000.1 Section II.A.6.a(xiii).  Included in this section are specific requirements for use of a POA, which has a connection to the transaction.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “FHA does not regulate the use or format of the notarization of documents. The Mortgagee must ensure that the Mortgage and Note comply with all applicable state and local requirements for creating a recordable and enforceable Mortgage, and an enforceable Note, including the requirements for notarization of these documents. Generally, the state law governs what requirements are applicable for proper notarization of a document.”

Source | HUD

Fannie Mae: “If a lender discovers a loan was in forbearance after the loan data was submitted to Loan Delivery but prior to the sale date (the date funds or the security is swapped), the lender must self-report the loan. These situations include: 

  • The loan was sold before Lender Letter LL-2020-06 was published or prior to May 1. 
  • The loan data was delivered after May 1 but did not include the SFC 919 because the borrower went into forbearance while the loan was in Fannie Mae acquisitions processing. 
  • The loan data was delivered after May 1 and the sale was consummated, but the loan data did not include the SFC 919. 

All self-reporting takes place in Loan Quality ConnectTM. This includes creating and submitting the self-report,  uploading all supporting documentation, and tracking a loan’s status as we make a decision as to how to  proceed. To facilitate the self-reporting process for COVID-19 loans, we added “COVID forbearance” to the self- reporting process for COVID-19 loans, we added “COVID forbearance” to the self-report reason menu in Loan Quality Connect. 

As a reminder, the lender must notify us within 30 days of identifying loans not eligible for delivery. Refer to D1-3-06, Lender Post-Closing Quality Control Reporting, Record Retention, and Audit, for all our self-reporting requirements.

A Job Aid on how to self-report is available to assist lenders with this process.”

Freddie Mac: “A Seller must self-report the mortgage through the post-fund data correction process or, alternatively, through the QC reporting process, within thirty days of discovery, as set forth in Bulletin 2020-14.” 

Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac

Fannie Mae: “The PPP is a loan issued by Small Business Administration lenders under the CARES Act. These loans are designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. The existence of a PPP loan could be helpful information in analyzing the borrower’s business. Lenders should apply due diligence and review the actions of the business and any impact the current situation has taken on the flow of income.” 

Freddie Mac: “If a self-employed Borrower has taken out an SBA PPP loan under the CARES Act, no payment, estimated or otherwise, need be included in the DTI or considered in the income calculation (e.g., as a deduction from income) at this time. This guidance may change as more information about the PPP loans becomes available, including the amount of loan forgiveness (e.g., full, reduced or none) which will be determined at a later date.” 

Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac

Fannie Mae: “Certain types of temporary leave may be eligible for qualifying. See B3-3.1-09, Other Sources of Income; Temporary Leave Income. However, please note that furloughed borrowers are currently ineligible under the temporary leave policy. See Lender Letter LL-2020-03.”

Furloughed income being received for a specified period of time, such as four weeks,is not stable, predictable, or likely to continue and therefore does not meet the requirements in Selling Guide B3-3.1-01, General Income Information; Continuity of Income.”

Freddie Mac: “The requirements for Income while on temporary leave do not extend to employer-initiated actions, such as furloughs and layoffs regardless of whether there is an expected return to work date.”

Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac: “Yes. Temporary alternative methods of verifying the borrower’s employment were introduced in Bulletin 2020-5.”

Fannie Mae: “Yes, reference the guidelines and flexibilities announced in Lender Letter LL-2020-03, Impact of COVID-19 on Originations.”

Source | Freddie Mac
Source | Fannie Mae

FHFA: On April 21, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced:

“The alignment of Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s (the Enterprises) policies regarding servicer obligations to advance scheduled monthly principal and interest payments for single-family mortgage loans. Once a servicer has advanced four months of missed payments on a loan, it will have no further obligation to advance scheduled payments. This applies to all Enterprise servicers regardless of type or size…

When a mortgage loan is in a Mortgage-Backed Security (MBS), Fannie Mae servicers with a scheduled payment remittance are responsible for advancing the principal and interest payment regardless of borrower payments. Freddie Mac servicers, who are generally responsible for advancing scheduled interest, are only obligated to advance four months of missed borrower interest payments. Today’s instruction establishes a four-month advance obligation limit for Fannie Mae scheduled servicing for loans and servicers which is consistent with the current policy at Freddie Mac.

FHFA is also instructing the Enterprises to maintain loans in COVID-19 payment forbearance plans in Mortgage Backed Security (MBS) pools for at least the duration of the forbearance plan.”

Source | FHFA

Fannie Mae: “Yes, in some cases income documentation may need to be updated. Refer to Lender Letter LL-2020-03, Impact of COVID-19 on Originations for details.” 

Freddie Mac: “Yes, at times the income documentation must be updated based on the age of documentation requirements published in Bulletin 2020-8, on March 31, 2020.   In addition, it is recommended that additional due diligence continues to be practiced which may include actions such as obtaining YTD paystubs from the pay period that immediately precedes the Note Date even if the temporary age of documentation requirements are met.”

 

Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac

CFPB: “Yes, the CARES Act forbearance qualifies as a “short-term repayment forbearance program” under Regulation X. The mortgage servicing rules already include an exception from certain loss mitigation procedural requirements for short-term payment forbearance programs, such as the CARES Act forbearance. This existing regulatory flexibility permits servicers to quickly offer borrowers CARES Act forbearances. FAQs # 2 through 4 under “Short-term Loss Mitigation Options” below describe this flexibility.” 

Source | CFPB

Fannie Mae: “No, Fannie Mae’s existing policies related to disasters do not apply to loans impacted by COVID-19. Instead, lenders and servicers can follow the guidance in Lender Letters LL-2020-02, Impact of COVID-19 on Servicing, LL- 2020-03, Impact of COVID-19 on Originations and LL-2020-04, Impact of COVID-19 on Appraisals. All guidance specific to COVID-19 will be communicated through Lender Letters and FAQ documents such as this. Also, note that loans in forbearance due to COVID-19 are not subject to the disaster-related forbearance policies in A2-3.2-02, Enforcement Relief for Breaches of Certain Representations and Warranties Related to Underwriting and Eligibility.” 

Freddie Mac: “No. While we are aware the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has made certain declarations that would potentially lead this national emergency to also be considered an “Eligible Disaster’ in certain areas, we have created specific requirements related to servicing mortgages impacted by COVID-19. Servicers must follow those specific requirements in Guide Bulletins 2020-4, 2020-6, 2020-7, 2020-10, 2020-15 and 2020-16.”

 

Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac

OCC: “The OCC and other federal banking regulators recognize the potential for COVID-19 to adversely affect customers and bank operations. In addition to the various regulators’ individual announcements, the federal banking regulators and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau continue to collaborate with the state regulators on COVID-19 and other issues.”

Source | OCC

CFPB: “Not immediately. In general, if a borrower submits an incomplete loss mitigation application 45 days or more before a foreclosure sale, servicers generally must exercise reasonable diligence to obtain documents and information to complete the borrower’s loss mitigation application. Regulation X, 12 CFR 1024.41. However, servicers may suspend reasonable diligence efforts to complete a borrower’s loss mitigation application while the borrower is performing under a short-term payment forbearance program until near the end of the program, unless the borrower requests additional assistance (e.g., longer term relief, such as a loan modification). Regulation X, Comment 41(b)(1)-4.iii. In the case of a 180-day CARES Act forbearance, for example, a servicer could suspend these efforts until near the end of the 180 days. If, for example a servicer extended the CARES Act forbearance an additional 180 days, the servicer could suspend these efforts until near the end of the second 180 days. 

For more information about the loss mitigation requirements, see section 13 of the Bureau’s Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (Regulation X) and Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z) Mortgage Servicing Rules Small Entity Compliance Guide.” 

Source | CFPB

HUD: “FHA will continue to process claims during the COVID-19 National Emergency; however, servicers may experience slightly longer processing timeframes if there are office closures, particularly for any claims submitted manually and Title I claim submissions and Title I manufactured housing endorsements.”

Source | HUD

OCC: “On April 3, 2020, the OCC, along with the other federal financial institution regulatory agencies and the state banking regulators, issued an interagency statement on mortgage servicing that provides needed regulatory flexibility to enable mortgage servicers to work with struggling consumers affected by COVID-19. The statement clarifies the application of the Regulation X mortgage servicing rules to Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act forbearance and describes the agencies’ flexible approach to supervision and enforcement with respect to certain Regulation X provisions that require consumer notices and loss mitigation provisions.”

Source | OCC

HUD: “If a borrower does not qualify for the COVID-19 Standalone Partial Claim at the end of the forbearance period, mortgagees must review the borrower for the standard FHA Loss Mitigation Options as outlined in the Single Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1, Section III.A.2.k HUD’s Loss Mitigation Options.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Mortgagees must offer the COVID-19 Forbearance to all borrowers who experience a financial hardship adversely impacting their ability to make on-time mortgage payments due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 National Emergency, if requested by the borrower.”

Source | HUD

National Housing Law Project: Once the eviction moratorium expires, your landlord or the housing authority can give you a 30-day eviction notice if you have not paid your rent. You may have received a reminder notice from your landlord or the housing authority to pay your rent prior to [the expiration of the moratorium]. A reminder notice is different than an eviction notice.”

HUD: “Yes. FHA published Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2020-04, “Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium in connection with the Presidentially-Declared COVID-19 National Emergency,” on March 18, 2020. This ML announced an immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium for all FHA-insured single family mortgages for a 60-day period.”

“FHA-insured Single Family mortgages, excluding vacant or abandoned properties, are subject to an extension to the moratorium on foreclosure through June 30, 2020. The moratorium applies to the initiation of foreclosures and to foreclosures in process.

Separate from any eviction moratorium applicable to lessors provided under the CARES Act, evictions of persons from properties securing FHA-insured Single Family mortgages, excluding actions to evict occupants of legally vacant or abandoned properties, are also suspended through June 30, 2020.

Deadlines for the first legal action and reasonable diligence timelines are extended by 90 days from the date of expiration of this moratorium for FHA- insured Single Family mortgages, except for FHA-insured mortgages secured by vacant or abandoned properties.”

HUD: “The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced the third 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.”

HUD: “On June 17, 2020, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) published Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2020-19, “Extension of Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium in connection with the Presidentially-Declared COVID-19 National Emergency.” This ML announces a second extension of the foreclosure and eviction moratorium through August 31, 2020.”

 

Source | HUD
Source | HUD
Source | HUD
Source | HUD

HUD: “Yes. On March 27, 2020, FHA published Mortgagee Letter 2020-05, which announced alternatives that mortgagees can use to re-verify borrowers’ employment for all FHA Single Family Title II forward mortgages prior to settlement, where required, so long as certain conditions are met. Refer to ML 2020-05 for details.” 

Source | HUD

HUD: “In accordance with Mortgagee Letter 2020-05, exceptions for two additional appraisal inspection scope of work options may be used for certain cases. The exterior-only appraisal and the desktop- only appraisal options are permitted when circumstances warrant. The FHA roster appraiser must complete all required appraisals in accordance with acceptable Appraisal Reporting Forms and Protocols. See ML 2020-05 for more program specific details.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “No. The mortgagee must obtain the borrower’s signature on the appropriate IRS form to obtain tax returns directly from the IRS for all credit-qualifying mortgages at the time the final Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) is executed. If FHA requires tax returns as required documentation for any type of effective income, in lieu of signed individual or business tax returns from the borrower, the mortgagee may obtain a signed IRS Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, IRS Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, or IRS Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization, and tax transcripts directly from the IRS.”

Fannie Mae: “If verbal or electronic reverifications cannot be completed, lenders can complete the file review without the reverification. However, lenders must: 

  • internally track all loans that did not have a successful reverification attempt during this time, and 
  • conduct a special discretionary sample of such mortgages and perform the required reverifications on the sample population upon the expiration of the flexibilities contained in Lender Letter LL-2020-03, Impact of COVID-19 on Originations 

As a reminder, the reporting requirements of D1-3-06, Lender Post-Closing Quality Control Reporting, Record Retention, and Audit continue to apply with respect to this special discretionary sample(s). 

Reminder: Lenders should prioritize execution of IRS Form 4506-T in the special discretionary sample(s) based on the expiration date of the IRS Form 4506-T.” 

Freddie Mac: “Freddie Mac does not require IRS transcripts to be obtained in connection with origination of the Mortgage.”

Source | HUD
Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac

HUD: “Yes. The FHA TOTAL Scorecard will be available.”

Source | HUD

National Association of REALTORS®: “There is no timeframe specified in the notice. The declaration/attestation is simply provided to the landlord before the tenant has been evicted. There is no waiting period or time requirement provided by the Notice. There is a form provided in the Notice, but the tenant is not required to utilize that form. They can supply the declaration in any written form they prefer.”

National Association of REALTORS®: “No: The moratorium prohibits housing providers from evicting, but does not forgive the rent that is due. In fact, for tenants who have attested and received the eviction moratorium, a property owner or agent may charge penalties, late fees and interest, per the lease.”

National Association of REALTORS®: “The moratorium began on September 4, 2020. After that date,  a housing provider may not evict for failure to pay, any tenant who submits a signed attestation, per the Notice through December 31, 2020.”

New York Times: “It takes effect as soon as it is published in the Federal Register. The order says that will happen on Sept. 4. The order applies through Dec. 31, and it’s possible that it could be extended.”

Source | New York Times

New York Times: “Seek counsel. You can search for a low- or no-cost legal assistance office near you via the Legal Services Corporation’s online map. Just Shelter, a tenant advocacy group, also offers information on local organizations that can help renters.

A lawyer can also help if a landlord tries a different approach. For instance, a landlord might try to sue in small claims court over partial payments, without filing an eviction notice that might be illegal under the order, Mr. Dunn said.”

Source | New York Times

New York Times: “No. The order specifically excludes hotels and motels.”

Source | New York Times

New York Times: “No. Aside from the income caps, your local rules may apply instead. If you’re in a state, territory or tribal area that already has a moratorium in place that provides the same or better level of protection, then that more local action will take its place. Local jurisdictions are also still free to impose stronger restrictions than the federal order. California’s moratorium goes through the end of January, for example.

The federal moratorium doesn’t apply in American Samoa, though it will if it reports its first coronavirus cases.”

Source | New York Times

New York Times: “Yes, according to administration officials.”

Source | New York Times

New York Times: “You might. The order specifically mentions this possibility. And the National Rental Home Council, a trade group for landlords who own single-family properties, said in a statement Wednesday that “once the moratorium expires, renters will owe back rent for several months.”

Source | New York Times

New York Times: “The order does not prevent landlords from charging fees, penalties or interest “under the terms of any applicable contract.” Nor does it place any restrictions on how high they can go. Check your lease to see if there is any mention of such charges.”

Source | New York Times

New York Times: “Yes. All the usual rules about criminal behavior or disruptions or destruction of property still apply. And it’s possible that a landlord will look hard for some other reason to start the eviction process, so it’s wise to follow every term of the lease, as well as any other building or property rule.

Amy Woolard, a lawyer and policy coordinator for the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, Va., warned of one issue that she and her colleagues frequently see cited in eviction cases: people not on the lease who are living at the property. This could be an issue if you’re hosting guests — like a family member who has already been evicted elsewhere.”

Source | New York Times

New York Times: “Keep paying as much as you can. Otherwise, you risk failing the eligibility test, which says you should be trying to make partial payments to the best of your ability.”

Source | New York Times

New York Times: “Email, send or hand them to the landlord in a way that allows you to get proof that the landlord received them. That way, there will be no question as to whether you did what you were supposed to do. Make sure you keep a copy for yourself.”

Source | New York Times

New York Times: “The order does not deal with roommates directly, but the officials clarified that the income cap was $99,000 per roommate. As for who should pay what if just one person can’t pay in full, the specifics may depend on the terms of the lease, any written agreement between you and your roommate, and applicable state or local law.

Eric Dunn, director of litigation for the National Housing Law Project, said it was possible that housing court judges would interpret the order expansively in this context. For example, consider a scenario where one roommate would become homeless if evicted but the other could move in with parents in an uncrowded home. In that instance, he said, the second roommate could not truthfully sign the declaration.”

Source | New York Times

New York Times: “The order says every adult who is on the lease should draft and sign a separate declaration.”

Source | New York Times

New York Times: “You can use the declaration form that the C.D.C. published on its website.

Soon after the order appeared, the Legal Innovation and Technology lab at Suffolk University Law School created an interactive tool that can help people determine if they are eligible. It can also generate a declaration to give to a landlord.”

Source | New York Times

New York Times: “Landlords who disagree with renters’ self-assessments could try to evict nonpaying tenants by arguing that they are not a “covered person” within the order’s scope and dare them to fight back legally. Then it could be up to a housing court judge to decide if a renter is eligible or if the landlord can, in fact, evict.”

Source | New York Times

New York Times: “You must meet a five-pronged test.

  1. You need to have used your “best efforts” to obtain any and all forms of government rental assistance.
  2. You can’t “expect” to earn more than $99,000 in 2020, or $198,000 if you’re married and filing a joint tax return. If you don’t qualify that way, you could still be eligible if you did not need to report any income at all to the federal government in 2019 or if you received a stimulus check this year.
  3. You must be experiencing a “substantial” loss of household income, a layoff or “extraordinary” out-of-pocket medical expenses (which the order defines as any unreimbursed expense likely to exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income this year).
  4. You have to be making your best efforts to make “timely” partial payments that are as close to the full amount due as “circumstances may permit,” taking into account other nondiscretionary expenses.
  5. Eviction would “likely” lead to either homelessness or your having to move to a place that was more expensive or where you could get sick from being close to others.”
Source | New York Times

National Association of REALTORS®: “The moratorium ended on July 25, 2020. At that point, a housing provider may initiate eviction proceedings. However, the CARES Act says that a housing provider cannot require a tenant to vacate a unit for 30 days after providing a notice to vacate a unit. So, if a housing provider gives a notice to vacate on July 25 (a Saturday), the earliest date a tenant can be evicted is Monday, August 24, 2020.”

NLIHC: “The federal eviction moratorium covers rental properties that receive federal assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Treasury (through housing built using the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program). These programs include: 

  • Public housing;
  • Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program;
  • Section 8 project-based housing;
  • Section 202 housing for the elderly;
  • Section 811 housing for people with disabilities;
  • Section 236 multifamily rental housing;
  • Section 221(d)(3) Below Market Interest Rate (BMIR) housing;
  • HOME;
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA);
  • McKinney-Vento Act homelessness programs;
  • Section 515 Rural Rental Housing;
  • Sections 514 and 516 Farm Labor Housing;
  • Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants;
  • Section 538 multifamily rental housing; and
  • LIHTC housing.

The moratorium also extends to properties with a federally backed mortgage loan, as well as properties with a federally backed multifamily mortgage loan. NLIHC has created a searchable database and map of multifamily properties covered under the federal moratoriums to help renters know if they are protected. While the database is not yet exhaustive of all covered properties, NLIHC will continue to update it as new data become available. The federal eviction moratorium prohibits owners and operators of the federally assisted housing mentioned above from filing for an eviction related to non-payment of rent, and bars any charges (for example, late fees or penalties) related to nonpayment of rent. However, the moratorium does not cover evictions that were filed before the federal moratorium took effect (March 27, 2020) or those filed after the federal moratorium ends July 25, nor does it cover evictions based on reasons other than nonpayment of rent or nonpayment of other charges. You can find a list of the specific housing programs covered on page 3 of NLHP’s summary of the eviction moratorium here: https://bit.ly/3e2zj8Z  NHLP also has a guide for advocates here: https://bit.ly/2VhKBO9. “

HUD: “The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced the third 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.”

HUD: “On June 17, 2020, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) published Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2020-19, “Extension of Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium in connection with the Presidentially-Declared COVID-19 National Emergency.” This ML announces a second extension of the foreclosure and eviction moratorium through August 31, 2020.”

 

Source | NLIHC
Source | HUD
Source | HUD

HUD: “To provide relief for Multifamily property owners, HUD has extended the audited financial reporting deadlines until September 30, 2020. This waiver is limited to entities which are required to submit the referenced annual financial information on or before June 30, 2020. Consequently, entities required to submit financial information on or before June 30, 2020 are now required to submit their financial information no later than September 30, 2020, and as otherwise provided by law. Projects with annual financial due dates after June 30, 2020, are still required to submit the financial information within 90 days of the owner’s fiscal year end date. 

Note that this waiver does not apply to submissions of financial information that were delinquent as of March 20, 2020.”

 

Source | HUD

National Association of REALTORS®: “In addition to the eviction moratorium in the CARES Act, many other state and local governments have adopted various types of eviction moratoriums or other measures to slow or prevent tenant evictions. Housing providers need to be familiar with any such state or local anti-eviction provisions to avoid violating the law and complicating evictions later. Also, in addition to eviction moratoriums adopted by federal, state, and local governments, many state courts have adopted restrictions on judicial proceedings, including eviction actions. That means that even when eviction moratoriums have ended, it may be very difficult to initiate eviction filings and schedule court proceedings to complete the eviction process.”

National Association of REALTORS®: “Yes, a landlord may refer tenants with overdue rent to a collection agency, being mindful that eviction still requires the 30-day notice with respect to rents that accrued prior to July 25th.”

 

National Association of REALTORS®: “There are several different types of eviction moratoriums to keep in mind: 

  • The CARES Act imposed a 120-day moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent on Federally-insured/assisted housing and housing financed or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. That moratorium, which ended on July 25, imposed a 30-days’ notice requirement before an eviction could take place, meaning no one could be evicted until August 24, 2020. Rent that accrued but was unpaid during the 120-day period was not forgiven, so it appears that a landlord could initiate eviction proceedings for any unpaid rent that accrued during the 120-day moratorium period. The CARES Act makes it pretty clear that, whenever a landlord issues a notice for eviction for nonpayment of rent that accrued during the 120-day period that ended on July 25, the landlord must provide 30 days’ notice for any eviction. The 120-day moratorium also imposed prohibitions on late fees and charges with respect to rents that accrued prior to July 25; no such prohibition applies to rents accruing after that date. If a tenant has not paid their past rent due after July 25th, and has NOT entered into a repayment plan, it may be in the property owner’s best interest to send a 30-days’ notice to vacate on July 26th in order to preserve their right to evict a tenant for non-payment. 
  • Mortgage forbearance eviction moratorium: If you are taking advantage of the mortgage forbearance provided under the CARES Act, additional provisions may apply. The CARES Act imposed a moratorium on evictions due to rent nonpayment for the duration of time any property was taking advantage of the CARES Act mortgage forbearance relief. FHFA and HUD have issued subsequent guidance that this eviction moratorium continues until the payments deferred by the mortgage forbearance are paid. Because the timing and length of the moratorium is up to each borrower – the mortgage forbearance relief provisions are in place until the end of the year and can provide up to 90 days of forbearance – the exact length of the moratorium will vary with each case. 

Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent after July 25, 2020: Nothing in the CARES Act discusses what happens if a tenant fails to pay rent after July 25, 2020. As a result, a landlord can initiate eviction proceedings in the normal course if, for example, a tenant failed to pay rent due on August 1, 2020. However, be mindful of any state or local eviction prohibitions that may still be in place.” 

Wall Street Journal: “An executive order signed by the president Saturday directs the Treasury and Housing and Urban Development departments to identify funds to provide temporary financial assistance to renters and homeowners who are struggling to meet their monthly rental or mortgage obligations during the pandemic. The order also directs HUD to take action to “promote the ability of renters and homeowners to avoid eviction or foreclosure.”

Regulators could potentially instruct the government-sponsored mortgage corporations Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to offer landlords forbearance on their monthly mortgage payments if their tenants can’t pay rent, assuming they don’t evict the tenants. But Fannie and Freddie are overseen by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which is independent.

The order directs the FHFA to “review all existing authorities and resources that may be used to prevent evictions and foreclosures for renters and homeowners.”

Other government housing agencies such as the Federal Housing Administration fall under the president’s umbrella, but they technically can’t spend money that isn’t given to them by Congress.”

Washington Post: President Trump’s “latest executive order does not ban evictions. Instead, Trump calls for Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield to “consider” whether an eviction ban is needed.

Trump also didn’t provide any more money to help renters. The executive order calls only for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson to see if they can find any more funds to help out. It doesn’t promise more aid.”

Wall Street Journal: “It doesn’t reauthorize the eviction moratorium set in the Cares Act that expired at the end of July. That applied only to properties with government-backed mortgages, covering just one-third of renters.”

 

Washington Post: It’s unclear whether Congress will step in to offer more help to renters.

Some Democrats have called for a $100 billion national rental-assistance program and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) has unveiled a sweeping housing plan that would ban evictions and foreclosures for a year, while giving tenants up to 18 months to pay back missed payments. But neither idea has gained traction with Senate Republicans.

Housing advocates say they are hopeful, arguing it is the only way to avoid a major crisis in the rental market. Either Congress gets ahead of the problem and establishes a rental assistance program now or waits until an emergency emerges, said Dworkin of the National Housing Conference. If Congress waits, he said, the resulting crisis could cause widespread devastation to communities throughout the country.”

 

Source | Washington Post

Washington Post: Eviction laws are complicated and can differ by state, city and courthouse. For renters unfamiliar with the process, finding an attorney could be helpful. 

A legal aid attorney may be able to help a renter determine whether the landlord is violating any federal programs. For example, the Federal Housing Finance Agency granted additional relief for property owners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, allowing them to temporarily skip some payments. 

Those landlords were barred from filing eviction complaints or charging late fees while receiving that help. But it may be difficult for a renter to determine what protections should cover them without legal help, housing advocates say.

Many legal-aid attorneys work pro bono or for a small fee and can be found on LawHelp.org or through a local housing rights group.”

Source | Washington Post

Washington Post: “Yes, the moratorium prevents landlords from evicting tenants, but the rent continues to accumulate. However, depending on the type of moratorium, landlords may be prevented from charging late fees or other penalties to delinquent renters.

Some states and cities have set up local rental-assistance programs to help tenants cover their missed payments. Austin, for example, distributed $1.2 million in an emergency rental relief fund in May, helping about 1,600 of the 11,000 who applied. In July, it announced another $17 million program.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition is tracking local rental-assistance programs here.”

Source | Washington Post

Washington Post: “Yes, eviction court hearings are still going on in pockets of the country. In some cases, judges are allowing renters and landlords to attend hearings by phone or video conferencing. Others are holding in-person hearings and attempting to maintain social distancing within the courtrooms.

“If you have a notice to appear, pay attention” and read all the court paperwork carefully, said Roller of the National Housing Law Project. If a tenant does not appear for a scheduled hearing, the judge can grant a default order against them, allowing the landlord to move forward with the eviction, he said.

Many renters leave their homes as soon as they receive an eviction notice, but that may not be necessary, housing advocates say. There is a huge backlog of cases across the country that could take months to get through, they say.”

 

Source | Washington Post

Washington Post: “It depends. Congress passed a national moratorium that has shielded about one-third of renters from eviction since late March. The renters protected under this moratorium live in buildings or homes with a mortgage that has some form of government backing.

That moratorium expires Friday, but renters still have a little time. Once the ban ends, landlords are required to give renters 30 days’ notice before filing an eviction complaint in court. That means the eviction paperwork won’t be filed until late August.

Some renters are also covered by a patchwork of state and local eviction bans that don’t end until August or September. Renters should contact local housing groups and tenant rights organizations to determine whether they are covered by a local moratorium.

Princeton University’s Eviction Lab maintains a Covid-19 Housing Policy Scorecard that includes some information about local moratoriums. 

The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have also set up websites with resources for renters.

 

Source | Washington Post

CityLab: “Renters who live in a property backed by the federal government cannot be evicted for the time being. This eviction moratorium applies to a vast web of mortgages financed, insured or securitized by federal agencies (such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) as well as homes subsidized through federal aid programs (like Section 8).

For tenants in apartment buildings, there are a few tools available to figure out whether the eviction moratorium applies where they live. On May 4, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac both launched look-up tools: Renters can enter their building name and address to find out whether the property is federally backed. The National Low Income Housing Coalition put out a similar tool in April.

However, these tools won’t help the tens of millions of renters who live in single-family homes. The Federal Housing Finance Agency is working on that tool, but for now, renters in single-family homes, condos, and small apartment buildings will need to talk to their landlords to find out whether their units are covered by the eviction moratorium laid out by the CARES Act.”

Source | CityLab

CityLab: “Maybe! But before you ask, you might want to remember that many landlords report spending more on maintenance costs, hiring cleaners ‘round the clock to scrub mailrooms and common spaces. Rent abatements are subject to normal lease rules. Rent increases are frozen in a few cities and states for now.”

Source | CityLab

CFPB: “If the property you rent isn’t covered by the CARES Act, many states have suspended all evictions and foreclosures due to the pandemic. Check the websites of your state government, state court , or legal aid program  for details and updates.”

Source | CFPB

HUD: “If a landlord issues a Housing Choice Voucher holder an eviction notice for nonpayment of rent during the moratorium, he or she should reach out to a local legal aid organization and/or the PHA as soon as possible. The tenant or their representative should inform the landlord that the eviction is against the law if it is based on nonpayment of rent between March 27, 2020 to July 24, 2020 and that no fees and penalties related to nonpayment of rent for that period can be charged. Payment of rent after the eviction moratorium ends is addressed in EM1. PHAs should remind participating HCV landlords of the legal restrictions on evictions for nonpayment of rent.” 

HUD: “The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced the third 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.”

HUD: “On June 17, 2020, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) published Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2020-19, “Extension of Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium in connection with the Presidentially-Declared COVID-19 National Emergency.” This ML announces a second extension of the foreclosure and eviction moratorium through August 31, 2020.”

 

Source | HUD
Source | HUD
Source | HUD

Realtor.com: “While it varies by state, in most cases, the coronavirus has not affected long-term rental prices, says Sheryl Jenks, licensed real estate salesperson for Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Sayville, NY.

She says short-term rental demand increased significantly due to people from city centers seeking more space and outdoor areas to shelter in place.”

 

Source | Realtor.com

Realtor.com: “Relocating during a pandemic may not seem like the best timing, but if you must, it is doable.

“With proper safety precautions and the use of online tools to assist in the process, there isn’t any reason why delaying would be necessary,” says Stinson. “Unless, of course, there are restrictions in a renter’s area.”

Hardeman says it should be a personal decision after weighing the pros and cons involved with relocating during a pandemic.”

 

Source | Realtor.com

Realtor.com: “Renting a home sight unseen is not a new concept, but it’s not ideal. Thankfully, there are a variety of workarounds online that will give you a realistic feel for the rental.

Tools such as photos, online tours, and virtual walk-throughs on FaceTime or Zoom are the next best option to actually touring the property and will give you a sense of the layout and amenities.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Stinson says the best way to learn about a property is to develop a relationship with your future landlord.

She says future tenants could also ask to speak with a current or past resident to determine if the home is a good fit for them. If possible, she recommends driving by the location to get a feel for the neighborhood.”

Source | Realtor.com

Realtor.com: “Physically walking through a home or apartment to view it is riskier now more than ever, but it is still possible—with some precautions.

“With proper social distancing, masks, and hand sanitizing, having an in-person showing can still be a safe option,” says Sarah Stinson, a spokesperson for Turbo Tenant.

‘In-person apartment tours are allowed now, but with occupancy restrictions,’ says Pisani. ‘We are not conducting open houses or showings en masse for the foreseeable future.’”

 

Source | Realtor.com

A national rental assistance program is going to happen one way or another. One way is that Congress plans ahead and puts it in place before there’s a major eviction crisis. The other is that we wait and the resulting crisis costs us much more money as well as the personal and community-wide devastation that comes with it. Which option we experience is really up to Congress. Betting on government dysfunction is the easy bet, but we did pass a $3 trillion CARES Act in record time, so I’ll hope for the best while planning for the worst.

HUD: “Rent is still due during this time period and will accumulate if unpaid.”

Freddie Mac: “Rent payments are still due during any temporary moratorium on eviction filings.”

Source | HUD
Source | Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac: “If you are experiencing financial difficulty, reach out to your landlord or property manager to discuss your situation.

If you are struggling to pay your rent, you can also contact the Freddie Mac Renter Helpline at 800-404-3097.”

Fannie Mae: “If you’re a renter in an apartment or other multifamily housing with 5 or more units, use our Renters Resource Finder to see if you have access to our Disaster Response Network or other helpful resources for working with your landlord to address your financial situation.”

HUD: “Talk to your landlord right away about a possible rent reduction if you’ve had a loss of income. 

If you receive HUD-funded rental assistance and have had a decrease in income, arrange an income recertification with your property management as soon as possible: you may be entitled to a prompt rent reduction or a hardship exemption effective the first month following the income loss. Federal stimulus payments are NOT included in your income calculation. Property management may also know about other local resources. 

If you are a tenant at an FHA-insured property, you should contact your landlord immediately if you expect that you may have difficulty paying your rent. Reach out early to discuss potential payment plans or accommodations. You may be eligible for assistance through a state or local program, or your landlord may know of other resources.”

“Voucher and public housing participants: If you lost your job or had a significant loss of income, request an interim reexamination with the housing authority as soon as possible. Your rent can be adjusted to reflect the change in income or you may be eligible for a financial hardship exemption. Your housing authority may also know about other local resources. 

Voucher participants only: Contact your landlord right away. Reach out early to discuss potential payment plans or accommodations. Due to loss in income and the resulting interim reexamination, your rent adjustment may be retroactive. Confirm with the PHA and your landlord whether you will receive a credit for the previous month.” 

Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac
Source | HUD
Source | HUD

House Financial Services Committee: “Renters receiving federal rental assistance can request an income recertification at any time to adjust their rent payment to account for any loss of income. Renters receiving federal rental assistance should contact their local public housing agency or landlord immediately to request an income recertification or a hardship exemption if they have experienced a loss of income.”

House Financial Services Committee: “Renters are protected by this temporary moratorium on evictions and late fees if they live in a “covered dwelling,” which can generally be defined as a rental home that is receiving federal subsidies or a property with a federally backed mortgage. Specifically, this includes rental housing supported by the following federal housing programs:

  • Public housing;
  • Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers;
  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance;
  • Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly;
  • Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities;
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA);
  • McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance grants;
  • Section 236 Preservation program;
  • HOME investment partnerships;
  • Rural Development multifamily housing (Section 516 Farm Labor Housing Grants, Section 542 Rural Development Vouchers, Section 521 Rural Rental Assistance, Section 533 Housing Preservation grants);
  • the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program;

It also includes rental housing with a single-family or multifamily mortgage that is

  • purchased or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac;
  • insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA);
  • guaranteed, directly provided by, or insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA);
  • guaranteed, directly provided by, or insured by the Department of Agriculture (USDA); or
  • guaranteed under HUD’s Native American or Native Hawaiian Home Loan Guarantee programs.
  • Some renters will know that their home is included because they recognize the name of a federal housing program on the list above that they had to apply and qualify for. However, if you’re not sure whether your rental unit is included, you can search the National Preservation Database, which includes most of the covered dwellings, but not all.”

National Low Income Housing Coalition: “The federal eviction moratorium covers rental properties that receive federal assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Treasury (through housing built using the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program). These programs include:

Public housing;

– Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program;

– Section 8 project-based housing;

– Section 202 housing for the elderly;

– Section 811 housing for people with disabilities;

– Section 236 multifamily rental housing;

– Section 221(d)(3) Below Market Interest Rate (BMIR) housing;

– HOME;

– Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA);

– McKinney-Vento Act homelessness programs;

– Section 515 Rural Rental Housing;

– Sections 514 and 516 Farm Labor Housing;

– Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants;

– Section 538 multifamily rental housing; and

– LIHTC housing.

The moratorium also extends to properties with a federally backed mortgage loan, as well as properties with a federally backed multifamily mortgage loan. NLIHC has created a searchable database and map of multifamily properties covered under the federal moratoriums to help renters know if they are protected. While the database is not yet exhaustive of all covered properties, NLIHC will continue to update it as new data become available. The federal eviction moratorium prohibits owners and operators of the federally assisted housing mentioned above from filing for an eviction related to non-payment of rent, and bars any charges (for example, late fees or penalties) related to nonpayment of rent. However, the moratorium does not cover evictions that were filed before the federal moratorium took effect (March 27, 2020) or those filed after the federal moratorium ends July 25, nor does it cover evictions based on reasons other than nonpayment of rent or nonpayment of other charges. You can find a list of the specific housing programs covered on page 3 of NLHP’s summary of the eviction moratorium here: https://bit.ly/3e2zj8Z  NHLP also has a guide for advocates here: https://bit.ly/2VhKBO9.”

HUD: “On June 17, 2020, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) published Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2020-19, “Extension of Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium in connection with the Presidentially-Declared COVID-19 National Emergency.” This ML announces a second extension of the foreclosure and eviction moratorium through August 31, 2020.”

National Low Income Housing Coalition:” The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) has created a searchable database and map of multifamily properties covered under the federal moratoriums to help renters know if they are protected.”

HUD: “You can find maps with information” on “HUD Assisted or FHA-insured Multifamily property covered by CARES Act eviction moratorium,” here: 

  • “HUD Multifamily – Assisted Properties: https://hudgis-hud.opendata.arcgis.com/datasets/multifamily-properties-assisted
  • FHA-insured Multifamily Properties: https://hudgis-hud.opendata.arcgis.com/datasets/hud- insured-multifamily-properties”

 Freddie Mac: “In exchange for loan forbearance, apartment building owners must agree to not evict tenants who are themselves adversely affected by COVID-19, whether due to illness, caring for a family member, job loss, reduced hours, or temporary unpaid leave, etc. This policy will last for the 90-day duration of the forbearance period.

The best way for a renter to know if they are eligible for relief is to ask their landlord or management company if they are participating in the Freddie Mac Multifamily COVID-19 Relief Program.”

Source | Freddie Mac

A: Fannie Mae: “Fannie Mae’s Disaster Response Network offers free help with the broader financial challenges caused by COVID-19. Its HUD-approved housing counselors can create a personalized action plan, offer financial coaching and budgeting, and support your ongoing success for up to 18 months. Whether you’re struggling to pay your rent or your mortgage, call today—you’re not alone.”

Source | Fannie Mae

National Housing Law Project: The federal eviction moratorium took effect on March 27, 2020 and extends for 120 days. See Sec. 4024(b). Landlords that receive forbearances of federally backed multifamily mortgage loans must respect identical renter protections for the duration of the forbearance. See Sec. 4023(d)

HUD: “On June 17, 2020, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) published Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2020-19, “Extension of Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium in connection with the Presidentially-Declared COVID-19 National Emergency.” This ML announces a second extension of the foreclosure and eviction moratorium through August 31, 2020.” These protections apply to mortgages secured by FHA-insured loans and renters living on HUD properties.

Source | HUD

National Housing Law Project: “The eviction moratorium operates by restricting lessors of covered properties (discussed in more detail below) from filing new eviction actions for non-payment of rent, and also prohibits “charg[ing] fees, penalties, or other charges to the tenant related to such nonpayment of rent.” Sec. 4024(b). The federal moratorium also provides that a lessor (of a covered property) may not evict a tenant after the moratorium expires except on 30 days’ notice—which may not be given until after the moratorium period. See Sec. 4024(c). The federal eviction moratorium does not affect cases: a) that were filed before the moratorium took effect or that are filed after it sunsets b) that involve non-covered tenancies (see below), or c) where the eviction is based on another reason besides nonpayment of rent or nonpayment of other fees or charges. The moratorium does not explicitly state whether evictions “for nonpayment of rent or other fees or charges” includes evictions motivated by a tenant’s nonpayment of rent (or other fees or charges) but formally based on a “no-cause” lease termination notice or refusal to renew a term tenancy. Sec. 4024(b)(1). However, advocates should assert that the moratorium bars the filing of any eviction case that is motivated (wholly or in part) by a tenant’s nonpayment of rent or other fees or charges, whether or not the action is formally based on such non-payment. Allowing landlords to skirt the moratorium by using “no cause” eviction cases for delinquent rent or fees would frustrate the purpose of the statute. And, such a reading would lead to an absurd result, because a landlord could more quickly and easily evict a tenant without cause during the moratorium period than after the moratorium expires (at which point a 30-day notice would be required). 2 For cases that are not barred (or not clearly barred) by the federal moratorium, advocates should next check to see whether any state or local eviction moratorium protects the client. Advocates should also check to see if any state or local moratorium provides more expansive protections than provided by the federal moratorium.”

National Association of REALTORS®: “The order does not place any affirmative obligation on a housing provider.”

National Association of REALTORS®: “The order by the CDC is based under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act, and is designed to “prevent the further spread of COVID-19.” Legal challenges are anticipated.”

New York Times: “Yes. An individual landlord could be subject to a fine up to $100,000 if no death (say from someone getting sick after eviction) results from the violation, or one year in jail, or both. If a death occurs, the fine rises to no more than $250,000. If it’s an organization in violation, the fines are $200,000 or $500,000.”

Source | New York Times

National Association of REALTORS®: “Yes, a landlord may refer tenants with overdue rent to a collection agency, being mindful that eviction still requires the 30-day notice with respect to rents that accrued prior to July 25th.”

 

National Association of REALTORS®: “There are several different types of eviction moratoriums to keep in mind: 

  • The CARES Act imposed a 120-day moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent on Federally-insured/assisted housing and housing financed or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. That moratorium, which ended on July 25, imposed a 30-days’ notice requirement before an eviction could take place, meaning no one could be evicted until August 24, 2020. Rent that accrued but was unpaid during the 120-day period was not forgiven, so it appears that a landlord could initiate eviction proceedings for any unpaid rent that accrued during the 120-day moratorium period. The CARES Act makes it pretty clear that, whenever a landlord issues a notice for eviction for nonpayment of rent that accrued during the 120-day period that ended on July 25, the landlord must provide 30 days’ notice for any eviction. The 120-day moratorium also imposed prohibitions on late fees and charges with respect to rents that accrued prior to July 25; no such prohibition applies to rents accruing after that date. If a tenant has not paid their past rent due after July 25th, and has NOT entered into a repayment plan, it may be in the property owner’s best interest to send a 30-days’ notice to vacate on July 26th in order to preserve their right to evict a tenant for non-payment. 
  • Mortgage forbearance eviction moratorium: If you are taking advantage of the mortgage forbearance provided under the CARES Act, additional provisions may apply. The CARES Act imposed a moratorium on evictions due to rent nonpayment for the duration of time any property was taking advantage of the CARES Act mortgage forbearance relief. FHFA and HUD have issued subsequent guidance that this eviction moratorium continues until the payments deferred by the mortgage forbearance are paid. Because the timing and length of the moratorium is up to each borrower – the mortgage forbearance relief provisions are in place until the end of the year and can provide up to 90 days of forbearance – the exact length of the moratorium will vary with each case. 
  • Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent after July 25, 2020: Nothing in the CARES Act discusses what happens if a tenant fails to pay rent after July 25, 2020. As a result, a landlord can initiate eviction proceedings in the normal course if, for example, a tenant failed to pay rent due on August 1, 2020. However, be mindful of any state or local eviction prohibitions that may still be in place.”

 

 

National Association of REALTORS®: “The moratorium ended on July 25, 2020. At that point, a housing provider may initiate eviction proceedings. However, the CARES Act says that a housing provider cannot require a tenant to vacate a unit for 30 days after providing a notice to vacate a unit. So, if a housing provider gives a notice to vacate on July 25 (a Saturday), the earliest date a tenant can be evicted is Monday, August 24, 2020.”

 

 

HUD: “Capital Needs Assessments (CNAs) are a core part of the RAD review process, as they are used to establish a basis on which to estimate the property’s 20-year capital needs. As such, the Office of Recapitalization will follow FHA Production’s guidance on flexibility for CNAs found in Question #1 of the Multifamily Production section of this document.”

Source | HUD

National Association of REALTORS®: “In most cases, no. Owners are under no federal requirements when it comes to counting unemployment assistance as income in connection with lease applications. In addition, the one-time $1200 check received by many taxpayers was a tax rebate or credit and should not be included in calculating a tenant’s income. If you are in a state or locality that has “source of income” provision in its discrimination laws, owners should check with legal counsel to determine how to treat unemployment compensation to avoid discrimination claims. 

If you participate in HUD-assisted housing, the amount of assistance a family receives may be affected by the amount of income they receive and so it is important to know how to count unemployment assistance. Recent HUD guidance says that different types of unemployment assistance is treated differently in calculating a family’s “annual income”: 

  • Regular payments of unemployment insurance are treated as annual income. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (“PUA”, CARES Act §2102): this is unemployment assistance for individuals who are self-employed, seeking part time employment or who otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment assistance. HUD says PUA payments are included in annual income. 
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (“FPUC,” CARES Act §2104): This is the payment of $600 that supplemented regular unemployment compensation and that ended at the end of July 2020. HUD has determined FPUC payments are “temporary income” that is not included in annual income. 
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (“PEUC”, CARES Act §2017): This program provides up to a 13-week extension of unemployment compensation (from 26 weeks to a total of 39 weeks). HUD has determined that PEUC payments are included in annual income.” 

 

 

National Association of REALTORS®: “Common law allows landlords to prohibit trespassers on their properties, but also gives tenants the right to invite guests. If a property owner wants to limit non-resident access to the property, there are several steps they can take. Landlords can require that all persons on the property (including contractors hired by tenants) must confirm they have no current COVID-19 symptoms and have not traveled to any place where the virus is prevalent. If possible, there should be some sort of check-in procedure. Posted signs should also say that visitors are subject to getting their temperature taken before being admitted. Landlords may also require that all deliveries be made to a central location (rather than throughout the property). Posting signs like that will discourage a lot of unwanted people from coming in. Staff should be familiar with the requirement and, to avoid subsequent claims of discrimination or other types of liability, should apply it uniformly. 

 

With respect to housing for older persons, the CDC has said for months that at “retirement communities” and “independent living facilities,” non-essential visitors should be limited (one visitor per day) and should be restricted to persons “who are essential to preserving health, including mental health, well-being and safety of residents.” 

 

With respect to federally-assisted housing, including Section 8, Section 202 and Section 811 housing, to the extent that HUD’s new FAQs require changes in house rules to implement a mask requirement on tenants, that guidance also suggests that owners should consider changing house rules if they want to restrict visitors. The same requirements for 30 or60 day notice, referenced above, and HUD approval apply.” 

 

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Source Link: https://narfocus.com/billdatabase/clientfiles/172/26/4033.pdf

 

National Association of REALTORS®: “Again, owners have latitude with respect to admitting outside persons onto their properties, which would include taking the temperature of visitors. Signs notifying visitors that they may be required to have their temperature taken should be posted at entrances to the property, and, as with other precautions, staff should be familiar with the requirement and apply it uniformly. 

However, as with other requirements for wearing masks and restricting visitors, HUD’s recent FAQs suggest that owners of Section 8, Section 202 and Section 811 housing wishing to require visitors to submit to temperature testing should adopt applicable house rules, subject to the same 30- or 60- day notice and HUD approval requirements.” 

 

National Association of REALTORS®: “Just as a restaurant can adopt a “no shoes, no shirts, no service” rule, landlords generally can adopt rules restricting the use of their public and common use areas, including requiring tenants and visitors to wear masks. Owners’ decision to require masks in public places will be strengthened to the extent that state or local governments have adopted rules requiring masks in public places. 

The rules may be slightly different for federally assisted properties including Section 8, Section 202 and Section 811 properties. According to recent HUD guidance, owners of these properties can update their house rules to require face coverings, but must give existing renters at least 30-days’ notice of any such change (persons within the initial lease term must be given notice 60 days prior to the end of their lease terms). The changes must be approved by HUD and “must be within the bounds of common sense [and] not excessive or extreme.” The FAQs state that rules concerning face coverings “must be consistent with state and local law and directives from public health officials,” suggesting that approval is less likely in places that have not adopted requirements to wear masks in public.”

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Source Link: https://narfocus.com/billdatabase/clientfiles/172/26/4033.pdf

 

National Association of REALTORS®: “Social distancing remains the best method to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Managing social distancing will vary from property to property. The solutions will be different for a high-rise, elevator-serviced apartment in an urban setting from a garden-style property in a suburban location. But some common themes apply to everyone.

To the maximum extent possible, housing providers should continue to restrict access to common and public areas. The virus spreads through social contact, and common and public areas are the most likely place in your property for those contacts to take place. Until effective prevention or treatment is available, housing providers should continue to restrict access to common and public areas. Encourage your residents to use common and public areas like lobbies as briefly as possible and to treat them as places for transit only and not as places for socializing. Some owners have removed furniture from lobbies to discourage residents from lingering there. Social spaces, such as community rooms and game rooms, should stay closed. Continue to restrict deliveries and, where possible, visits from non-residents. 


That’s easier said than done. In response to resident requests and improving weather conditions, some owners are experimenting with methods to relieve restrictions on common and public area. This could include limiting the number of persons who can occupy a space, or assigning appointment times for use of picnic, playground and similar areas. The problem is “social creep” – once areas are opened, residents will want to use them, and it will be very difficult to enforce any remaining restrictions. 


If it is okay to have six people in a grill area, why not 8 or 10? In a lot of respects, a flat prohibition on use is a much easier policy to enforce than relaxed restrictions that rely on residents policing themselves.

Should all public and common areas be treated alike? Yes: In particular, housing providers need to be aware that facilities that are used frequently by children – for example, recreational areas, playgrounds, and tennis and basketball courts – must be treated like any other common/public areas. Otherwise, imposing additional restrictions on facilities predominantly used by children (compared to those areas used by adult residents) may lead to charges of violations of the prohibitions of the Fair Housing Act against discrimination based on familial status.”

 

 

National Association of REALTORS®: “The language of the CARES Act says that a housing provider may not, during the period of the eviction moratorium, “charge fees, penalties, or other charges to the tenant related to such nonpayment of rent.” So, during the eviction moratorium, housing providers cannot charge fees or penalties for nonpayment. Although not expressly forbidden by the CARES Act, it seems inconsistent with the operation of the statute for owners to charge fees retroactively at the end of the moratorium period that they were forbidden to charge during the moratorium itself. However, to the extent that the tenant owes accrued but unpaid rent at the end of the moratorium period, the CARES Act does not prohibit an owner from charging fees and penalties that accrue after the expiration of the moratorium period. Please remember there are two eviction moratoriums—a 120- day period starting March 27th (ending July 25th, plus at least another 30-day notice period) and up to a 90-day period (plus at least 30-day notice period) that tracks any mortgage forbearance pursuant to the CARES Act. These periods likely, if not entirely, may overlap. 

As a practical matter, courts are themselves reopening and will be swamped with caseload. If a housing provider intends to initiate foreclosures at the end of the moratorium, it may be desirable to keep its evictions as simple as possible, to avoid legal complications such as attempting to collect fees that accrued during the moratorium period. Anything that requires judicial consideration could delay an otherwise straight-forward eviction proceeding. The more complicated the eviction claim, the more likely that claim will be delayed.” 

National Association of REALTORS®: “In addition to providing a notice of nonpayment, many owners are asking tenants to execute a formal rent forbearance agreement. These documents constitute a contractual agreement between the housing provider and the tenant, identifying the amount of rent that is unpaid and providing terms for repayment in the future. If a tenant has a good rental history in the past, it may be desirable to work out terms for repayment after the moratorium, rather than go through the effort to evict a tenant now and try to re-rent the unit in a very uncertain market. From the tenant’s point of view, many are eager to enter into a forbearance agreement that establishes a mechanism to pay accrued rents to avoid having to pay all accrued but unpaid rent in a lump sum at the end of the moratorium period. A forbearance agreement clarifies what the tenant owes and when it will be paid, and provides remedies that the housing provider can exercise if the repayment terms are not met. Again, housing providers need to consult with legal counsel to make sure that the forbearance agreement complies with state and local landlord/tenant laws in general.” 

 

 

National Association of REALTORS®: “Yes, but with some caveats: the moratorium prohibits initiation of eviction proceedings but it does not prohibit an owner from sending the tenant a notice that the rental payment is late or incomplete. Among other things, if an owner wants to initiate collection or eviction proceedings after the moratorium ends, it is wise to have a copy of these notices on hand, making clear that the housing provider documented the nonpayment and provided information to the tenant. If you send such a notice, you should consult with your legal counsel about the wording. Among other things, the notice needs to indicate that it is not itself a notice of eviction and does not include charges or fees for late or nonpayment of rent, both of which are forbidden under the terms of the eviction moratorium.”

payments that became due during the 120-day eviction moratorium; many owners entered into repayment agreements with tenants during the moratorium, making clear the amount due and the terms for repayment. In the absence of such an agreement, the owner can now give a renter an eviction notice but is still subject to the 30-day notice requirement for any pre-July 25 rents. In addition, a property owner may seek relief other than eviction – such as suing for a money judgment.” 

 

HUD: “Owners and agents may amend their lease terms and/or house rules in accordance with state and local law and HUD requirements (see chapter 6 of HUD Handbook 4350.3 for guidance on lease amendments and house rules) and Notice H12-22. Section 6-9.B.1.a of the Handbook states that house rules should be “within the bounds of common sense, […and] not excessive or extreme.” Notice H 2012-22 states that owners and agents must notify existing tenants, who have completed their initial lease terms, of modifications to the House Rules 30 days prior to implementation. Tenants who have not yet completed their initial lease terms must be notified 60 days prior to the end of their lease terms. 

House rules pertaining to face coverings must be reasonable and consistent with state and local law and directives from public health officials. Changes to house rules may be sent to the local Multifamily Office or Performance-Based Contract Administrator (PBCA) for review. While neither HUD nor the PBCA approves house rules, they can advise if any rules violate HUD statutory, regulatory, or programmatic requirements. Failure to comply with face covering requirements may be treated as a lease violation only if house rules are reasonable and consistent with state and local law and directives, and if the house rules are identified in the lease as an attachment to the lease agreement.” 

Source | HUD

HUD: “Following the instructions found in HUD Handbook 4350.3, REV-1, paragraph 7-10, B, tenants may request an interim recertification due to any changes in family income that may affect their Total Tenant Payment (TTP) or tenant rent and assistance payment occurring since the last income recertification. Following a recertification, owners/agents must then retroactively apply any reduction in rent starting with the first day of the month after the date of the action that caused the decrease in income. For example, if a tenant lost their job on March 4, 2020, then the owner/agent would reflect this change in income starting with the first day of the following month, which would be April 1, 2020. See the policy in HUD Handbook 4350.3, REV-1, paragraph 7-11 for further information on owner/agent responsibilities when a tenant reports a decrease in income.” 

 

 

 

Source | HUD

HUD: “There is no regulatory or statutory basis under the Section 8, 202, or 811 programs for an owner or agent to require tenants to take a health or medical test and disclose results as a condition of tenancy. If an owner or agent believes there is a basis in state or local law to require testing and disclosure, their counsel should provide the local HUD Multifamily Office with the legal authority. Owners and agents can encourage, but not require, tenants to get testing and disclose the results. However, tenant testing cannot be classified as a project expense.” 

Source | HUD

National Association of REALTORS®: “There are several different types of eviction moratoriums to keep in mind: 

  • The CARES Act imposed a 120-day moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent on Federally-insured/assisted housing and housing financed or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. That moratorium, which ended on July 25, imposed a 30-days’ notice requirement before an eviction could take place, meaning no one could be evicted until August 24, 2020. Rent that accrued but was unpaid during the 120-day period was not forgiven, so it appears that a landlord could initiate eviction proceedings for any unpaid rent that accrued during the 120-day moratorium period. The CARES Act makes it pretty clear that, whenever a landlord issues a notice for eviction for nonpayment of rent that accrued during the 120-day period that ended on July 25, the landlord must provide 30 days’ notice for any eviction. The 120-day moratorium also imposed prohibitions on late fees and charges with respect to rents that accrued prior to July 25; no such prohibition applies to rents accruing after that date. If a tenant has not paid their past rent due after July 25th, and has NOT entered into a repayment plan, it may be in the property owner’s best interest to send a 30-days’ notice to vacate on July 26th in order to preserve their right to evict a tenant for non-payment. 
  • Mortgage forbearance eviction moratorium: If you are taking advantage of the mortgage forbearance provided under the CARES Act, additional provisions may apply. The CARES Act imposed a moratorium on evictions due to rent nonpayment for the duration of time any property was taking advantage of the CARES Act mortgage forbearance relief. FHFA and HUD have issued subsequent guidance that this eviction moratorium continues until the payments deferred by the mortgage forbearance are paid. Because the timing and length of the moratorium is up to each borrower – the mortgage forbearance relief provisions are in place until the end of the year and can provide up to 90 days of forbearance – the exact length of the moratorium will vary with each case. 

Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent after July 25, 2020: Nothing in the CARES Act discusses what happens if a tenant fails to pay rent after July 25, 2020. As a result, a landlord can initiate eviction proceedings in the normal course if, for example, a tenant failed to pay rent due on August 1, 2020. However, be mindful of any state or local eviction prohibitions that may still be in place.” 

HUD: “HUD understands that the in-person interview is essential during the application process and allows the owner to verify the identity of the applicant. State and local social distancing requirements may impact the ability to conduct an in-person interview. Owners and agents may choose to conduct the interviews remotely using available technology or appropriate social distancing barriers. Owners and agents may accept electronic signatures on owner-adopted verification forms in order to perform both owner-adopted and HUD-required screening criteria in accordance with Notice H 20-4. Owners and agents utilizing the provisions of this Notice must do so in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Under the CARES Act, owners are eligible for up to 90 days of forbearance. During this time, owners or agents cannot require a tenant to vacate, issue a notice to vacate (or evict), or charge tenants late fees or penalties due to late or missed rent payments while under forbearance. Additionally, Notice H 20-7 extends these prohibitions to any new, extended, or amended forbearance arrangements due to COVID so long as the borrower is under forbearance. The Notice also requires owners receiving extended forbearance to inform all residents of the prohibition against eviction solely for non-payment of rent. See ML 2020-09 and Notice H-20-7 for more information on these and other requirements related to forbearance.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “The Economic Impact Payment (which is technically an advance payment of a tax credit that may be claimed on a 2020 tax return) provided by the CARES Act is not to be included in calculations of tenant income.”

Source | HUD

Wall Street Journal: “As more hotels and national and state parks reopen across the country, road trip vacations are picking up speed. Only Florida currently has checkpoint[s], on Interstate 95, just south of the Georgia border, to screen travelers. Those visitors arriving from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are required to quarantine for 14-days. New Mexico has a checkpoint on US 64, leading in and out of Taos Pueblo, which is closed indefinitely to nonresidents. For other roadside travel restrictions, see AAA’s Covid-19 map at TripTik.AAA.com. And for more road trip guidance, including tips on how to safely get gas and food along your drive, read “Expert Advice for a Safe Road Trip.”

HUD: “PHAs may choose to resume HQS inspections at any time they believe it is safe and appropriate to do so. PHAs have the option of applying the waivers in PIH 2020-05, REV-1 related to HQS inspections until the period of availability expires (currently December 31, 2020). PHAs also have the option to perform remote video inspections (RVI) as detailed in the Remote Inspection section of this FAQ and HUD encourages PHAs to do so.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “A Remote Video Inspection (RVI) can be utilized to meet regulatory inspection requirements for the Housing Choice Voucher. As described in PIH Notice 2020-13, REV-1 PH-12, an RVI can be an option for PHA self-inspections. RVI is a regular HQS/public housing inspection performed remotely with a “proxy” inspector with the PHA HQS/PH inspector remotely directing the inspection. The Department will issue additional guidance for best practices that PHAs can follow. HUD envisions that, once the process is mature, this method can be used by PHAs into the future (not just through the COVID-19 response period).”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Once REAC is able to safely resume inspections, REAC will conduct inspections based on a risk assessment of properties, including properties that have not been inspected in some time. PIH will provide a notification to PHAs and multi-family owner/agents several weeks prior to the restart of inspections in a specific geography and each property to be inspected will then be given the standard 14-day notification period. Any Exigent Health and Safety (EHS) items observed during the inspection would be required to be mitigated.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “When residents are temporarily unable to pay their utility bill, many utility companies offer accommodations such as flexible repayment plans and/or no shut off policies. 

Residents and PHAs are encouraged to reach out to local utility companies to identify these accommodations. Recently, a number of state and local governments have passed ordinances prohibiting utility companies from shutting off utilities due to a resident’s inability to pay the utility bill. When researching no shut off policies, PHAs and residents should identify (1) if there is an expiration date for the no shut off policy, and (2) if there are conditions for customers to qualify for the no shut off policy such as contacting the utility company and/or making a minimum payment. 

When residents are not able to pay their utility bill and are able to work out a repayment plan with the utility company, they are encouraged to pay what they can now so that when they are able to pay their utility bill they are not overwhelmed with a large utility bill.”

 

Source | HUD

HUD: “In an effort to prevent evictions for non-payment of rent, the PHA could: (1) process a retroactive interim reexamination if the family had a decrease in income (see FAQ OC14 for additional information on retroactive interims), (2) encourage an owner to enter into a repayment agreement for the unpaid rent, and/or (3) use CARES Act Administrative fees to offer a retention incentive to owners who, as an alternative to filing the eviction, are willing to work with the family and/or PHA (for example, entering into a repayment agreement with the family, providing time for the PHA to update its interim reexamination policy or retroactive interim reexaminations, etc.). HUD strongly encourages owners enter into repayment agreements so that families may continue to be housed after the eviction moratorium expires, and the family can come back into compliance with the terms of their tenancy. 

On July 1, 2020, the Department provided PHAs with an “Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit,” which was built by innovative practices that many housing authorities are already taking and includes several specific PHA examples and best practices. We encourage PHAs to review the toolkit, as it includes relevant HUD guidance on repayment agreements, interim reexamination policies, hardship exemptions, example repayment agreements and a ready-to-use tenant flyer and an HCV landlord flyer.”

 

Source | HUD

HUD: “For any unpaid rent during the moratorium, the family has the option to repay the PHA or owner the amount of unpaid rent due or sign a repayment agreement to pay any amount owed after the moratorium has ended. If the amount owed by the public housing resident is not repaid, the PHA is authorized to terminate the family’s assistance and proceed with a legal action to evict. See FAQ question EM16, 24 CFR 966.4(l)(2) and Section 16 of Notice PIH 2018-18. However, HUD strongly encourages PHAs enter into repayment agreements so that families may continue to be housed after the eviction moratorium expires, and the family can come back into compliance with the terms of their tenancy. PHAs should also review their state and local laws, as many state and local jurisdictions are also enacting their own moratorium on evictions that may last longer than the 120-day period of the CARES Act. 

On July 1, 2020, the Department provided PHAs with an “Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit,” which was built by innovative practices that many housing authorities are already taking and includes several specific PHA examples and best practices. We encourage PHAs to review the toolkit, as it includes relevant HUD guidance on repayment agreements, interim reexamination policies, hardship exemptions, example repayment agreements and a ready-to-use tenant flyer and an HCV landlord flyer.”

 

Source | HUD

National Association of REALTORS®: “Your mortgage may be covered by the moratorium on foreclosure, which applies to all federal mortgage (FHA, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae), but hopefully it won’t get to that. You may also be eligible for mortgage forbearance. That means that your payments are frozen while under the forbearance period. You must contact your servicer to request forbearance, though. There are no fees and after the forbearance period you can request a modification to have the missed payments extended onto your payment term. NAR has worked with a coalition of organizations to lobby for security in all of the real estate waterfall. We are trying to ensure that when evictions are stopped for tenants, relief is provided for property owners.”

Multi Housing News: “Resident retention is always top of mind during spring leasing season. It’s almost always more profitable to keep a resident than to have to turn the apartment and close a new lease. So hopefully the excellent rapport that you’ve established with residents in the weeks leading up to, and during, the pandemic will positively impact resident retention. Interestingly, the coronavirus does not seem to have hindered new leasing activity as much as expected. Some operators actually saw a surge in leasing, with good results enabled by technology.

Leasing agents have been leading virtual walk throughs of communities and model units for remote prospects. On-site self-guided tours have also been offered and are expected to really take off as stay-at-home restrictions are removed. Using doors enabled with remote locking and unlocking technology, prospects are able to practice social distancing as they view the property and see the model without having to meet with a leasing associate. Other strategies include offering renewals at current rental rates or offering extensions on renewals upwards of three months, without charging any type of short-term fees. Care packages with toilet paper, hand sanitizer, masks and nonperishable food go a long way in generating goodwill, and make good tenants think twice about moving.”

 

Multi Housing News: “There will be many takeaways from this health crisis, but one of the most important from an operations standpoint is the necessity to have all residents on board with electronic rent payment. At the onset of the pandemic, with in-person interactions curtailed, it became clear that rent collection was one service that could potentially be disrupted. Communities that have historically welcomed residents stopping by the office with a check had to pivot quickly, reminding residents that there are other options. Right now, operators should continue reminding residents that there generally are no fees to pay by bank transfer, in case this is why they are hesitant to take advantage of online payments. And, if fees are involved, consider limiting or waiving them. There are even ways for renters who prefer to pay rent with cash to use electronic-pay systems.

Apartment companies that have been processing rent payments electronically through their existing online portals are happy they transitioned long ago. Owners are finding that online rent payers have been more likely to maintain rent payments during the crisis. It seems that even tech-phobic residents who are now exploring other options will likely emerge from the health crisis with a new appreciation for touchless rent pay. Online rent collection keeps everyone socially distanced, helps prevent the spread of germs and is also a huge time saver for property managers.”

 

Multi Housing News: “Every fulfilled rent payment helps keep properties afloat and property owners able to pay their mortgages. It’s important to communicate to renters who haven’t been financially impacted by the pandemic that they’re responsible for the rent in full. This is not a rent holiday—everyone has to do their part to help those around them. Thankfully, many apartment residents have kept their jobs during the pandemic, have been able to work from home and are paying rent on time. According to NMHC, 93 percent of renters had paid full or partial rent for June by the third week of June.

One way to ensure a continuation of this model behavior is through payment incentives. Residents who are able to pay their rent on time will want to keep doing so, especially if they’re recognized with an incentive such as a gift card for a local takeout business, a future discount or a special offer that can be redeemed once the pandemic is over. Online payment applications can also increase the degree to which tenants meet their obligations in a timely fashion.”

Ballard Spahr: “The CARES Act does not address tenant rent reductions.” 

Source | Ballard Spahr

Ballard Spahr: “The CARES Act does not address tenant rent increases.”

Source | Ballard Spahr

HUD: “For any unpaid rent after the moratorium has ended, the family can repay unpaid rent in a lump sum to avoid eviction. The PHA could also set up a repayment agreement, but that is at the discretion of the PHA. Currently, if the amount owed is not repaid either in a lump sum or is not in a repayment agreement after July 24, 2020, then the PHA would determine if there is a serious lease violation. If the PHA finds a serious lease violation, the PHA is authorized to terminate assistance and proceed with a legal eviction. See 24 CFR 966.4(l)(2). If the PHA decides to execute a repayment agreement with the household, see the repayment agreement guidance listed in Section 16 of Notice PIH 2018-18.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Per Section 4024(b)(2) of the CARES Act, fees in relation to nonpayment of rent cannot be charged. Therefore, if utilities are included in the lease agreement as part of rent, then fees for unpaid utilities cannot be charged and cannot accrue during the moratorium. Fees that have no relation to rent may be charged during the moratorium.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “On March 27, 2020, the President signed the CARES Act, which provided new waiver authority described in PIH Notice 2020-05. With this flexibility, HUD strongly encourages PHAs to continue using available funding to house families, keep families in their homes, and conduct critical operations that can be done remotely and safely. Some critical functions for PHAs include, issuing vouchers so families can find housing, processing Requests for Tenancy Approvals (RFTAs) so families can be approved to move into a unit, processing requests for portability moves, ensuring occupancy of Public Housing units, processing minimum rent hardship exemptions, and completing reexaminations for participants who have experienced a decrease in income.

Through Notice 2020-05, the waivers and alternative requirements were effective immediately for those PHAs that elected to adopt them during the period of availability. There is no need to submit individual waiver requests to adopt the provisions included in PIH Notice 2020-05; however, PHAs are required to keep written documentation that record which waivers the PHA applied to their programs(s) and the effective dates.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Yes, if you filed with the court of jurisdiction, you can continue the action if the court is operating, subject to any local eviction moratorium requirements.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “This answer would depend on the language in the state or local law. For example, if the state has prohibited all evictions, then that more stringent requirement would apply to the PHA and HCV landlords in that state. If the state has ordered an eviction ban, there may also be a limit on court enforcement of evictions.

Source | HUD

HUD: “A PHA/owner may send a reminder notice of the late rent. However, the reminder notice must not include fees/charges for the nonpayment of rent, and the reminder notice cannot be a notice to vacate. After the moratorium expires, the PHA can proceed with their standard process. Residents cannot be required to vacate for at least 30 days after the end of the moratorium, and the PHA cannot issue a notice to vacate until July 24, 2020 (expiration of the moratorium). Residents retain their rights for due process and grievance proceedings under 24 CFR 966 Subpart B and 24 CFR 982.555.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “To provide relief for Multifamily property owners, HUD has extended the audited financial reporting deadlines until June 30, 2020. This waiver is limited to entities which are required to submit the referenced annual financial information on or before June 30, 2020. Consequently, entities required to submit financial information on or before June 30, 2020 are now required to submit their financial information no later than 180 days after the end of the fiscal year of the reporting period, and as otherwise provided by law.

This waiver is limited in scope and does not apply to the submission requirements for financial information that was delinquent as of March 23, 2020.”

 

Source | HUD

HUD: HUD will temporarily permit suspension of Residual Receipts Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) offsets, as outlined in H 2012 – 14 and 4350.1 Chapter 25, section 10, in certain circumstances. All Project Rental Assistance Contracts (PRACs) may suspend offsets for Residual Receipts through December 31, 2020. Owners of properties receiving Section 8 HAP assistance payments must receive approval in advance to suspend offset payments. Asset Management Division Directors in the Multifamily Regional and Satellite Offices are authorized to suspend such offsets through December 31, 2020, for properties where COVID-19 expenses are anticipated to exceed available resources. After December 31, 2020, all properties must offset HAP vouchers for all Residual Receipts in excess of the minimum allowed retainable balance.

Source | HUD

HUD: “An owner or agent of a multifamily property covered by the CARES Act may only charge fees and penalties during the eviction moratorium if the charge is wholly unrelated to a tenant’s nonpayment of rent. However, during the eviction moratorium, the CARES Act prohibits an owner or agent from filing for possession of a unit for nonpayment of any rent, fee or charge. This holds true regardless of the date the fee or charge was initially assessed.

While the CARES Act is silent on what an owner or agent can charge after the eviction moratorium ends, HUD’s interpretation of this provision is that fees and charges that could not be assessed during the eviction moratorium should not accrue and should not be charged after the moratorium ends; however, rents not paid during the moratorium, as well as fees assessed prior to the eviction moratorium, which took effect on March 27, 2020, may be collected.”

 

Source | HUD

National Apartment Association: “While rent collection should continue in accordance with your lease agreement, we ask that you recognize that some residents have been or will be financially impacted by COVID- 19, and you may consider working with those residents on alternate payment schedules, considering waiving late fees and providing financial resources to residents where applicable. In addition, remember to check applicable emergency orders in your jurisdiction(s) that may direct further operations regarding rent collection. To prevent continued exposure, residents should be encouraged to pay rent online if this option is available at their community. If the leasing office is closed, or if an online payment option is not available, a drop box or other method for money collection should be available for residents. Employees should handle all money collection with disposable gloves and wash their hands accordingly.”

 

National Apartment Association: “For most employers, protecting workers necessitates emphasizing basic infection prevention measures. All employers should implement good hygiene and infection control practices, including promoting frequent and thorough hand-washing, encouraging employees to stay home if they are sick and reinforcing respiratory etiquette, including properly covering coughs and sneezes. 

Maintaining regular housekeeping practices, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, equipment and the overall work environment should remain a priority. When choosing cleaning chemicals, employers should consult information on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved disinfectant labels with claims against emerging viral pathogens. Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 based on data for aggressive viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use of all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, PPE). 

Additionally, employers should develop an “Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan” that includes a section on transitioning employees back into the workplace. The following guidance is offered to help your organization understand the most important factors of this plan to ensure an effective and safe transition back to the workplace for all employees.” 

 

HUD: “HUD recommends that property managers and service coordinators avail themselves of all relevant training and supplies at the local, state, and federal level.” 

Source | HUD

HUD: “Until federal, state, or local public health officials counsel otherwise, owners and agents should follow published guidance covering apartment inspections. In this case, Paragraph 20 of the HUD Model Lease covers the rules governing the landlord’s access to a tenant’s apartment.” 

Source | HUD

HUD: “Under the regular tenant-based voucher program, there is no requirement to renew the lease. Eviction after nonrenewal of a lease is a state and local law matter. The CARES Act includes a temporary moratorium (120 days) only on evictions for nonpayment of rent, as well as fees and penalties related to nonpayment of rent. HUD will issue additional guidance. In addition, some states and localities may provide additional protections to tenants with respect to lease renewals. An owner’s ability to not renew the lease under the tenant-based voucher program does not override additional protections provided to tenants under federal, state and local law.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “In accordance with the U.S. Housing Act of 1937, PHAs must conduct an examination of family income at least annually. PHAs may conduct limited annual reexaminations of income for families where the family’s income consists of 90% or more from fixed income sources, but the PHA would still have to perform a full examination in the initial year, and then every three years thereafter. During the second and third years after the initial income recertification, PHAs can adjust fixed sources of income based on the cost of living adjustment associated with that source of income. Also, the PHA must have policies in place on how they will adjust any non-fixed sources in the intervening years.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Allowing families to switch from flat rent to income-based rent should be covered in your agency’s hardship policy. If the PHA determines that the family is unable to pay the flat rent because of financial hardship, the PHA must immediately allow the requested switch to income-based rent (24 CFR 960.253(g)). HUD requires PHAs to adopt written policies for determining when payment of flat rent is a financial hardship for the family and will issue additional guidance to assist PHAs with this process.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “All Section 3 related questions should be sent to section3@hud.gov.  Issues related to SPEARS should be sent to 60002questions@hud.gov.  Please refrain from sending the same question to both mailboxes as they are managed by the same staff.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “No, the Section 3 statutory and regulatory requirements have not been waived. We encourage Section 3 covered recipients to take every precaution to remain safe during this difficult time and follow the directives of the CDC, WHO, and state and local guidelines. However, if Section 3 covered recipients are engaging in Section 3-related hiring or contracting during this time, the Section 3 covered recipients are still required to meet the Section 3compliance requirements outlined in 24 CFR 135. Section 3 residents and businesses are the most vulnerable at this difficult time, so we strongly encourage Section 3 covered recipients to make every possible effort “to the greatest extent feasible” to make employment and contracting opportunities.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “PHAs should follow all state and local health department guidance as well as the CDC’s COVID-19 communication resources in both print and digital form at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/index.html”

HUD: “Residents are not required to notify administrators if they have or may have a positive case of COVID-19. However, if you do receive information of a positive case, in coordination with local health officials, communicate the possible COVID-19 exposure to all residents and workers, volunteers, and visitors. This can be done by placing signage in common areas and entrances/exits and by letter to all residents, delivered to their doors. Messages should attempt to counter potential stigma and discrimination. Residents could be advised to inform their recent personal visitors of potential exposure. Owners and agents must maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Privacy Act. Owners and agents may provide notification of positive COVID-19 cases, but they must ensure the notification does not disclose any names, apartment numbers, and other personally- identifiable information to residents, workers, volunteers, and visitors. Owners and agents should also consult local and state health and privacy laws before making any disclosure. CDC COVID-19 printable materials for community-based settings are available on the CDC website.”

Source | HUD
Source | HUD

HUD: “As part of planning efforts related to COVID-19, HUD encourages PHAs to evaluate which functions can be done remotely if the PHA office closes or staff are quarantined. On March 27, 2020, the President signed the CARES Act. This legislation provides HUD the ability to waive statute or regulations and impose alternative requirements to provide PHAs with flexibilities necessary to respond to COVID-19. Guidance on these waivers and alternative requirements will be forthcoming. In the interim, HUD encourages PHAs to take the necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of their staff, assisted families and properties. PHAs should not submit COVID-19 waiver requests until new guidance is issued. PHAs that previously submitted COVID-19 related waiver requests to PIH_Disaster_Relief@hud.gov 6 will be notified via email that their waiver is being held for processing pending forthcoming guidance. If there are additional waiver requests not covered by the new authority and guidance, HUD will review and respond.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “For new residences, the United States Housing Act of 1937 requires that for each dwelling unit for which a housing assistance payment (HAP) contract is established, the PHA shall inspect the unit before any assistance payment is made to determine whether the dwelling unit meets housing quality standards. HUD is currently considering waivers and alternative requirements to provide administrative flexibilities around HQS inspections. This guidance will be informed by the CARES Act. Currently, PHAs can utilize the following existing HQS inspection flexibilities: PHAs can move to biennial inspections following the streamlining notice (PIH 2016-05) or triennial inspections if they are small rural PHAs under the established definition (Notice FR6115-N-02). PHAs can accept alternative inspections for periodic inspections (PIH 2016-05) and accept alternative methods for validating the correction of a deficiency (for example- a photo or owner certification). PHAs can adopt the HOTMA Non-Life threatening (NLT) provision (PIH 2017-20) to allow families to move into units before unit has passed HQS, if it failed for non-life-threatening deficiencies. Additionally, PHAs, can adopt the HOTMA Alternative Inspection provision, allowing families to move in before an HQS inspection has been completed, as long as it has passed an acceptable alternative inspection. If, for any reason, any of these change to inspections would require an update to a PHA’s Admin Plan, HUD can waive the requirement for the Admin Plan changes to be formally adopted by the board in order to become effective (24 CFR § 982.54(a)). HUD is considering inclusion of waivers around updating the Admin Plan updates in the waiver notice. PHAs are encouraged postponing submission of such waivers at this time because on March 27, 2020, the President signed the CARES Act. This legislation provides HUD the ability to waive statute or regulations and impose alternative requirements to provide PHAs with flexibilities necessary to respond to COVID-19. Guidance on these waivers and alternative requirements will be forthcoming.”

Source | HUD

American Apartment Owners Association: “While standard insurance provisions may not help you now, there are a few newer insurance solutions that could be helpful in this sort of situation. These supplemental programs can cover loss of rent due to the tenant’s inability to pay, although it would be a separate coverage with an additional cost that depends on the amount of coverage that is needed.

An increasingly popular option is the establishment of a master renters insurance policy. It’s imperative that landlords require their tenants to carry renters’ insurance, mostly to protect yourself against potential claims due to the tenant-caused claims that would otherwise fall under the landlord’s policy without the layer of protection that renter’s insurance provides. But it can be more hassle than it’s worth to make sure that all your tenants are complying and not letting their coverage lapse when you’re not looking.

A master renters insurance policy is not that different than a standard renters policy. The biggest difference is that the policy is controlled by you, the landlord, so there is never a worry of whether your tenant is carrying proper coverage. Typically, for the cost of approximately $10.00 per tenant, per month (a cost that can be easily passed down to your tenant via rent collection), a master renters policy will provide a limited amount of personal property coverage for the tenant, along with the important tenant liability coverage, as well as a capped payout amount ($1,000 per tenant, per year, is normal) to the landlord to recoup lost rents due to the tenants’ inability to pay.

Another potential solution is having a separate loss of rents policy where you as the landlord can determine the coverage amount you feel is necessary. For example, you may be able to get one month, three months, or six months of loss of rent covered based on the monthly income you want covered. This is a more tailored solution to the loss of rents issue since you get to choose the income you want covered and the amount of time you want covered. However, it can be more expensive, and unlike a master renters’ insurance policy, it doesn’t include renters insurance for the tenant. For that reason, this might be better suited to a more established business, or those who don’t believe a capped payout of $1,000 per tenant per year is going to be worth it.

The more extensive loss of rents policy tends to come with some caveats for coverage to occur, so please make sure to read the specifics and ask questions about any quotes you obtain so you know exactly what you’re paying for.

The pandemic has affected people all over the globe, and it has led many business owners to wonder how they could be covered for such situations. For landlords, it’s important to examine the business income (a.k.a. loss of rent) insurance they have and take a look at including coverage for a tenant’s inability to pay rent. Insurance is a complicated thing, but here at InsuranceHub we would be more than happy to help you find the insurance solution that suits your business and coverage needs during this difficult time.”

American Apartment Owners Association: “This is the big question: As a landlord, are you covered for loss of rent due to coronavirus? Business income is a coverage that is most likely included in your property policy (you may refer to it as “loss of rents”, but typically it is listed as “business interruption” or “business income” or in your insurance policy. These three terms are interchangeable for the purpose of this article). Business income provides coverage to the landlord from lost rental income due to an underlying covered cause of loss to the property.

For example, a tenant causes a kitchen fire that spreads to the two units beside it, in turn making their current unit and the two neighboring units uninhabitable, thus creating a loss of income due to the inability to lease out the damaged units. The key is that due to property damage, the units cannot be occupied for an extended period of time, while remediation is occurring. Therefore, you will typically see business income deductibles in the form of time (0 hours, 24 hours, 72 hours), instead of a standard monetary deductible. While it does depend on the specific language in the policy, most business income coverage provisions state that business income coverage must be triggered by a covered cause of loss to the property. The scenario in which a tenant is unable to pay rent (due, perhaps, to a pandemic) is not covered by business income since there is no underlying property damage triggering the coverage.

That being said, there has been some talk of Congress attempting to force insurance companies to cover lost income due to the pandemic, but thus far the attempts have not been successful for a myriad of reasons. Just on Tuesday, April 14th, the Insurance Commissioner of California mandated that insurance companies must look at and consider all business income claims. The argument is that acts of “Civil Authority” is a covered cause of loss for many insurance companies. But, the counterargument is that property policies also typically carry an “Exclusion of Loss Due to Virus or Bacteria”, and COVID-19 is a virus. So, it remains to be seen as to what insurance carriers will end up doing with the current coronavirus pandemic.

Insurance coverages evolve with the times, so it is highly likely that business income losses due to pandemics will also be an optional coverage in the future. Terrorism coverage came about shortly after 9/11, and Cyber coverage came about after the technology boom. While this won’t help many in the current predicament, it may provide a sense of relief that insurance carriers do respond to catastrophes by tailoring coverages to fit the needs of their clients.

To answer the question simply: No, your typical business income insurance would not cover your loss of rent if your tenants are unable to pay due to the coronavirus. But, there may still be options out there…”

HUD: “Residents may experience significant stress about their safety related to COVID-19 transmission, and may ask for temporary relocation out of multi-unit properties. PHAs can request additional information from the resident to verify the need for relocation. PHAs are not required to grant these requests in advance of a specific health department directive. PHAs can request verification from a medical health professional or the state or local health department as part of reviewing special requests related to COVID-19.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “PHAs may be asked by the health department to assist in response to COVID-19. If the PHA needs to perform specialized cleaning of a unit and temporary relocation of that family to another unit while it is performed, HUD considers the cleaning and temporary relocation of that family an operating expense, therefore they may use operating funds. If there is a need to do a larger scale cleaning of multiple units and common areas, HUD considers the cleaning of multiple units and temporary relocation of multiple families a capital expense, therefore they may use their capital funds for the cleaning services and for temporary relocation of families. If residents request specialized services in the absence of a specific health department recommendation, PHAs can request additional information from the resident as verification. Verification could include written communication from a medical health professional or the state or local health department. PHAs may use electronic and telephonic communication to perform verification.”

Source | HUD

National Multifamily Housing Council: “The CDC Guidelines recommend that someone who has been exposed to, shown symptoms of, or has tested positive for COVID-19 should self-isolate in their homes.  Therefore, in most situations, property operators should allow individuals to self-isolate in their units and respect their privacy.


However, if an individual with a medical diagnosis of COVID-19 is not following the CDC Guidelines about home isolation, a property operator can consider taking steps to protect other residents and the property.  These steps should not be taken lightly and should only be undertaken after consulting with your legal teams. Specifically, the federal Fair Housing Act does not protect an individual whose tenancy constitutes a “direct threat” to the health or safety of other individuals.


Although the Fair Housing Act does not protect an individual whose tenancy would constitute a “direct threat” to the health or safety of other individuals, the determination of what constitutes a “direct threat” cannot be based upon generalized fear, speculation, or stereotypes.


Instead, a determination that an individual poses a “direct threat” must rely on an individualized assessment that is based on reliable objective evidence (e.g., current conduct, or a recent history of overt acts).  Specifically, the assessment is to consider: (1) the nature, duration, and severity of the risk of injury; (2) the probability that injury will actually occur; and (3) whether there are any reasonable accommodations that will eliminate the direct threat.


In very limited situations, based on specific and serious circumstances relating to an individual behavior, a property operator may consider asking a resident to vacate their unit or to consider eviction proceedings.  However, given the eviction moratoriums and due to the urgency if one believes an individual is a “direct threat,” an operator should consider contacting the public officials.”

National Multifamily Housing Council: “Many property operators have determined that, at this time, in order to ensure the health and safety of their staff and other residents, they can only respond to emergency maintenance requests from residents.

As long as individual dwelling units remain safe and habitable, this type of across-the-board determination about what maintenance requests property operators will respond to is reasonable given state-ordered restrictions limiting available on-site staff and concerns regarding transmission of the COVID-19 virus.  It is advisable to make those decisions across all properties to the extent possible to ensure that determinations about responding to maintenance requests are uniformly applied at the property level to avoid claims of discrimination on the basis of color, disability, familial status, national origin, race, religion, sex, or any other class of individuals protected under state or local law.

Prior to sending an employee into a dwelling unit to respond to a maintenance request, in order to protect the health and safety of that employee, a property operator may request information about whether anyone in the unit has been knowingly exposed to, shown symptoms of, or has tested positive for COVID-19.  Because, at this time, there is no obligation on residents to affirmatively provide this information and residents may not have knowledge of their exposure, it may be most prudent to treat every unit as one that has a COVID-19 positive resident in it and proceed accordingly.”

HUD: “No, there is no HUD prohibition against a resident returning to their unit until a negative test is received. HUD encourages owners and agents to coordinate and cooperate with local health care professionals and officials to ensure a safe transition from one location to another.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Effective March 27, 2020, the CARES Act requires that property owners cease starting new actions against tenants of covered dwellings for 120 days on both FHA-insured Multifamily properties and Multifamily-assisted properties. Further, they must waive late payment fees and charges during this time for nonpayment of rent. Therefore, the temporary moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent, as well as a moratorium on charging fees and penalties related to nonpayment of rent apply regardless if employment was directly or indirectly linked to COVID-19.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “MFH suggests property owners and agents follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and the direction of local health officials, especially in the event of property quarantine. 

HUD recommends that owners/agents create communication plans for distributing timely and accurate information during an outbreak. First, they should identify everyone in their chain of communication (for example, staff, volunteers, key community partners and stakeholders, and clients) and establish systems for sharing information. After identifying this information, they should maintain up-to-date contact information for everyone in the chain of communication as well as identify platforms, such as a hotline, automated text messaging, and a website to help disseminate information to those inside and outside of their organizations. 

Owners/agents can provide notification of positive COVID-19 cases without giving the name/apartment number/other personally-identifiable information to their residents and staff. HUD reminds them that they continue to remain subject to HIPAA and other privacy laws.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “See these links from the CDC for recommendations on cleaning and disinfecting:

In addition, HUD has recently published relevant guidance on best practices in medical waste disposal on the HUD Exchange site. Medical Waste Disposal: Best Practices for Owners of Multifamily Properties, provides owners of multifamily properties with a short summary of best practices and links to state and federal websites providing guidance on safe disposal of medical waste.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Owners and agents should generally follow CDC guidelines and the directions given by local health officials for emergency preparedness. Chapter 38 of Handbook 4350.1, Emergency and Disaster Guidance, should also be consulted.”

Source | HUD

BDO: “Even during times of significant uncertainty, nonprofit organizations must keep their mission as the North Star guiding their response. Many organizations may face interruptions to programming as a result of reduced travel and social distancing—but that doesn’t mean furthering your mission should take a backseat.

Organizations must be prepared for an extended crisis environment as a pandemic fuels significant threats including cyberattacks, fraud, regulatory changes, supply chain disruptions and bankruptcies. Organizations need to take a step back and put together a crisis management team and a response program that includes executive leaders, investment advisors and communications and program staff. This team should assess how to maintain as much normalcy as possible while limiting exposure risks to both their own employees and the constituencies they serve. With cashflows for many nonprofits significantly disrupted, liquidity and sustainability must also be a driving force of decision-making. Nonprofits should also view the crisis as a catalyst for needed change, as the sense of urgency, cooperation, need for innovation and decisiveness that emerges in crisis can also help secure viability for the organization. As organizations look to the future, they should apply lessons learned and update their risk program.”

 

Source | BDO

HUD: “Formula and Competitive grantees may use a number of methods to immediately fund COVID-19 activities that can be reimbursed and reconciled once the CARES Act funds are received. Some options include: 

Leveraged Non-Federal funds: grantees may use general funds or other non-HOPWA resources to pay for COVID-19 activities they are carrying out now that they intend to cover with their CARES Act award, once received 

Current HOPWA funds/awards: grantees may use any line item available in their current awards to pay for COVID-19 activities they are carrying out now that they intend to cover with the CARES Act award, once received”

 

Source | HUD

HUD: “Competitive-HOPWA grantees may serve any HOPWA-eligible clients in their area and are not limited to current clients. Grantees must work closely with the Formula HOPWA grantees and other programs in their area to coordinate program responses and to avoid any duplication of services.”

Source | HUD

HUD: Yes, you may spend the CARES Act funds for activities that are outside of the normal scope of the Permanent Supportive Housing categories included in your contracts. You should: 

Continue to carry out the normal activities outlined in your HOPWA contract
Plan and budget for the use of supplemental CARES Act funds you will receive – may be used for any HOPWA-eligible activity or specific activities described in the CARES Act
Follow the HUD process to complete forms and provide activity descriptions for use of the CARES Act money

Source | HUD

BerryDunn: “While the House and Senate have reacted quickly to bring needed relief to individuals and businesses across the country, the reality for most is that more will need to be done to stabilize. Operationally, obvious responses in the short term should be to eliminate all nonessential purchasing and maximize the billing and collection functions in accounts receivable. Another option is to utilize or increase an existing line of credit, or establish a new line of credit, to alleviate short term cash flow shortfalls. Organizations with investment portfolios can consider the prudence of increasing the spending draw on those funds. Rather than making a few drastic changes, organizations should take a multi-faceted approach to reduce the strain on cash flow while protecting the long term sustainability of the mission.”

Source | BerryDunn

BerryDunn: “Many nonprofits with endowments are considering ways to balance an increased reliance on their investment portfolios with the responsibility to protect and preserve the spending power of donor-restricted gifts. Some things to think about include the existence (or absence) of true restrictions, spending variations under the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA) applicable in your state, borrowing from an endowment, or requesting from the donor the release of restrictions. All need to be balanced with the intended duration and preservation of the endowment fund.” 

Source | BerryDunn

Council of Nonprofits: “Even as external indicators show an eagerness by some to reopen everything, we all need to do what is right, not what may be popular in the moment. Simple logic and logistics may dictate the need to take more time. First and foremost, flexibility will need to be at the center of these decisions and processes.

For both safety and peace of mind of those on-site, each organization should have adequate quantities of hand sanitizer, cleaning/disinfecting supplies, and personal protective equipment for your staff. With so much demand for these products right now, it may be difficult to acquire what you need early on.

Keep in mind that everyone will have different realities outside of the office. Access to child care will not be back to normal right away, so some staff may continue to require flexible work schedules.

Similarly, access to transportation to and from work sites may be challenging for some employees, as physical distancing rules may restrict carpooling arrangements that existed pre-COVID-19. Also, public transportation may not be back to normal for quite some time. And, even if public transportation is running, some staff will avoid it for a while for their own safety. If employees previously relied on public transportation for their commutes, will some need to drive to and from the office? Is there adequate parking for them?

Workspaces where people previously worked in close quarters will need to be reconfigured and/or staff coverage staggered to continue to allow for adequate physical spacing. You may also want to institute a schedule for lunch breaks to avoid too much overlap in a small kitchen or break room space.

Just as you child-proof a home, virus-proof your workplace. What high transit doors can you prop open? In which high-touch, high-volume places can you place disinfectants (such as near the copy machine, the refrigerator, and the microwave)?”

Council of Nonprofits: “The answer will be different for every organization based on multiple factors. The first factor, of course, depends on your mission. If your mission has been “essential” and you’ve remained on-site, what changes will you need to make to accommodate (potentially increased) clientele and any returning paid or volunteer staff? And for those who have continued to work on-site, what additional support do your staff need in terms of time off, longer breaks, or mental health services? For those reopening our doors, we’ll need to consider factors such as the size and layout of the workspace – for individual employees, clients, and visitors – in common spaces and at workstations. Other factors depend on your geographic location, the spread of COVID-19 in your region, and any public health orders by government authorities. And throughout, we all need to consider not the quickest or easiest ways to do something, but rather seek the highest common denominator of what’s needed by our staff members and the people we serve who may be at higher risk of contracting the virus or developing severe complications. A good working mantra could be, ‘Safety of others is our highest priority.’”

Jewish Federations of North America: “The proceeds of PPP loans can be used for for payroll costs; and nonpayroll costs consisting of interest payments on mortgage obligations on real or personal property incurred before February 15, 2020, rent or lease payments under lease agreements for real or personal property in force before February 15, 2020; and covered utility payments for the distribution of electricity, gas, water, transportation, telephone, or internet access for which service began before February 15, 2020. 

At least 75% of the loan amount must be used for payroll costs. No more than 25 percent of the loan proceeds can be used for nonpayroll costs.”

 

Jewish Federations of North America: “The interest rate on the loans is 1.0%.”

Jewish Federations of North America: “Payroll Costs includes compensation to employees such as salary, wages, paid vacation, parental, family, and medical or sick leave (not including leave covered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act), severance payments; payment for group health benefits, including insurance premiums; retirement benefits; state and local taxes assessed on compensation of employees.”

Jewish Federations of North America: “PPP loans will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. The loans were announced as available during the “covered period”, which ends June 30, 2020. Congress is currently debating possible changes to the program. As we do not know if the availability of funding will be extended, it is best to apply as soon as you can.”

Treasury:No. The exclusion of compensation in excess of $100,000 annually applies only to cash compensation, not to non-cash benefits, including: 

  • employer contributions to defined-benefit or defined-contribution retirement plans; 
  • payment for the provision of employee benefits consisting of group health care coverage, including insurance premiums; and 
  • payment of state and local taxes assessed on compensation of employees.”

Treasury: “No. Small business concerns can be eligible borrowers even if they have more than 500 employees, as long as they satisfy the existing statutory and regulatory definition of a “small business concern” under section 3 of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 632. A business can qualify if it meets the SBA employee-based or revenue-based size standard corresponding to its primary industry. Go to www.sba.gov/size for the industry size standards. 

Additionally, a business can qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program as a small business concern if it met both tests in SBA’s “alternative size standard” as of March 27, 2020: (1) maximum tangible net worth of the business is not more than $15 million; and (2) the average net income after Federal income taxes (excluding any carry-over losses) of the business for the two full fiscal years before the date of the application is not more than $5 million. 

A business that qualifies as a small business concern under section 3 of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 632, may truthfully attest to its eligibility for PPP loans on the Borrower Application Form, unless otherwise ineligible.”

National Low Income Housing Coalition: “Only certain Private Non-Profit Organizations (PNP’s) are eligible for Category B Public Assistance. To be eligible, the Nonprofit in question must have an IRS-granted tax exemption or documentation from the state showing that they are a non-revenue producing, nonprofit entity organized under state law. They must own or operate a facility that provides “eligible services.” These eligible services are broken into two parts 1) Eligible Critical Services and 2) Eligible Non- Critical, Essential Social Type Services. 

A Nonprofit that owns or operates a facility offering the above services can be eligible as a PNP if such use of the facility is not limited to any of the following: 

  • A certain number of individuals 
  • A defined group of individuals who have a financial interest in the facility (HOA’s, Condominium Associations, etc…) 
  • Certain classes of individuals (NOTE: This requirement does not apply to facilities that restrict access in a manner clearly related to the nature of the facility) 
  • An unreasonable restrictive geographical area, such as a neighborhood within a community.”

National Low Income Housing Coalition: “The EEIG program provides small businesses and nonprofits with an emergency grant of up to $10,000 that does not need to be repaid. To apply for a grant through the EEIG program, a business or organization must first apply for an EIDL and will be able to request a grant in the EIDL application.”

National Low Income Housing Coalition: “The EIDL program offers states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans through the SBA. These loans are distributed to small businesses and private, nonprofit organizations that have experienced a substantial economic impact due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Currently, small businesses and private, nonprofit organizations in all states and territories are eligible to apply for assistance through the EIDL program because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Typically, a state or territory’s governor must first work with SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance to submit a request for EIDL assistance. SBA has the authority to approve the request and issue an EIDL declaration for the state or territory. Once an EIDL declaration is issued, EIDL loan applications are made available for small businesses and private, nonprofit organizations throughout the state or territory.”

National Low Income Housing Coalition: “Unlike typical SBA loans, PPP loans are available to a broader range of businesses and organizations, including tribal organizations, veterans’ organizations, and nonprofits. Nonprofit affordable housing providers who meet SBA’s affiliation standards would be eligible to apply for a PPP forgivable loan to cover the cost of payroll expenses, mortgages, rent, leases, and utility service agreements.” 

“Whether or not a specific affordable housing nonprofit qualifies for a PPP loan varies, although it is likely that Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and LLC management companies controlled or managed by a nonprofit would meet qualification requirements.” 

Community Foundation Public Awareness Initiative: “More than 325 U.S. community foundations in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, have created relief funds to support those affected by COVID-19 — directing critical relief to local nonprofits and partnering with local governments and health organizations to help contain its spread.

To date, these efforts have already mobilized $536.6 million to help those in need in every corner of the country. Announced grant making to date totals $175 million. (See the latest update.)

A full listing of verified funds, by state, is provided below.

CLICK HERE

National Counsel of Nonprofits: “The CARES Act provides significant funding for governments, businesses, hospitals, schools, and social support programs, among many other things. Below are key provisions of sector-wide interest to charitable nonprofit organizations.

Paycheck Protection Program Loans (emergency SBA 7(a) loans): Creates an emergency loan program providing loans of up to $10 million for eligible nonprofits and small businesses, permitting them to cover costs of payroll, operations, and debt service, and provides that the loans will be forgiven in whole or in part under certain circumstances. Section 1102.

  • General Eligibility: Available to entities that existed on February 15, 2020 and had paid employees or paid independent contractors.
  • Nonprofit Eligibility: Available for charitable nonprofits with 500 or fewer employees (counting each individual – full time or part time and not FTEs). The law does not disqualify nonprofits that are eligible for payments under Title XIX of the Social Security Act (Medicaid), but does require that employees of affiliated nonprofits may be counted toward the 500 employee cap, depending on the degree of control of the parent organization.
  • No Personal Guarantee: No personal guarantee or collateral will be required in securing a loan.
  • Loan Amount: The lesser of $10 million or 2.5 times the average total monthly payroll (including benefits) costs from the one-year period prior to the date of application.
  • Loan Use: Loan funds can be used to make payroll and associated costs, including health and retirement benefits, facilities costs, and debt service.
  • Loan Forgiveness: Employers that maintain employment for the eight weeks after the origination of the loan, or rehire employees by June 30, would be eligible to have their loans forgiven, essentially turning the loan into a grant. Section 1106.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL): Creates emergency grants for eligible nonprofits and other applicants with 500 or fewer employees enabling them to receive checks for $10,000 within three days. Section 1110.

Self-Funded Nonprofits and Unemployment: Only reimburses self-funded nonprofits for half of the costs of benefits provided to their laid-off employees. This is explained in a recent blog article [3]. Section 2103.

Charitable Giving Incentive: Creates a new above-the-line deduction (universal or non-itemizer deduction that applies to all taxpayers) for total charitable contributions of up to $300. The incentive applies to cash contributions made in 2020 and can be claimed on tax forms next year. Section 2204. The law also lifts the existing cap on annual contributions for those who itemize, raising it from 60 percent of adjusted gross income to 100 percent. For corporations, the law raises the annual limit from 10 percent to 25 percent. Food donations from corporations would be available to 25 percent, up from the current 15 percent cap. Section 2205.                                         

Employee Retention Payroll Tax Credit: Creates a refundable payroll tax credit of up to $5,000 for each employee on the payroll when certain conditions are met. The entity had to be an ongoing concern at the beginning of 2020, experienced a whole or partial shutdown, and had seen a drop in revenue of at least 50 percent in the first quarter compared to the first quarter of 2019. The availability of the credit would continue each quarter until the organization’s revenue exceeds 80 percent of the same quarter in 2019. For tax-exempt organizations, the entity’s whole operations must be taken into account when determining eligibility. Notably, employers receiving Paycheck Protection Program loans would not be eligible for these credits. IRS Form 7200, Advance Payment for Employer Credits Due to COVID-19 [4]. Section 2301.

Delayed Payment of Payroll Taxes: Allows employers to delay payment of the employer portion payroll taxes in 2020; payable in equal halves at the end of 2021 and 2022. Section 2301.

Economic Stabilization Fund: Creates a loan and loan guarantee program for industries like airlines to keep them solvent through the crisis. It sets aside $454 billion for “eligible business” which is defined as “a United States business that has not otherwise received economic relief in the form of loans or loan guarantees provided under” the legislation. It is expected, but unclear, whether charitable nonprofits qualify under that definition for stabilization loans. Mid-sized nonprofits and businesses that have between 500 and 10,000 employees are expressly eligible for loans under this provision. Although there is no loan forgiveness provision in this section, the mid-size business loans would be charged an interest rate of no higher than two percent and would not accrue interest or require repayments for the first six months. Nonprofits accepting the mid-size business loans must retain at least 90 percent of their staff at full compensation and benefits until September 30.  Section 4003.

 Other Significant Provisions

Direct Payments to adults of $1,200 or less and $500 per child ($3,400 for a family of four) to be sent out in weeks. The amount of the payments phases out based on earnings of between $75,000 and $99,000 ($150,000 / $198,000 for couples). Section 2201.

Expanded Unemployment Insurance: Includes coverage for workers who are furloughed, gig workers, and freelancers. Increases payments by $600 per week for four months on top of what state unemployment programs pay. Section 2104.

 Amendments to the New Paid Leave Mandates: Lowers the amounts that employers must pay for paid sick and family leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act [5]* (enacted March 19) to the amounts covered by the refundable payroll tax credit – i.e., $511 per day for employee sick leave or $200 per day for family leave. Sections 3601 and 3602.

Significant Spending: The law also calls for large infusions of cash to the following sectors:

  • $150 billion for a state, tribal, and local Coronavirus Relief fund
  • $130 billion for hospitals
  • $30 billion for education
  • $25 billion for transit systems

Legislative Resources

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, H.R. 748 legislative text

Section-by-Section Summary of the CARES Act

National Association of Home Builders: “Yes. The legislation funded several programs in these amounts:

  • Community Development Fund (CDBG) — $5 billion. CDBG is a flexible block grant program, commonly used by communities for a wide range of needs. CDBG is primarily used for activities that benefit low- and moderate-income individuals.
  • Section 202 housing for the elderly — $50 million
  • Section 811 housing for those with disabilities — $15 million
  • Homelessness Assistance Grants — $4 billion. This funding is for homeless individuals, shelter and Public Housing Authorities (PHAs). However, this funding will also assist those who find themselves on the verge of homelessness due to severe income loss from COVID-19.
  • Fair Housing Act initiatives — $2.5 million. Of this total, $1 million will go for education and outreach and $1.5 million is for enforcement.”

HUD: “Production: For FHA insured transactions, please see Q&A #14 of the Office of General Counsel Question & Answers, FHA Multifamily Housing Production Closings, Coronavirus (COVID-19) (May 24, 2020). 

Asset Management: Electronic signatures are allowed for all subsidy administration, including contract renewals, rent schedules, and HAP Assignments, and all other MFH submissions. 

Recapitalization: For RAD and other real estate transactions, the recorded documents typically have “wet” signatures that are notarized. The HUD closing attorney will have to advise if electronic signatures are acceptable in the recording offices in their jurisdictions. Documents that will not be recorded may be signed electronically. 

For all transactions, electronic signatures must conform to the requirements of Notice H 20-4, as well as applicable federal, state, and local requirements.”

 

 

Source | HUD

HUD: “Unless advised otherwise by the providing party, FHA lenders and their counsel should assume any PII provided by a HUD closing attorney was intended for the sole purpose of facilitating the timely and efficient completion of a real estate transaction during a nationally declared pandemic.  The PII should not be used for any other purpose, including redisclosure to other parties, without the express consent of the individual providing the PII.  If the real estate transaction has concluded, please immediately delete the PII from all systems and records.  If the real estate transaction has yet to conclude, please ensure the information is deleted upon completion or, if earlier, at the request of the HUD employee.”

Source | HUD

National Association of REALTORS©: “Until we get more guidance from Treasury and IRS as to what constitutes “adverse financial consequences” we will not know for sure. By its literal meaning, adverse financial consequences could arguably be even $1 less in income due to tenants not paying rent due to the shutdown. However, it is possible that the regulations would not recognize the ownership of a small number of rental properties as meeting the definition of a business. We hope that the regulations will be liberal in their interpretation, but until they are released, we cannot say for sure.  Retirement plan administrators may rely on an individual’s certification that the individual satisfies the conditions to be a qualified individual in determining whether a distribution is a coronavirus-related distribution.  However, the individual is entitled to treat such distribution as a CRD only if they actually meet the eligibility requirements.  Thus, a person who believes they do qualify may instruct their retirement plan to issue a distribution, but how it is taxed will be determined by the guidance the IRS ultimately issues.”

FDIC: “The definition of a statutory multifamily mortgage requires a DSC of at least 120 percent for a fixed-rate loan, or 115 percent for an adjustable rate loan. The DSC ratio is based on the property’s annual net operating income (NOI) for the most recent fiscal year and the loan’s annual debt service. Because there typically is a lag before a financial institution receives a property’s financial statements, the DSC ratio usually is based on the prior year’s operating results. Therefore, any accommodation provided to a statutory multifamily mortgage borrower affected by COVID-19 in 2020 will generally not affect eligibility as a statutory multifamily mortgage until 2021. For determining whether the DSC ratio meets the eligibility criteria in 2021, financial institutions can use the property’s NOI from 2020, taking into account any accommodations that modify, extend, suspend, or defer the payments to borrowers affected by COVID-19.”

Source | FDIC

FDIC: “Yes. The Loan Modification Statement states that financial institutions’ efforts to work with borrowers with prudently underwritten one-to-four family mortgages whose loans are not past due or carried in nonaccrual status will not be considered restructured or modified for the purposes of the agencies’ respective risk-based capital rules. This approach applies to  multifamily loans of $1 million or less that qualify as residential mortgage exposures.

For other multifamily loans, the criteria to “not be restructured or modified” is not included within the requirements for a statutory multifamily mortgage to receive a 50 percent risk weight under the risk-based capital rules. However, a statutory multifamily loan will receive a 150 percent risk weight if it is 90 days past due or on nonaccrual status. Institutions should refer to the Interagency Statement for additional information on when a loan is considered past due or on nonaccrual status.”

Source | FDIC

USDA: “Late fees on Section 515 mortgages will be waived, subject to waiver authority in 7 CFR 3560.403 (c)(3).” 

Source | USDA

USDA: “The CARES Act allows Multi-family borrowers to request forbearance if they are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Multi-family Housing has existing authority in 7 CFR §3560.453to take special servicing actions as part of a workout plan on Section 514 and 515 loans to prevent a default, and under that authority will approve a deferral of up to 3 monthly loan payments. For your convenience, attached is a sample streamlined workout agreement proposal that MFH considers to be in compliance with the requirements of 7 CFR §3560.453(c). Borrowers are welcome to use that sample or submit your requests orally or in another written format to your assigned Multi-family Servicing Official.”  

Source | USDA

HUD: “Stakeholders are reminded to ensure that their responses remain faithful to obligations under the Constitution, Fair Housing Act and related regulations. Exigencies associated with important and timely response to issues surrounding COVID-19 are not the basis for unlawful discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability or familial status.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Owners and agents should contact their field MFH Account Executive or Resolution Specialist for property specific inquiries. Jeff Little, the Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for MFH Programs, is the main point of contact for Multifamily stakeholders.” 

 

Source | HUD

HUD: “During the COVID-19 National Emergency, HUD will temporarily permit the deferral of the submission of the capital needs assessment (CNA) for Section 223(a)(7) projects until the earlier of the following: when a capital needs assessment can be safely completed or one year after endorsement of the loan. The current reserve for replacement balance must be transferred in full at time of endorsement, and the lender must continue existing monthly payments into the reserve for replacement account until a CNA has been completed.

All distributions from surplus cash will be temporarily suspended from time of endorsement of the loan up to the submission, review and approval of the updated needs assessment. Once the CNA has been prepared, reviewed and approved by HUD, the borrower must first use surplus cash funds to offset repairs and/or to increase reserves. Depending on the financial analysis included as part of the CNA, the annual deposit to the reserve for replacement account may also be revised downward.

This flexibility to delay submission of the CNA is only available to the existing servicing lender and for projects with a REAC score of 80 or better. The lender must also certify in its narrative that to the best of the lender’s knowledge, there are no physical needs that would otherwise exceed the repair limitations permitted by the Section 223(a)(7)

 

Source | HUD

HUD: “Certain State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs), Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (THPOs) and federally recognized tribes have indicated that they are unable to participate in the standard 30-day consultation period during an office closure. The National Conference of State Historic Preservation Offices maintains a database https://www.achp.gov/coronavirus with the operating status of each SHPO office and whether or not it can accept electronic submissions. There is no equivalent database for THPOs or for federally recognized tribes; therefore, federal agencies must reach out directly to assess their status.

According to the ACHP, the Section 106 deadlines for a SHPO and/or THPO response will be considered paused while an office is closed or work conditions are such that the SHPOs and/or THPOs are unable to carry out their Section 106 duties due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This pause would also apply to consultation with federally recognized tribes for projects that involve ground disturbance.

HUD will not issue a Firm Commitment (for FHA-insured loans), the RAD Conversion Commitment (RCC) (for public housing conversions), RAD Conversion Agreement (for Project Rental Assistance Contract (PRAC) conversions)), or RAD Approval Letter (for Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation/Single Room Occupancy (Mod Rehab/SRO) conversions until it has met its obligations under Section 106.

HUD can generally accommodate a consultation process that requires more than 30 days. However, HUD will be monitoring this situation closely to minimize or avoid any adverse effect that office closures may have on applications. Please alert HUD if a project has an urgent time frame.”

 

Source | HUD

HUD: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Multifamily Housing is allowing the postponement of regular 10-year PCNA updates (as outlined in Section 10.10 of the MAP Guide) until September 30, 2020, for properties with PCNA reports that are due between March 15 and September 30, 2020. This postponement will allow for additional time for the scheduling, conducting, and submitting of the 10-year PCNA.”

Source | HUD

HUD:  “Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2020-09, dated April 10, 2020, provides guidelines to assist all FHA Approved Multifamily Mortgagees in developing forbearance agreements.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “PHAs may use Capital Funds to cover costs of capital expenditures designed to improve the safety of residents such as improved ventilation systems and high-grade filters, portable air filtration equipment, and portable humidifiers. 

Capital Funds may be used to pay for necessary equipment to protect people engaged in modernization activities (e.g. PPE for workers involved in construction). In addition, they can be used to pay for transportation costs of people engaged in modernization activity if transportation is disrupted by COVID-19 (e.g. because public transit is suspended). 

PHAs may also use Capital Funds as Management Improvements to cover costs such as emergency planning, public health training, IT equipment and upgrades to allow for remote public meetings or telework by PHA staff, and sanitation equipment for common areas. 

In accordance with 2424 CFR 905.314(l), all PHAs may transfer up to 25 percent of a Capital Fund grant to Budget Line Item (BLI) 1406 to be used for costs that are eligible under the Operating Fund Program. PHAs with fewer than 250 units, that are not designated as troubled, and have no significant modernization needs or debt service payments may transfer up to 100 percent of a Capital Fund grant to BLI 1406 to fund items eligible under the Operating Fund Program. 

PHAs may use Capital Funds to cover these activities even if they are not in an approved 5-Year Action Plan as stated in 24 CFR 905.200(b)(18). However, PHAs will need to update affected 5- Year Action Plans and corresponding Annual Statements/Budgets within a reasonable period of time.” 

Source | HUD

HUD: “Operating Funds can be used to cover staff labor hours for planning and response, PPE, and cleaning supplies such as disinfectants, sanitizers, etc. If a PHA chooses to contract out specialized cleaning services, operating subsidy can be used. Additionally, Operating Funds may be used for costs to transport staff to perform essential functions. 

Small PHAs (fewer than 250 public housing units) may use operating funds as described above, or to pay for activities listed in the question related to eligible uses of capital funds as described below.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “The best way to communicate with HUD is either by phone or via email as opposed to through the postal service or via an expedited delivery service. To the extent that an agency needs to transmit documents with signatures, the Department encourages PHAs to either sign the documents with legally binding digital signatures or to sign the documents – scan them – convert them to PDF and email the PDF document. There is one exception to this rule: because of specific language in HUD’s appropriation, the Department cannot except Capital Fund Annual Contributions Contract (ACC) Amendments with digital signatures, but it can accept scanned Capital Fund ACC Amendments with written signatures in lieu of receiving hard copy signed ACC Amendments in the mail.” 

Source | HUD

HUD: “Yes, a PHA may apply for an extension to the obligation end date of its Capital Fund grants, as long as the request is received prior to the obligation end date. In most cases, the obligation extension justification related to COVID-19 would be pursuant to 24 CFR 905.306(d)(5), ‘An event beyond the control of the PHA.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Assisted families in the public housing and HCV programs currently have the ability to report decreases in income. PHAs adjust the family share of the rent and granting hardship exemptions consistent with applicable regulations and the PHA’s policies. A decrease in family income is not the basis for a termination of tenancy action (HCV program) or eviction from public housing. 

In light of these extraordinary circumstances, HUD encourages PHAs and Owners to prevent the displacement of families through eviction which significantly increases the risk of homelessness and overcrowding. 

Tribes and TDHEs administering the IHBG program are encouraged to use their discretion and best judgment to provide relief to any residents who cannot meet their rent obligations under these circumstances.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Waivers are not needed for voucher extensions and lease up. With respect to HQS inspections, HUD encourages PHAs to use existing inspection flexibilities. If they have not already, PHAs should consider adopting biennial inspections (Notice PIH 2016-05: Attachment K: Biennial inspections and the use of alternative inspection methods and inspection timeframes). Under this notice, a PHA that moves to biennial inspections for all of the units in its portfolio does not need to update its Admin Plan to reflect the change. However, if for any reason, this change would require an update to a PHA’s Administrative Plan, HUD will consider waiving the requirement for the Admin Plan changes to be formally adopted by the board in order to become effective (24 CFR § 982.54 (a)). For a full list of PHA flexibilities involving HQS inspections please refer to PIH Notice 2017-20.” 

Source | HUD

HUD: “Currently, there is no new or dedicated funding to create emergency plans for the COVID-19 virus. For PHAs operating public housing, the time for staff to prepare plans should be considered an operating expense. For PHAs operating the HCV program, the time for staff can be considered an administrative expense.”

Source | HUD

HUD:  “If a lender is uncertain as to the market, then the appropriate response is to delay submission of the application. Should an unforeseeable event occur at the time of submission of the application (plant/office closings in the market directly impacting the project) which would void or alter the underwriting conclusions, then any refund would depend upon the time that HUD spent in review. The application fee is earned at time of submission, per requirements in the MAP Guide.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “No, outside of HUD’s use of the ‘stop the clock’ option to respond to deficiencies, there is no mechanism to pause the process. There can be no assurance that previously submitted due diligence reports will remain acceptable. If a lender is uncertain as to the market, then the appropriate response is to delay submission of the application. The alternative is to incorporate mitigants to offset the impact of current market challenges. The lender may also choose to withdraw the application and resubmit at a later date with updated reports, as further discussed in Question #18 in this section.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Owners, general contractors, and lenders should proactively assure that Surety Bonds and Builder’s Risk insurance policies will remain in place and will not be impaired by any job slow- down, temporary cessation of work, or any failure to report or communicate emergency conditions or consequences.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “HUD requires that lender or third-party appraisers inspect the property and the subject comparables in accordance with MAP Guide requirements to insure the credibility of the resulting valuation conclusion. To the extent that the contracted appraiser cannot physically inspect the site, the appraiser should contract with a local, appropriately credentialed appraiser to perform the site inspection in his/her stead. In this situation, the report must identify the appraiser conducting the site visit, their credentials, and a certification regarding the limit of their inspection, if any.

When appraisers are unable to inspect units on-site due to COVID-19 concerns, they should consider the following options:

  • Conduct inspections of vacant units. If vacant units are the only ones inspected, the appraiser should make an extraordinary assumption that the sample units viewed are representative of all the units. The inspector should provide a detailed review of the differences between these units and the others considered for the valuation.
  • Use of construction drawings and other available documentation to supplement their physical inspections
  • Use of information from CoStar or other reporting services and other available documentation to supplement their physical inspections.
  • Note any previous inspections, if applicable. 

Any/all sources of information used for valuation purposes must be documented, and multiple sources of information on interior site conditions are preferable to enhance the reliability and credibility of the valuation, in lieu of an actual physical inspection.

Appraisers and lenders should contact the HUD field office that will be processing the application for additional guidance.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Yes, lenders may perform lease audits electronically if the information is available and verifiable.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “If the lender’s travel is restricted (thereby limiting the lender from inspecting the site), the capital needs inspection report may be accepted for underwriting purposes on the condition that the lender inspects the property prior to the issuance of the insurance commitment. Therefore, to the extent that a lender is not able to physically inspect the property due to COVID-19 concerns, the conclusions of the report must be included without modification as part of the application.

HUD’s appraisers and market analysts, as necessary, must inspect the property and subject comparables in accordance with Multifamily Accelerated Processing (MAP) requirements to insure a credible valuation conclusion.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “If a third-party capital needs inspector cannot physically inspect the required sample of units due to COVID-19 concerns, the Regional Production Director may waive the sampling requirements in favor of inspecting only vacant and model units on a case-by-case basis for recently built insured properties (within 10 years of submission) or non-insured properties built within the past five years. All other properties will require a complete inspection prior to issuance of the firm commitment.”

Source | HUD

HUD: 

  • “Production: For FHA insured transactions, please see the section on Office of General Counsel-MFH Closings below for specific information. 
  • Asset Management: Electronic signatures are allowed for all subsidy administration, including contract renewals, rent schedules, and HAP Assignments, and all other Multifamily Housing submissions. 
  • Recapitalization: For RAD and other real estate transactions, the recorded documents typically have “wet” signatures that are notarized. The HUD closing attorney will have to advise if electronic signatures are acceptable in the recording offices in their jurisdictions. Documents that will not be recorded may be signed electronically. 

For all transactions, electronic signatures must conform to applicable federal, state, and local requirements.” 

Source | HUD

HUD: “Mortgage forbearance repayment is a negotiation between borrowers and lenders. HUD will not participate in those negotiations except where the loan in question is a HUD-held loan. While the forbearance agreement is entered into between the borrower and lender, a copy of the forbearance agreement must be provided in connection with actions requiring HUD approval, if any are included in the agreement. HUD provided guidelines in Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2020-09, dated April 10, 2020, to assist in borrower/lender negotiations; however, these guidelines are not required to be followed. This ML also provides information on the process for HUD-held loans.” 

Source | HUD

HUD: “All HUD Multifamily assisted housing properties as well as HUD Multifamily properties with an FHA-insured mortgage are covered under Section 4024 of the CARES Act. Therefore, the moratorium on evictions would apply to private owners of properties that either receive housing assistance payments under a Multifamily assisted housing program or those with an FHA-insured mortgage. Since the Internal Revenue Service administers the LIHTC Program, HUD recommends that owners and agents consult the IRS for guidance on evictions under the CARES Act.”

HUD: “On June 17, 2020, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) published Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2020-19, “Extension of Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium in connection with the Presidentially-Declared COVID-19 National Emergency.” This ML announces a second extension of the foreclosure and eviction moratorium through August 31, 2020.”

Source | HUD
Source | HUD

HUD: “HUD published guidance on a standard forbearance protocol, Mortgagee Letter 2020-09, dated April 10, 2020, to implement the provisions of the CARES Act and reduce paperwork and streamline processing for multifamily borrowers, servicers, and lenders. These guidelines can be found at: https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/OCHCO/documents/2020-09hsngml.pdf

These guidelines are in effect during the covered period of the CARES Act, which begins March 27, 2020, and continues until the earlier of the termination date of the national emergency declared by the President on March 13, 2020 or December 31, 2020. This guidance outlines the protocol for all Multifamily HUD loans, followed by separate guidance for FHA-insured, risk share, and HUD-held loans, including continuing program obligations. 

Ginnie Mae has also published a blog post on forbearance as it relates to its issuers, which can be found here.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Yes MFH authorizes the use of guidance in this chapter for program participants under the Emergency Declaration for COVID-19. Note, however, the statutory and regulatory displaced person/family occupancy preference for properties with insured mortgages under Sections 221(d) and 236 and the refinance of Sections 221(d) and 236 mortgages under Section 223(a)7 of the National Housing Act as amended, only applies to states that are subject to a presidential Major Disaster declaration.”

Source | HUD

Fannie Mae: “Leases for the current school year are already in place. Typically, these leases are paid on a monthly basis and very few leases are pre-paid for the semester or year. Most of the leases carry some form of parental guarantee that should help counteract any short-term destabilization of occupancy.”

Source | Fannie Mae

HUD: “Congress appropriated additional funding for several Multifamily Housing programs through the CARES Act, most of which is designated for increased rental subsidy in HUD- assisted housing to cover tenants’ loss of income during the COVID-19 National Emergency. Through the CARES Act, HUD is also authorized to use designated funding to take necessary actions to respond to situations resulting from the COVID-19 National Emergency, including addressing unusual operating costs such as increased cleaning costs.”

Under the CARES Act, Congress provided the following additional funding: 

  • $1 billion to support Project-based Rental Assistance properties (Section 8 project-based properties), 
  • $50 million to support Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly properties (with 
  • $10 million of that amount for additional service coordinator support), and 
  • $15 million for Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities properties. 
Source | HUD

HUD: “HUD encourages borrowers and lenders to access any available Federal assistance or other resources, as may be necessary, to assist in meeting project operations and debt service. It is important to note that some forms of Federal assistance may come with requirements for recipients to ensure that they do not receive multiple forms of Federal assistance that serve duplicative purposes, as required under the Stafford Act.”

Source | HUD

VA: “Know if your community has an eviction moratorium and when it expires and if there might be an extension. Prepare for a potential influx of homeless prevention cases. Coordinate with key partners (legal aid, tenant rights groups, courts, etc.) and fellow SSVF grantees in your area, legal aid and other groups that work on homelessness prevention. 

Do not wait until eviction moratoriums are lifted to identify and enroll at-risk Veterans. By enrolling Veterans who are severely debt burdened by their rent before an eviction moratorium lifts, SSVF is better positioned to intervene and coordinate a resolution to the housing crisis with the Veteran and landlord. While grantees should still do their best to document – via the landlord or problem solving conversations with the Veteran – that the household will become homeless once the moratorium is lifted, they do not need to wait until the eviction notice is formally offered to make that enrollment. 

Understand your local tenant laws related to eviction. Eviction means different things in different communities. Make sure you understand the timelines associated with housing loss from eviction and how that impacts the SSVF intervention.”

 

Source | VA

CDC: “Health departments and administrators of homeless service sites, in partnership with healthcare providers, should decide whether and how to implement these testing considerations to identify cases among people who are asymptomatic, including both those with and without known exposure to COVID-19.

Those providing services for people experiencing homelessness should continue to follow guidance for basic COVID-19 prevention among people who are staying in homeless shelters or experiencing unsheltered homelessness.

 Facility-wide (universal) testing involves offering viral testing for SARS-CoV-2 to all clients and staff who were affiliated with the site or encampment any time from 2 days before the individual began experiencing symptoms, or 2 days before a positive test in an asymptomatic individual, until they were isolated.

Any client who tests positive should be connected to a place where they can safely isolate and access necessary services until they meet criteria to discontinue isolation.

Staff who test positive should be advised to seek medical care as needed and to stay home until they meet criteria to discontinue isolation.

Repeat testing of all previously negative or untested clients, staff, and volunteers (e.g., once a week) is recommended until the testing identifies no new cases of COVID-19 for at least 14 days since the most recent positive result.

It will not always be possible to provide testing to every individual who would qualify, but the intent is to broadly offer testing to anyone who might have been exposed. 

Community transmission categories: The transmission categories included in Table 1 are described in the CDC Community Mitigation Framework. Health departments should consider setting precise incidence indicators that reflect these categories and are suitable to the local context.”

Source | CDC

FEMA: “Sheltering solutions should be determined by the Applicant requesting assistance, such as hotels, motels, dormitories, or other forms of non-congregate sheltering.  The solutions should meet the criteria of non-congregate sheltering for the COVID-19 emergency, including what is necessary to protect public health and safety, be in accordance with guidance provided by appropriate health officials, and be reasonable and necessary to address the threat to public health and safety.”

Source | FEMA

FEMA: “Examples of target populations include those who test positive for COVID-19 who do not require hospitalization but need isolation (including those exiting from hospitals); those who have been exposed to COVID-19 who do not require hospitalization; and asymptomatic high-risk individuals needing social distancing as a precautionary measure, such as people over 65 or with certain underlying health conditions (respiratory, compromised immunities, chronic disease).  Sheltering specific populations in non-congregate shelters should be determined by a public health official’s direction or in accordance with the direction or guidance of health officials by the appropriate state or local entities.  The request should specify the populations to be sheltered.  Non-congregate sheltering of healthcare workers and first responders who require isolation may be eligible when determined necessary by the appropriate state, local, tribal, or territorial public health officials and when assistance is not duplicated by another federal agency.”

Source | FEMA

FEMA: “The term “medical sheltering” is meant to address the specific needs directly resulting from this Public Health Emergency.  For purposes of eligibility under the COVID-19 declarations, FEMA will consider non-congregate sheltering for health and medical-related needs, such as isolation and quarantine resulting from the public health emergency.  Alternate care sites and temporary hospitals are not considered non-congregate sheltering and such requests should be routed through the proper channels.”

Source | FEMA

CDC:

Avoid moving those at higher risk for severe illness into shared settings.”

Source | CDC

CDC: Homeless service providers should: 

  • “Plan to maintain regular operations to the extent possible.
  • Limit visitors who are not clients, staff, or volunteers.
  • Do not require a negative COVID-19 viral test for entry to a homeless services site unless otherwise directed by local or state health authorities.
  • Identify clients who could be at high risk for complications from COVID-19, or from other chronic or acute illnesses, and encourage them to take extra precautions.
  • Arrange for continuity of and surge support for mental health, substance use treatment services, and general medical care.
  • Identify a designated medical facility to refer clients who might have COVID-19.
  • Keep in mind that clients and staff might be infected without showing symptoms.
    • Create a way to make physical distancing between clients and staff easier, such as staggering meal services or having maximum occupancy limits for common rooms and bathrooms.
    • All clients should wear cloth face coverings any time they are not in their room or on their bed/mat (in shared sleeping areas). Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • Regularly assess clients and staff for symptoms.
    • Clients who have symptoms may or may not have COVID-19. Make sure they have a place they can safely stay within the shelter or at an alternate site in coordination with local health authorities.
    • An on-site nurse or other clinical staff can help with clinical assessments.
    • Provide anyone who presents with symptoms with a cloth face covering.
    • Facilitate access to non-urgent medical care as needed.
    • Use standard facility procedures to determine whether a client needs immediate medical attention. Emergency signs include:
      • Trouble breathing
      • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
      • New confusion or inability to arouse
      • Bluish lips or face
    • Notify the designated medical facility and personnel to transfer clients that the client might have COVID-19.
  • Prepare healthcare clinic staff to care for patients with COVID-19, if your facility provides healthcare services, and make sure your facility has a supply of personal protective equipment.
  • Provide links to respite (temporary) care for clients who were hospitalized with COVID-19 but have been discharged.
    • Some of these clients will still require isolation to prevent transmission.
    • Some of these clients will no longer require isolation and can use normal facility resources.
  • Make sure bathrooms and other sinks are consistently stocked with soap and drying materials for handwashing. Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol at key points within the facility, including registration desks, entrances/exits, and eating areas.
  • Cloth face coverings used by clients and staff should be laundered regularly. Staff involved in laundering client face coverings should do the following:
    • Face coverings should be collected in a sealable container (like a trash bag).
    • Staff should wear disposable gloves and a face mask. Use of a disposable gown is also recommended, if available.
    • Gloves should be properly removed and disposed of after laundering face coverings; clean hands immediately after removal of gloves by washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least daily and shared objects between use using an EPA- registered disinfectant external icon.”
Source | CDC

CDC: Homeless service providers should: 

  • “Use physical barriers to protect staff who will have interactions with clients with unknown infection status (e.g., check-in staff). For example, install a sneeze guard at the check-in desk or place an additional table between staff and clients to increase the distance between them to at least 6 feet.
  • In meal service areas, create at least 6 feet of space between seats, and/or allow either for food to be delivered to clients or for clients to take food away.
  • In general sleeping areas (for those who are not experiencing respiratory symptoms), try to make sure client’s faces are at least 6 feet apart.
    • Align mats/beds so clients sleep head-to-toe.
  • For clients with mild respiratory symptoms consistent with COVID-19:
    • Prioritize these clients for individual rooms.
    • If individual rooms are not available, consider using a large, well-ventilated room.
    • Keep mats/beds at least 6 feet apart.
    • Use temporary barriers between mats/beds, such as curtains.
    • Align mats/beds so clients sleep head-to-toe.
    • If possible, designate a separate bathroom for these clients.
    • If areas where these clients can stay are not available in the facility, facilitate transfer to a quarantine site.
  • For clients with confirmed COVID-19, regardless of symptoms:
    • Prioritize these clients for individual rooms.
    • If more than one person has tested positive, these clients can stay in the same area.
    • Designate a separate bathroom for these clients.
    • Follow CDC recommendations for how to prevent further spread in your facility.
    • If areas where these clients can stay are not available in the facility, assist with transfer to an isolation site.”
Source | CDC

CDC: Homeless service providers should: 

  • “Provide training and educational materials related to COVID-19 for staff and volunteers.
  • Minimize the number of staff members who have face-to-face interactions with clients with respiratory symptoms.
  • Develop and use contingency plans for increased absenteeism caused by employee illness or by illness in employees’ family members. These plans might include extending hours, cross-training current employees, or hiring temporary employees.
  • Staff and volunteers who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should not be designated as caregivers for sick clients who are staying in the shelter. Identify flexible job duties for these higher risk staff and volunteers so they can continue working while minimizing direct contact with clients.
  • Put in place plans on how to maintain social distancing (remaining at least 6 feet apart) between all clients and staff while still providing necessary services.
  • All staff should wear a cloth face covering for source control (when someone wears a covering over their mouth and nose to contain respiratory droplets), consistent with the guidance for the general public. See below for information on laundering cloth face coverings.
  • Staff who do not interact closely (e.g., within 6 feet) with sick clients and do not clean client environments do not need to wear personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Staff should avoid handling client belongings. If staff are handling client belongings, they should use disposable gloves, if available. Make sure to train any staff using gloves to ensure proper use and ensure they perform hand hygiene before and after use. If gloves are unavailable, staff should perform hand hygiene immediately after handling client belongings.
  • Staff who are checking client temperatures should use a system that creates a physical barrier between the client and the screener as described here.
    • Screeners should stand behind a physical barrier, such as a glass or plastic window or partition that can protect the staff member’s face from respiratory droplets that may be produced if the client sneezes, coughs, or talks.
    • If social distancing or barrier/partition controls cannot be put in place during screening, PPE (i.e., facemask, eye protection [goggles or disposable face shield that fully covers the front and sides of the face], and a single pair of disposable gloves)  can be used when within 6 feet of a client.
    • However, given PPE shortages, training requirements, and because PPE alone is less effective than a barrier, try to use a barrier whenever you can.
  • For situations where staff are providing medical care to clients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and close contact (within 6 feet) cannot be avoided, staff should at a minimum, wear eye protection (goggles or face shield), an N95 or higher level respirator (or a facemask if respirators are not available or staff are not fit tested), disposable gown, and disposable gloves. Cloth face coverings are not PPE and should not be used when a respirator or facemask is indicated. If staff have direct contact with the client, they should also wear gloves. Infection control guidelines for healthcare providers are outlined here.
  • Staff should launder work uniforms or clothes after use using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely.
  • Provide resources for stress and coping to staff. Learn more about mental health and coping during COVID-19.”
Source | CDC

CDC: “Have supplies on hand for staff, volunteers, and those you serve, such as:

  • Soap
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol
  • Tissues
  • Trash baskets
  • Cloth face coverings
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Personal protective equipment.”
Source | CDC

CDC: “Planning and response to COVID-19 transmission among people experiencing homelessness requires a “whole community” approach, which means that you are involving partners in the development of your response planning, and that everyone’s roles and responsibilities are clear.”

A whole-community approach will connect key partners and build a community coalition that includes: 

  • “Local and state health departments
  • Homeless service providers and Continuum of Care leadership
  • Emergency management
  • Law enforcement
  • Healthcare providers
  • Housing authorities
  • Local government leadership
  • Other support services like outreach, case management and behavioral health support”
Source | CDC

“No. The CARES Act protections only cover tenants whose housing is covered under section 4024 of the CARES Act. Whether the housing is covered depends on its connection to Federal funding or tax credits or financing that is provided, backed, or assisted by the Federal government. For example, if any of the following apply, the housing is covered due to its connection with the ESG or CoC program: 

  • The recipient or subrecipient and the owner/landlord have an active agreement (e.g., rental assistance agreement) establishing the terms of assistance or payments under the Emergency Solutions Grants or Continuum of Care program with respect to the tenant or the tenant’s unit; 
  • A Declaration of Restrictive Covenants is recorded against the property and currently applies Continuum of Care Program requirements to the tenant’s unit, due to a previous use of Continuum of Care Program funds for acquisition, construction or rehabilitation; or 
  •  The CoC program recipient or subrecipient receives ongoing leasing, operating, supportive services, or project- or sponsor-based rental assistance funding to operate the housing as a transitional or permanent housing project. 

However, the protections would not apply just because a person is approved to receive ESG or CoC Program assistance or receives legal services or other services that do not depend on whether the housing owner or landlord participates in the ESG or CoC program.”

Source | HUD

CDC: “Across the United States, some states and local areas are preparing to reopen businesses and community centers after closing. Even if COVID-19 cases have decreased in your area, quick spread of this disease in homeless shelters or encampments is possible. Protection of clients and staff remains necessary. During this time, continue to refer to the guidance for homeless service providers and unsheltered homelessness.”

Refer to the CDC’s Homeless Service Providers Re-Opening Checklist

 

Source | CDC

HHS: “RHY grantees are encouraged to work closely with their state and local public health authorities on issues related to addressing COVID-19 within their organizations and communities. 

If you identify any youth with severe symptoms, notify your public health authority and arrange for the youth to receive immediate medical care. If this is a youth with suspected COVID-19, notify the transfer team and medical facility before transfer. 

RHY grantees are encouraged to review the “Interim Guidance for Homeless Service Providers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)” available at the CDC website.

Additionally, pursuant to the RHY Rule (45 CFR §1351.22), RHY grantees may adopt criteria “to determine eligibility for the program, or any activity or service, [that] may include an assessment of the needs of each applicant, and the health and safety of other beneficiaries, among other factors.” 

HHS: “RHY grantees are encouraged to work closely with their state and local public health authorities on issues related to addressing COVID-19 in their organizations and communities. A list of state and territorial health departments and links to their websites can be found at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Public Health Professionals Gateway: https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/healthdirectories/healthdepartments.html. Additional information is also available at the Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center website: https://www.rhyttac.net/covid-19

HHS: “For youth under the age of 18, pursuant to the RHY Act (34 USC §11212(b)(2)(A-B)), BCPs must have “a maximum capacity of not more than 20 youth, except where the applicant assures that the State where the center or locally controlled facility is located has a State or local law or regulation that requires a higher maximum to comply with licensure requirements for child and youth serving facilities; and (B) a ratio of staff to youth that is sufficient to ensure adequate supervision and treatment.” As such, RHY grantees should consult with the appropriate State authority or local regulatory/licensing agencies to determine if it has increased its required maximum capacity for child and youth serving facilities as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. 

Specific to TLPs/MGHs, pursuant to the RHY Act (34 U.S.C §11222(a)(4)), the “shelter facility used to carry out such project shall have the capacity to accommodate not more than 20 individuals.” The RHY Rule provides further clarification, at 45 CFR §1351.18(c), by stating that the capacity to accommodate not more than 20 individuals must be “within a single floor of a structure in the case of apartment buildings, with a number of staff sufficient to assure adequate supervision and treatment for the number of clients to be served and the guidelines followed for determining the appropriate staff ratio.” 

CDC: “Connecting people to stable housing should continue to be a priority. However, if individual housing options are not available, allow people who are living in encampments to remain where they are.  Encourage people living in encampments to increase space between people and provide hygiene resources in accordance with the Interim Guidance for People Experiencing Unsheltered Homelessness.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “Homeless shelters serve a critical function in our communities. Shelters should stay open unless homeless service providers, health departments, and housing authorities have determined together that a shelter needs to close.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “Homeless shelters can screen incoming guests for symptoms of respiratory infections. Any person with symptoms of COVID-19 should be provided with a facemask, if available. In accordance with the Interim Guidance for Homeless Service Providers, they should then be directed to a predetermined area. This may be an alternate location or an area within the shelter. Ideally, these guests would stay in individual rooms. If individual rooms are not available, consider using a large, well-ventilated room where beds at least 6 feet apart with temporary barriers between them. Request that all guests sleep head-to-toe. At this time, it is not recommended to screen incoming guests for COVID-19 using laboratory tests unless directed to do so by local health authorities. For information about staff/volunteer illness, please refer to the Interim Guidance for Homeless Service Providers.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “Homeless service providers can accept donations during community spread of COVID-19, but general infection control precautions should be taken. Request that donors not donate if they are sick. Set up donation drop-off points to encourage social distancing between shelter workers and those donating. According to usual procedures, launder donated clothing, sheets, towels, or other fabrics on high heat settings, and disinfect items that are nonporous, such as items made of plastic. Food donations should be shelf-stable, and shelter staff should take usual food-related infection prevention precautions. For more information about COVID-19 and food, see the Food and Drug Administration’s website on Food Safety and COVID-19. For further information on cleaning and disinfection, see here.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “Those with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should stay in a place where they can best be isolated from other people to prevent spreading the infection. Local health departments, housing authorities, homeless service systems and healthcare facilities should plan to identify locations to isolate those with known or suspected COVID-19 until they meet the criteria to end isolation. Isolation housing could be units designated by local authorities or shelters determined to have capacity to sufficiently isolate these people. If no other options are available, homeless service providers  should plan for how they can help people isolate themselves while efforts are underway to provide additional support. Please see the Interim Guidance for Homeless Service Providers and Interim Guidance for People Experiencing Unsheltered Homelessness for more information.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “If they meet criteria for testing, people experiencing homelessness will access COVID-19 testing through a healthcare provider. Local public health and healthcare facilities need to determine the best location for this testing in coordination with homeless healthcare clinics and street medicine clinics.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “Many of the recommendations to prevent COVID-19 may be difficult for a person experiencing homelessness to do. Although it may not be possible to avoid certain crowded locations (such as shelters), people who are homeless should try to avoid other crowded public settings and public transportation. If possible, they should use take-away options for food. As is true for everyone, they should maintain a distance of about 6 feet (two arms’ length) from other people. They also should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as often as possible, and cover their coughs and sneezes.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “Any person experiencing homelessness with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (fever, cough, or shortness of breath) should alert their service providers (such as case managers, shelter staff, and other care providers). These staff will help the individual understand how to isolate themselves and identify options for medical care as needed.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “People who are homeless are at risk of COVID-19. Homeless services are often provided in congregate settings, which could facilitate the spread of infection. Because many people who are homeless are older adults or have underlying medical conditions, they may also be at higher risk for severe disease than the general population. Health departments and healthcare facilities should be aware that people who are homeless are a particularly vulnerable group. If possible, identifying non-congregate settings where those at highest risk can stay may help protect them from COVID-19.”

Source | CDC

House Financial Services Committee: “The bill provides $4 billion for Emergency Solutions Grants, which is an existing federal homeless assistance grant program. ESG funds can be used for emergency shelter, homelessness prevention, including short- or medium-term rental assistance for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and supportive services. In addition, under the bill the program has been slightly modified to meet the needs of the current situation, and can be used for temporary emergency shelters, without the need for habitability and environmental review, as well as to train staff on disease prevention and mitigation, and for hazard pay. An amount has also been set aside for technical assistance for health care services.”

Washington Post: “How much your score will drop depends on a lot of factors. Generally, the impact will be more noticeable on a credit report with no history of missed payments vs. a credit report that already shows a history of missed payments, said Tom Quinn, vice president of scores at FICO.

In an example provided by FICO, a homeowner who has never missed a payment has a FICO score of 793. But a 30-day late payment could drop her score by as much as 83 points. But the drop to the low 700s on a scale that runs from a low of 300 to a high of 850 is still a good score.”

 

Source | Washington Post

ICBA: “For GSE loans, interest continues to accrue and then the bank adds those deferred payments onto the end of the loan, maintaining the same amortization. Any taxes or insurance the bank must advance that was not collected during the forbearance period can be capitalized into the balance.”

Source | ICBA

Housingwire: “Yes, under the CARES Act, if you have a federally backed mortgage, you can request an extension of the forbearance for up to an additional 180 days.” 

 

Source | Housingwire

Housingwire: “Yes, borrowers impacted by COVID-19 are eligible for forbearance regardless of whether their property is owner-occupied, a second home or an investment property.” 

 

Source | Housingwire

“Before the end of your forbearance period, your servicer should reach out to you to negotiate end of forbearance terms for repayment and possible extensions in certain situations, or a relief or workout option following forbearance.”

 

Source | Housingwire

Housingwire: “If your servicer approves your request, you will be provided a forbearance agreement outlining the terms. During the forbearance period, the servicer must not initiate or continue with foreclosure proceedings.

Source | Housingwire

Fannie Mae: “You may be eligible for a refinance or a new mortgage loan if you are in forbearance but have continued to make timely payments. You may also be eligible for a refinance or a new mortgage loan if you were previously in forbearance but have resolved any missed payments through a reinstatement or have made three timely payments either in accordance with a repayment plan or following a payment deferral, or completed the trial period plan payments in connection with a modification. Contact your mortgage lender to discuss your options as other eligibility requirements may apply.”

Source | Fannie Mae

Fannie Mae: “If your mortgage is covered by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), you do not have to provide extensive documentation to show your financial circumstances have been impacted by COVID-19. Before reaching out to your mortgage servicer, check the company’s website to see what information they provide about forbearance plans and if you can apply online. Before you speak with a representative, have your account number available and be prepared to ask questions about your mortgage payment assistance options, including your ability to obtain a forbearance plan.”

Source | Fannie Mae

Fannie Mae: “The forbearance plan process involves four simple steps. However, millions of people are seeking financial assistance for their mortgages right now, so contact centers at mortgage servicing companies may have longer than usual wait times. In some cases, you may be able to request assistance online.”

Source | Fannie Mae

Fannie Mae: “Once you experience a hardship contact your mortgage servicer to discuss a forbearance plan. If you have a financial hardship related to COVID-19, you may be eligible for forbearance under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The most important step is to contact your mortgage servicer as soon as the hardship begins to discuss the best option for your financial situation.”

Source | Fannie Mae

Fannie Mae: “If you are experiencing a financial hardship related to COVID-19, don’t wait. Contact your mortgage servicer (the company that receives your mortgage payments) today to learn about the temporary mortgage assistance options available to you. You can discuss options that allow you to either pause or lower your payments, so you have time to regain your financial footing. Start seeking assistance options while you are still making your mortgage payments, so you can avoid negative impacts like delinquent credit reporting or late fees.”

Source | Fannie Mae

National Association of REALTORS®: “FEMA is extending the grace period to renew flood insurance policies from 30 to 120 days. If a policy has an expiration date between February 13, 2020 and June 15, 2020, then the NFIP insurer must receive the appropriate renewal premium within 120 days of the expiration date to avoid a lapse in coverage. Likewise, if a policyholder receives an underpayment notice dated between February 13, 2020, and June 15, 2020, then the NFIP insurer must receive the additional premium amount requested within 120 days of the date of the notice.”

AARP: “Yes, on a case-by-case basis. Bank of America, for one, says that mortgage borrowers can request to defer payments, with payments added to the end of the loan. Wells Fargo is suspending residential property foreclosure sales and evictions.  Wells Fargo is telling its mortgage customers, “If you’re unable to make your payment due to COVID-19 related hardships, we’re offering a 90-day payment suspension.” And Chase bank asks worried mortgage holders to call to work out a plan. If you need help, be proactive and give your bank a call.”

Source | AARP

AARP: “The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 3.50 percent the week ended March 19, according to Freddie Mac. The rule of thumb is that you should consider refinancing only if the new mortgage rate would be 1 percentage point lower than your current rate.

But there are plenty of variables, such as fees and points. (A point is an upfront fee equal to 1 percent of the loan; the more points you agree to pay, the lower your rate.) Will you stay in your home long enough for the lower rate to offset the cost of fees and points? You can crunch the numbers using mortgage calculators such as those offered by Bankrate, NerdWallet, HSH, SmartAsset and others.

Refinancing demand is high, and it may take longer than usual to get appraisals and title searches as government offices shut down because of the coronavirus epidemic. You may also have to do a virtual closing via videoconference, to maintain social distancing safety guidelines. Ask your bank how long their refinancing process takes, and whether they are reasonably sure that they can close the deal in a reasonable amount of time.”

 

Source | AARP

National Association of REALTORS©: FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have not made any changes to credit scoring or down payment requirements. The only change they have made for borrowers is to allow MORE flexibility in how a lender can verify employment. 

Many individual lenders are adding their own, higher standards on these products. The rational is that the cost of servicing these loans has surged due to the widespread forbearance that is taxing servicers’ resources. Under forbearance, the servicer must continue to pay PITI to the investor, but the sheer volume of forbearance to deal with the COVID-19 response is unprecedented. Since lower-credit borrowers are more likely to take forbearance and servicing is harder to get, lenders are less willing to extend this credit regardless of the FHA or GSEs’ standards.”

 

CFPB: “After your forbearance period ends, you will have to make arrangements with your servicer to repay any amount suspended or paused.

Under the CARES Act, if you have a federally backed mortgage, you also can request an extension of the forbearance for up to an additional 180 days.

The method of repayment varies depending on your loan and the options offered. Not all borrowers will be eligible for all options. You should take steps to be aware of how these programs work and what you can expect in terms of repaying these amounts.

Generally, repayment of forbearance occurs by the amount being repaid:

  • In one lump sum at the end of the forbearance period;
  • Added onto your existing monthly payments over a set number of months;
  • Added to the end of your loan as additional payments or as a lump sum.

 
Just as forbearance may differ between the federally backed agencies or entities, so does the repayment of the forbearances. 

Please check back for updated information as well as check with your loan servicer and the website of the agency or entity that owns or guarantees your loan. The following information provides some of the options to repay your forbearance.

Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac loans:

  • Borrowers allowed to repay past due amount within 12 months after forbearance ends;
  • Extend the term of the mortgage by the exact number of months in forbearance;
  • Add past due amounts into loan balance and extend the term of the loan by the number of months necessary to make the monthly payment the same as the previous payment;
  • Add past due amounts into loan balance and extend term of loan for 40 years (480 months).

 FHA loans:

  • Borrowers may enter into a repayment plan to repay past due amounts within 6 months after forbearance ends;
  • Extend term of mortgage to 30 years (360 months) by adding the past due amounts into the previous monthly payment;
  • Past due amounts paid off at the end of the loan in a lump sum.

 VA loans:

  • Borrowers may enter into a repayment plan to repay past due amount within 6 months after forbearance ends;
  • Add past due amount into loan balance and extend term to 30 years (360 months);
  • Targets lower payment of 31% of borrower’s gross income by extending loan term to 30 years (360 months) with option to forbear principal.

 USDA loans:

  • Borrowers may enter into a repayment plan to repay past due amounts within 6 months;
  • Add past due amount into loan balance and extend term to 30 years (360 months) as long as payment less than or equal to payment prior to forbearance;
  • Lump sum repayment at loan payoff.
Source | CFPB

CFPB: “Before entering into a forbearance, homeowners may want to ask: 

  • What options are available to help temporarily reduce or suspend my payments?
  • Are there forbearance, loan modification, or other options applicable to my situation?
  • Can you waive late fees on my mortgage account?”
Source | CFBP

CFPB: “If you need help working with your servicer or understanding your options you may want to reach out to a professional to help you with your specific situation.

  • HUD-Approved Housing Counselors: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-approved housing counselors can discuss options with you if you’re having trouble paying your mortgage loan or reverse mortgage loan. This may also include forbearance or a modified payment program.
  • Credit Counselors: Reputable credit counseling organizations are generally non-profit organizations that can advise you on your money and debts, and help you with a budget. Some may also help you negotiate with creditors. There are specific questions to ask to help you find a credit counseling organization to work with.
  • Lawyers: If you need a lawyer, there may be resources to assist you through your local bar association, legal aid, or if you are a servicemember, your local Legal Assistance Office. 
  • State-specific support: Your state may also offer additional mortgage relief options. Many states are implementing or considering various mortgage relief options that are in addition to federal initiatives, including the suspension of foreclosures, as well as additional assistance for homeowners. Check your state’s government website for details.” 
Source | CFPB

OCC: “You should contact your loan servicer as soon as possible to let them know of your circumstances. The OCC has encouraged banks to work with customers who have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

If your loan is owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) and your ability to pay your mortgage is affected, you may be eligible to delay making your monthly mortgage payments temporarily. Additionally, on March 18, 2020, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) directed the Enterprises to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days due to the COVID-19 national emergency. More information is available on the FHFA website

The OCC generally does not have the authority to stop a foreclosure, but you can file a “Customer Complaint Form” with the OCC if you are having problems with your bank’s handling of your mortgage loan. The OCC can facilitate communications between you and the bank once your written complaint is received. 

We advise you to contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to review information and understand your options. This service is free and available 24/7. You can visit the OCC’s Help With My Bank website and review the general information under the Mortgages category for more details. You may also want to seek legal assistance to protect your rights.”

Source | OCC

TransUnion: After talking to your lenders about your situation, you may learn that they will place your accounts in forbearance/hardship or deferral. These are common methods lenders use to report accounts to the credit reporting agencies.

Having an account in forbearance usually means your lender has agreed that you can temporarily stop making payments on that account for a certain amount of time.

A deferred account means the lender has agreed that you can delay payment for a certain amount of time. Usually, this will show up on your credit report in the Remarks field with a comment that says “Payment Deferred.”

If you’re curious how your credit score will be impacted by an account in forbearance/deferral, check out the VantageScore or FICO websites for more information.  It’s important to note, a credit score is based on many factors in your credit report and different scoring models use different methods to calculate credit scores.”

Equifax: “While forbearance may allow you to deal with your short-term financial challenges and help you get back on your feet without jeopardizing your credit rating or credit scores, it doesn’t come without its drawbacks. If you enter into a forbearance agreement, you’re not getting “free money.” Depending on the repayment plan you agree to with your lender or creditor, you may need to repay the interest that accrues during your approved deferral period, and late fees may still apply. Ask your lender if you’ll still be charged late fees, how and when those fees will be applied and how your forbearance agreement will be reported to the national credit bureaus.”

Experian: “Without a forbearance or deferral agreement, skipping or making partial loan payments is considered delinquency. Delinquencies are recorded on your credit report and can have a major negative impact on your credit score.

How suspended or reduced payments are handled under forbearance agreements differs by loan type. Their consequences for mortgages and student loans have different potential impacts on your credit. 

With the exception of special circumstances during emergencies such as the COVID-19 crisis (more on that below), mortgage payments missed or underpaid as part of a deferral or forbearance arrangement are technically delinquencies, since they don’t conform to the repayment terms spelled out in your original loan agreement. Mortgage lenders have the right to report them as such to the credit bureaus, but they’re not required to do so. Ask your lender about their policy before accepting a forbearance agreement so you know what to expect.

Under mortgage forbearance agreements, lenders agree to refrain from pursuing foreclosure proceedings, which can do lasting damage to your credit over and above the harm caused by missed payments. A foreclosure stays on your credit report for seven years from the date of the first delinquency that led to foreclosure, so if forbearance allows you to avoid foreclosure, taking a near-term credit score hit might be a worthwhile trade-off.”

House Finance Services Committee: “If you are approved for a forbearance, a payment delay, or other payment arrangement with your creditor or servicer, and you are current on your accounts, then the creditor or servicer will continue to report you to the credit rating agencies (or CRAs) as current or up-to-date. In this case, your credit report and score would not be negatively impacted by these non- or delayed payments during the covered period of the arrangement. Unfortunately, if you were already reported to be behind on payments prior to the payment arrangement, the creditor or servicer can continue to report you as late to the CRAs, meaning continued non-payments may be treated negatively on your credit report and score.”

National Association of REALTORS®: “The CARES Act implemented provisions to protect credit scores from January 30, 2020 through 120 days after enactment of the national emergency. If customers are making payments, or made arrangement to not make payments, customers must be reported as being current. If a customer was delinquent, but was able to make an arrangement with the servicer and is now current, then their account must be reported as current. The important thing is to reach out to your servicer, bank or credit card company if you are having trouble making your payments.”

Fannie Mae: “No, a borrower may make payments during the forbearance plan without any impact to the length of the forbearance plan. If a borrower requests a shorter forbearance plan, the servicer must shorten the forbearance plan and, at the completion of the forbearance plan, evaluate the borrower for post-forbearance options.”

Freddie Mac: “No, a borrower may make payments during the forbearance period. The forbearance plan will continue to term and the payment must be applied as usual in accordance with Guide Section 8103.4.”

Source | Fannie Mae
Source | Freddie Mac

HUD: “All FHA-borrowers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, whether directly or indirectly, qualify for the COVID-19 Forbearance. The COVID-19 Standalone Partial Claim is available to owner-occupant borrowers whose mortgages were current or less than 30 days delinquent as of March 1, 2020, the declared date of the COVID-19 pandemic. Borrowers who were more than 30 days past due as of March 1, 2020, and who are in need of loss mitigation assistance, must be reviewed for FHA’s standard loss mitigation options (forbearance, loan modification, and FHA-HAMP).

 

Recently the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner Brian Montgomery issued a YouTube video message speaking directly to homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages experiencing financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 emergency. 

The video message can be viewed using the following links:

Source | HUD

The first thing is call your servicer. Communication is critical and there are a lot of options available if you need help. Second, document every conversation and follow up in a letter or email noting what was discussed in your phone call. This will help you and the next person you talk to when you call back or they call you. And finally, don’t freak out if they tell you paying back all of the money at one time is an option. It is an option but it is not a requirement. Obviously, if you can’t pay one mortgage payment this month, you’re not going to be able to pay six of them six months from now. The gold standard of forbearance is mortgage deferral, where your missed payments are applied to the end of your loan. That means you don’t pay it back until you sell your house or at the end of your mortgage term. The tricky part is that they can’t offer it to you until you are able to pay your mortgage again, so stay in touch while you are out of work, and be assertive about deferral when you are ready to resume your mortgage payments.

HUD: “Yes. Even if you received an FHA COVID-19 Forbearance, you are not required to use the full six months. It is more beneficial for you to begin making your regular mortgage payments as soon as you can reasonably do so. If you are able to begin making your payments prior to the expiration of your forbearance, contact your mortgage servicer and let them know you are ready to resume making your regular monthly mortgage payment. Your servicer will assist you in doing so. 

Federal and state governments have announced plans to help struggling homeowners during this time. For more information, visit: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/guide-coronavirus-mortgage-relief-options/ 

Additional information is available in the following video: VIDEO: CARES Act Mortgage Forbearance: What You Need to Know

Benefits.gov is an online resource to help you find federal benefits you may be eligible for in the United States. Visit https://www.benefits.gov/  for more information and a link to the Benefit Finder, to find information on government benefits you may be eligible to receive.”

 

Source | HUD

HUD: “FHA servicers will ask you to confirm that you are having a financial hardship, either directly or indirectly, due to the COVID-19 National Emergency in order to qualify for a COVID-19 Forbearance, but will not require that you supply any documents. 

Your mortgage servicer can further explain the COVID-19 Forbearance and help you figure out other options for repaying the suspended mortgage payments or the balance of reduced mortgage payments.

Federal and state governments have announced plans to help struggling homeowners during this time. For more information, visit: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/guide-coronavirus-mortgage-relief-options/ 

Additional information is available in the following video: VIDEO: CARES Act Mortgage Forbearance: What You Need to Know 

Benefits.gov is an online resource to help you find federal benefits you may be eligible for in the United States. Visit https://www.benefits.gov/ for more information and a link to the Benefit Finder, to find information on government benefits you may be eligible to receive.”

 

Source | HUD

CFPB: “To help keep Americans connected during the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has temporarily waived Lifeline usage requirements and general de-enrollment procedures until May 29, 2020. An FCC order , released on March 30, 2020, will help ensure that no current Lifeline subscribers are involuntarily removed from the Lifeline program during this time of national crisis.”

Source | CFPB

CFPB: “Many states have suspended public utility disconnections. Check with your state utility commission  or your local utility to see what protections or relief may be available. Municipal utilities and Rural Electric Cooperatives (REC) may be covered by your state’s emergency proclamation. They may also have their own COVID-19 disconnection policy. Check with your municipal utility or REC for details.”

Source | CFPB

CFPB: “While you’re in the forbearance period, or working under another mortgage relief option, there are a number of things to do to continue to protect yourself. This advice applies to both a CARES Act forbearance and other mortgage relief that you might receive.

  • Keep written documentation on hand. You want to make sure that you have this documentation available in case there are any errors on your monthly mortgage statements to ensure that your statement reflects the assistance provided.
  • Pay attention to your monthly mortgage statement. Continue monitoring your monthly mortgage statements to make sure you don’t see any errors. Stop or change auto-payments for your mortgage. If you are having your mortgage payment deducted automatically from your bank account, make sure you make any necessary adjustment to avoid any fees or charges.
  • Keep an eye on your credit. It’s a good idea to routinely check your credit reports in order to make sure there are no errors or inaccuracies. If you stop making mortgage payments without a forbearance agreement, the servicer will report this information to the credit reporting companies, and it can have a lasting negative impact on your credit history. If an error has been made, however, you can work to dispute it.
  • Get more information about protecting your credit during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Once your income is restored, contact your servicer and resume your payments. With forbearance, you still owe the payments that you missed, but fewer missed payments mean you’ll owe less down the road.
  • If you’re continuing to receive some income that turns out to be more than you need for your bills and expenses (including anything you keep paying on your mortgage), consider putting the extra money away so you can use it to pay off what’s needed later. If you can save any money now, it’ll be helpful when payments are due later.
  • Your property taxes and insurance should continue to be paid if your mortgage has an escrow account, but you may want to confirm with your servicer. If your mortgage does not have an escrow account, you will be responsible for these payments.”
Source | CFPB

Department of Veterans Affairs: “If your loan closed before January 1, 1990, and we have to pay back the amount of your loan to the servicer, you’ll need to pay this amount back to the government.

If your loan closed on or after January 1, 1990, you’ll have to pay back the amount of your loan if we find evidence of fraud, misrepresentation, or bad faith on your part.”

Department of Veterans Affairs: “If you’re having difficulty making your mortgage payment, contact your loan servicer right away. This is your chance to find a solution that might work for your scenario.

If you’re nervous about contacting your servicer, or if you’d like our help and advice, please contact a VA loan technician at 877-827-3702.

Be careful about offers to help you make up back payments

If you’re behind on your mortgage payments and you get this type of offer from someone you don’t know, contact the servicer of your mortgage or your nearest VA regional loan center for advice. They can let you know if it’s an honest offer.”

Department of Veterans Affairs: “There are 6 general ways you can try to avoid a foreclosure:

  1. Repayment plan: If you’ve missed a few mortgage payments, this plan lets you go back to making your regular payments, with an added amount each month to cover the ones you’ve missed.
  2. Special forbearance: This plan gives you some extra time to repay the missed mortgage payments.
  3. Loan modification: Sometimes you need a fresh start. This plan lets you add the missed mortgage payments and any related legal costs to your total loan balance. You and your servicer then come up with a new mortgage payment schedule.
  4. Extra time to arrange a private sale: If you need to sell your home, this plan lets you delay a foreclosure so you have time to sell.
  5. Short sale: If you owe more money than your house is worth, your servicer might agree to a short sale. This means the servicer will accept the total proceeds from the home sale (even if it’s less than the full amount you owe on the mortgage) as full payment of the debt you owe.
  6. Deed in lieu of foreclosure: This plan lets you avoid the foreclosure process by signing over the deed to the home to your servicer. The home will then belong to the servicer.

Our VA loan technicians can help you figure out which option is best for you. Contact a VA loan technician at 877-827-3702.”

FHFA: “Homeowners can use Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac’s “loan lookup” tools on their respective websites – https://www.knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup for Fannie Mae or https://ww3.freddiemac.com/loanlookup/ for Freddie Mac.”

Source | FHFA

FHFA: “Homeowners must contact their servicer to let them know they are impacted and having difficulty making their mortgage payment. Servicers will review the homeowner’s situation to determine whether forbearance is appropriate. Homeowners do not need to provide extensive documentation to be placed in a forbearance plan.”

Source | FHFA

FHFA: “Forbearance is for homeowners in need of assistance, so only those unable to make their mortgage payment should request it. The first step homeowners should take is to determine whether they are able to make their next mortgage payment. Those homeowners still able to pay their mortgage, should continue to do so. Homeowners unable to make their next mortgage payment due to a decline in income resulting from the impact of COVID-19, should call their servicer immediately upon making that determination.”

Source | FHFA

FHFA: “At the end of the forbearance period, homeowners are still required to eventually fully repay the forbearance, but they will not have to repay it all at once unless they are able to do so. Servicers will reach out to homeowners in forbearance about 30 days before the scheduled end of forbearance to determine which assistance program works best for the homeowner at that point – a repayment plan, loan modification, or an extension of the forbearance period if needed.”

CFPB: “After your forbearance period ends, you will have to make arrangements with your servicer to repay any amount suspended or paused.

Under the CARES Act, if you have a federally backed mortgage, you also can request an extension of the forbearance for up to an additional 180 days.

The method of repayment varies depending on your loan and the options offered. Not all borrowers will be eligible for all options. You should take steps to be aware of how these programs work and what you can expect in terms of repaying these amounts.

Generally, repayment of forbearance occurs by the amount being repaid: in one lump sum at the end of the forbearance period; added onto your existing monthly payments over a set number of months; or added to the end of your loan as additional payments or as a lump sum.

Just as forbearance may differ between the federally backed agencies or entities, so does the repayment of the forbearances.

Please check back for updated information as well as check with your loan servicer and the website of the agency or entity that owns or guarantees your loan. The following information provides some of the options to repay your forbearance.

Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac loans:

  • Borrowers allowed to repay past due amount within 12 months after forbearance ends;
  • Extend the term of the mortgage by the exact number of months in forbearance;
  • Add past due amounts into loan balance and extend the term of the loan by the number of months necessary to make the monthly payment the same as the previous payment;
  • Add past due amounts into loan balance and extend term of loan for 40 years (480 months).

FHA loans:

  • Borrowers may enter into a repayment plan to repay past due amounts within 6 months after forbearance ends;
  • Extend term of mortgage to 30 years (360 months) by adding the past due amounts into the previous monthly payment;
  • Past due amounts paid off at the end of the loan in a lump sum.

VA loans:

  • Borrowers may enter into a repayment plan to repay past due amount within 6 months after forbearance ends;
  • Add past due amount into loan balance and extend term to 30 years (360 months);
  • Targets lower payment of 31% of borrower’s gross income by extending loan term to 30 years (360 months) with option to forbear principal.

USDA loans:

  • Borrowers may enter into a repayment plan to repay past due amounts within 6 months;
  • Add past due amount into loan balance and extend term to 30 years (360 months) as long as payment less than or equal to payment prior to forbearance;
  • Lump sum repayment at loan payoff.

For non-federally backed loans: Check with your lender and your loan servicer for the forbearance repayment options that they offer. You may be able to find information about forbearance programs by checking the websites of your lender and servicer for more detailed information.”

Source | FHFA
Source | CFPB

FHFA: “While in forbearance, homeowners do not incur late fees or other penalties. However, the terms of the mortgage are unchanged, and arrangements will need to be made with the servicer to make up missed payments.”

Source | FHFA

House Financial Services Committee: “Homeowners are provided with a foreclosure moratorium of at least 60 days starting on March 18, 2020. This includes the initiation of new foreclosures as well as the continuation of foreclosures that had already been initiated; this does not include vacant or abandoned properties. They are also provided with the right to request and receive forbearance on their mortgage payments for up to 6 months, with the option to extend for an additional 6 months (total max of 1 year), as well as the option to discontinue the forbearance at any time. During the forbearance period, servicers are prohibited from charging fees or interest beyond what the borrower would have had to pay if they were making their payments as scheduled.

Homeowners should be advised that a mortgage forbearance is not a forgiveness of debt, and that they will have to work out a loan modification or repayment plan with their servicer at the end of the forbearance period to resume making payments, including all missed payments. The CARES Act is silent as to the kinds of loan modifications that will be offered after the term of forbearance, but a common type of loan modification following a forbearance period extends the mortgage term for the length of the forbearance to allow the homeowner to resume making payments in an amount that is very similar to what they were paying prior to the forbearance. Homeowners are encouraged to ask their servicers about these details and seek out housing counseling assistance as appropriate. You can look up a HUD-approved housing counseling agency here.”

FHFA: “A forbearance plan is an agreement between a homeowner and their mortgage servicer (the company they send their monthly mortgage payments to) that establishes an alternative payment schedule to reduce or suspend payments for a period of time. Importantly, mortgage forbearance plans do not reduce the principal amount owed on a mortgage, and interest continues to accrue for the duration of the plan. Homeowners who can afford to make partial payments should do so in order to lessen the amount due at the end of the forbearance.”

Source | FHFA

FHFA: “Homeowners unable to make their mortgage payments resulting from the impact of COVID-19 (regardless of whether they have contracted the virus) may be eligible for a mortgage forbearance plan to reduce or suspend their mortgage payments for up to 12 months. This assistance is available to homeowners with single family or condominium mortgages owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) regardless of whether their property is owner occupied, a second home, or an investment property.”

Source | FHFA

House Financial Services Committee

Beware on anyone seeking to charge you for accessing the relief provided under the bill. The bill provides eligible borrowers the right to request and receive forbearance on their mortgage payments for up to 6 months, with the option to extend for an additional 6 months (total max of 1 year), as well as the option to discontinue the forbearance at any time. Contact your mortgage servicer to determine whether your mortgage is eligible for forbearance under the bill. You do not need to pay any fees if you are eligible to receive these benefits. Eligible homeowners, however, do need to contact their servicer to request a forbearance.

Beware of anyone charging you in advance for assistance in modifying the terms of your mortgage. In most circumstances, it is unlawful to charge fees in advance for a mortgage modification. Contact your servicer to inquire about options for modifying the terms of your mortgage.”

House Financial Services Committee: “Homeowners who are suffering financial hardship, directly or indirectly related to COVID-19 should contact their servicer to request a forbearance. Homeowners will have to attest to financial hardship caused directly or indirectly by COVID-19 to receive a forbearance but are not required to provide any further documentation to prove such financial hardship.

Homeowners who are facing foreclosure should not have to do anything further and should immediately benefit from the foreclosure moratorium. If a homeowner is subject to an initiation of foreclosure proceedings, a continuation of foreclosure proceedings, or a foreclosure related eviction [during the federal moratorium], they should contact their servicer immediately to receive an explanation as to why this activity has not been halted. If servicers are unresponsive and/or continue to be noncompliant, homeowners can contact the relevant federal agency or entity that is backing their mortgage or seek out legal assistance. You may want to submit a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau through their complaints webpage, available here. You can also contact the CFPB via telephone by calling (855) 411-2372.”

House Financial Services Committee: “Although homeowners with mortgages that are not federally backed are not technically covered under the CARES Act, some lenders are voluntarily aligning the relief they are providing with the relief provided for federally backed mortgages, so it is still possible that homeowners without federally backed mortgages will have access to similar relief. Reaching out to your servicer is the best way to find out what relief is available to you.”

 

House Financial Services Committee: “Homeowners with “federally backed mortgages” are eligible for assistance under this bill. Federally backed mortgages are defined as mortgages for single-family homes that are:

  • purchased or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac;
  • insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), including reverse mortgages or Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs);
  • guaranteed, directly provided by, or insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA);
  • guaranteed, directly provided by, or insured by the Department of Agriculture (USDA); or
  • guaranteed under HUD’s Native American or Native Hawaiian Home Loan Guarantee programs.

 

Homeowners that do not know whether their mortgage fits this definition, should reach out to their mortgage servicer to find out. Your mortgage servicer is the company that you send your mortgage payments to each month. For context, 70 percent of mortgages in the current market are federally backed. Homeowners with mortgages that are not federally backed are unfortunately not covered under the CARES Act.”

FDA: “COVID-19 convalescent plasma must only be collected from recovered individuals if they are eligible to donate blood. Individuals must have had a prior diagnosis of COVID-19 documented by a laboratory test and meet other laboratory criteria. Individuals must have fully recovered from COVID-19, with complete resolution of symptoms for at least 14 days before donation of convalescent plasma. You can ask your local blood center if there are options to donate convalescent plasma in your area.”

Source | FDA

FDA: “Convalescent refers to anyone recovering from a disease. Plasma is the yellow, liquid part of blood that contains antibodies. Antibodies are proteins made by the body in response to infections.  Convalescent plasma from patients who have already recovered from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may contain antibodies against COVID-19. The FDA has issued an emergency use authorization for the use of convalescent plasma in hospitalized patients. It is being investigated for the treatment of COVID-19 because there is no approved treatment for this disease. Based on scientific evidence available, the FDA concluded this product may be effective in treating COVID-19 and that the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product for patients hospitalized with COVID-19.”

 

Source | FDA

CDC: “Yes, it is possible. You may test negative if the sample was collected early in your infection and test positive later during this illness. You could also be exposed to COVID-19 after the test and get infected then. Even if you test negative, you still should take steps to protect yourself and others. See Testing for Current Infection for more information.”

Source | CDC

National Association of REALTORS®: “Maybe the economy is reopening, but housing never closed. Indeed, the basic strategy from government authorities for the last six weeks has been to “shelter at home.” In other words, staying home has been our national response to COVID-19. In the absence of a vaccine, reliable medical treatment, or adequate testing/contact tracing/isolation, it is likely that, at least to some extent, the virus will spread more quickly as the economy reopens than it has in recent weeks. That means that it is more – not less – likely that the virus will circulate at rental properties. If so, housing providers need to maintain and, if necessary, increase the steps they have already taken to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus at their properties, even as the rest of the economy begins to reopen.” 

 

Washington Post: “The United States currently has more than 30 million people on unemployment aid. They had been receiving an extra $600 a week from the federal government on top of their state aid (which averaged $330 a week), but Congress set the federal funding expire at the end of July. Democrats want to continue at the $600 a week level. Republicans proposed $200. They have yet to agree.

 

Trump’s memo calls for federal aid to restart at a level of $400 a week. But there’s a catch: The federal government is only paying for $300 of that. States have to kick in the other $100. Many states are currently cash-strapped as they fight the coronavirus, and there’s concern governors won’t sign on to do this.

 

There are also a lot of legal questions about the money Trump is attempting to use to pay for this. He calls for $44 billion of funding from the Department of Homeland Security’s Disaster Relief Fund that is normally used for hurricanes, tornadoes and massive fires to be shifted over to unemployment.

 

Trump’s memo orders the aid to last through Dec. 6 or until funding runs out. But on top of legal questions, $44 billion would cover less than five weeks of payments for 30 million unemployed Americans. That isn’t enough money to make it to October, unless the number of people on unemployment falls dramatically.”

Source | Washington Post

Washington Post: “Trump instructs the U.S. Treasury to halt collection of payroll taxes from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 for workers who earn less than $4,000 every two weeks (that’s people earning under about $104,000 a year).

This will feel like a tax cut for a few weeks because workers will end up with larger paychecks while the tax is not collected. But it is technically a tax deferral, meaning the taxes will still be due at a later date.”

Source | Washington Post

Forbes: “There are several bills offering a second stimulus check pending in the House and the Senate:

The Heroes Act (a bill passed by House Democrats in May)

  • $1,200 for single tax filers
  • $2,400 for joint tax filers
  • $1,200 for each dependent, regardless of age
  • Income limitations on eligibility

The HEALS Act (a bill introduced by Senate Republicans in July)

  • $1,200 for single tax filers
  • $2,400 for joint tax filers
  • $500 for each dependent, regardless of age
  • Income limitations on eligibility

Coronavirus Assistance for American Families Act (introduced by four Republican Senators in July)

  • $1,000 for single tax filers
  • $2,000 for joint tax filers
  • $1,000 for each dependent, regardless of age
  • Income limitations on eligibility”
Source | Forbes

Forbes: “No. That requires an act of Congress. Our Founding Fathers structured our government to include checks (no pun intended) and balances so that no one branch of the government possessed too much power. These checks and balances include who controls the purse strings in Washington. Congress, and specifically the House of Representatives has the power to tax and spend public money.”

Source | Forbes

Forbes: “No. [The] executive orders (technically just one executive order; the other actions were through memoranda) covered an enhanced unemployment benefit, student loan relief, an eviction moratorium, and a payroll tax holiday. He did not authorize or otherwise direct the Treasury to send out a second stimulus payment.”

Source | Forbes

Wall Street Journal: “The Cares Act gave most borrowers with federal student loans a six-month interruption of their monthly payments, interest-free. The law applies to roughly 35 million borrowers whose loans are held by the federal government. It excludes about eight million borrowers whose loans are held by private lenders with a government guarantee, under a federal program that ended in 2010. The payment moratorium is set to expire Sept. 30.

Saturday’s executive memorandum from Mr. Trump said the administration would extend the payment moratorium and zero interest until the end of the coronavirus crisis.”

CDC: “Evidence from schools throughout the world suggests that reopening schools may be low risk in communities with low SARS-CoV-2 transmission rates.4Computer simulations from Europe have suggested that schools reopening may further increase spread in communities where transmission is already high.4 As schools reopen, more will be learned about the feasibility and effectiveness of mitigation strategies such as wearing cloth face coverings and keeping people 6 feet apart through social distancing.  Regardless of the level of community transmission, vigilance to practicing behaviors that prevent spread among everyone at school and taking other recommended actions to plan, prepare, and respond to COVID-19 will lower the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission than it might otherwise would be.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “An alternating schedule is when students rotate when they physically attend school. This is also sometimes called a hybrid schedule (mix of in-person and virtual school). For example, certain grades or classrooms may attend school on Monday and Tuesday while other grades or classrooms may attend on Thursday and Friday. The school would be thoroughly cleaned on Wednesday. As another example, some schools internationally have rotated in-person attendance weekly with one group of students attending during a week, followed by a different group the next week in rotation.

CDC is currently examining different alternating scheduling durations and strategies to assess their potential impact on SARS-CoV-2 transmission risk in school. Preliminary modeling results suggest that – similar to cohorting – alternating schedules can help reduce contact between students and staff, and both alternating days and alternating weeks of in-person instruction have the potential to reduce in-school transmission of SARS-CoV-2 compared with daily in-person instruction. While alternating schedules may reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission risk, there may be additional costs related to lesson planning for teachers, childcare costs for parents, and other potential costs. More research is needed on the layered impact of alternating schedules with other SARS-CoV-2 mitigation strategies (e.g., social distancing, cloth face coverings, proper hygiene, and cohorting) as well as the impact of alternating schedules on students’ learning and well-being.”

 

Source | CDC

CDC: “Schools are an essential part of the infrastructure of communities, as they provide safe, supportive learning environments for students, employ teachers and other staff, and enable parents, guardians, and caregivers to go to work. Schools also provide critical services that help to mitigate health disparities, such as school meal programs, social, physical, behavioral, and mental health services. Communities should make every effort to support the reopening of schools safely for in person learning in the fall.

From other countries, we know that schools can reopen safely for in-person learning in communities with low rates of COVID-19 spread if appropriate precautions are taken.1,2 The creation of a local cross-sectional task force comprised of local decision makers, education leaders, and representatives of school staff, families, local health officials, and other community members can support identifying mitigation strategies for their community, given their local context, that can decrease community transmission levels now and throughout the fall. 

The health, safety, and well-being of students, teachers, staff, and their families are the most important consideration in determining whether schools should reopen for in-person learning.”

 

Source | CDC

Wall Street Journal: “Yes, but not everywhere and depending on where you’re headed, you may need to stay awhile. Several states and counties temporarily banned Airbnb, VRBO and other short-term vacation rentals (typically defined as fewer than 31 days). Those bans are gradually lifting in most states, though still in place in Hawaii. Maine now allows all out-of-state visitors to book short-term vacation rentals again (and hotel rooms), while Vermont officials lifted that state’s rental ban in mid June. But keep in mind your short-term rental still comes with restrictions—both Maine and Vermont require most out-of-staters to self-quarantine for 14 days or certify that they’ve tested negative for Covid-19. In Vermont, even if you test negative for Covid-19, you’re still required to quarantine for seven days. To help prospective renters sort out the patchwork of regulations, Airbnb lists government restrictions on its site, but be prepared to wade through the fine print.”

FEMA: “Visit the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/coronavirus/scams for the latest information on scams. Sign up to get FTC’s alerts at ftc.gov/subscribe.”

Source | FEMA

Department of Labor: “Covered employers must abide by the FMLA as well as any applicable state FMLA laws.  An employee who is sick, or whose family members are sick, may be entitled to leave under the FMLA.  The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a designated 12-month leave year for specified family and medical reasons which may include the flu where complications arise that create a “serious health condition” as defined by the FMLA.

There is currently no federal law covering non-government employees who take off from work to care for healthy children, and employers are not required by federal law to provide leave to employees caring for dependents who have been dismissed from school or child care.  However, given the potential for significant illness under some pandemic influenza scenarios, employers should review their leave policies to consider providing increased flexibility to their employees and their families.  Remember that federal law mandates that any flexible leave policies must be administered in a manner that does not discriminate against employees because of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age (40 and over), disability, or veteran status.”

Department of Labor: “The FMLA protects eligible employees who are incapacitated by a serious health condition, as may be the case with COVID-19 where complications arise, or who are needed to care for covered family members who are incapacitated by a serious health condition.  Leave taken by an employee for the purpose of avoiding exposure to COVID-19 would not be protected under the FMLA.  Employers should encourage employees who are ill with COVID-19 or are exposed to ill family members to stay home and should consider flexible leave policies for their employees in these circumstances.”

OSHA: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides guidance about the discontinuation of home isolation for people with COVID-19. The Medical Information page of OSHA’s COVID-19 Safety and Health Topics page also provides information about returning to work after having COVID-19. This guidance applies to workers with COVID-19 symptoms, even if they were not tested for COVID-19.”

Source | OSHA

OSHA: “See the Guidance on Returning to Work, which was developed to help employers and workers return to work safely and reopen workplaces that were previously closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers can use the guidance to develop policies and procedures to ensure the safety and health of their employees.

OSHA’s COVID-19 Safety and Health Topics page also provides information for workers and employers that can be adapted to better suit evolving risk levels and necessary control measures in workplaces as states or regions satisfy the gating criteria to progress through the phases of the White House Guidelines for Opening up America Again.”

Source | OSHA

CDC: “Encourage staff and attendees to take everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, such as COVID-19. This includes:

  • Cleaning your hands often.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Staying home when you are sick.
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
  • Using a cloth face covering in public, especially when it may be difficult to maintain a distance of at least six feet from other people.”
Source | CDC

CDC: “CDC does not have a limit or recommend a specific number of attendees for these types of events and instead encourages event organizers to focus on ways to limit people’s contact with each other. Each event organizer will need to determine the appropriate number for their setting in collaboration with local health officials. They should also check state, county, and city rules regarding any current restrictions limiting the number of attendees at events.

In general, the number that is chosen should allow individuals to remain at least 6 feet apart from each other. Rather than focusing on an ideal number, event organizers and administrators should focus on the ability to reduce and limit contact between attendees, staff, and others. In general, the more people you interact with, the more closely you interact with them, and the longer that interaction, the higher your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. Indoor spaces are more risky than outdoor spaces because indoors, it can be harder to keep people at least 6 feet apart and the ventilation is not as good as it is outdoors.”

 

Source | CDC

National Low Income Housing Coalition: “Systemic racial inequities in housing contribute to an uneven impact of coronavirus on people of color. People of color are significantly more likely than white people to experience evictions and homelessness, the result of centuries of institutional racism and economic inequity. People experiencing homelessness are at a much higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and experiencing severe complications. Housing instability and homelessness are two of the most significant barriers to flattening the curve and ending the COVID-19 pandemic. It has never been more clear that housing is healthcare. 

Historic and ongoing government-sponsored residential segregation contributes to racial disparities in health, education, employment, and socioeconomic status. Racial residential segregation continues to be a primary contributor to racial health disparities. Black Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans face significant inequities in health care access, largely due to structural racism and chronic underfunding of services for these communities. These racist policies lead to differences in neighborhood quality, with Black Americans and Latinos more likely to live in “food deserts” – areas with limited access to affordable, healthy food. Native Americans in tribal areas and rural communities also face high levels of food insecurity and limited access to healthy food options.

People of color are also more likely to live in areas characterized by poor housing quality, high housing density, and elevated exposure to harmful pollutants and allergens. American Indian and Alaska Native households face some of the worst housing conditions in the United States. Overcrowding, structural deficiencies, and plumbing, electrical, and heating problems place Native communities at extreme risk during the pandemic.”

National Low Income Housing Coalition: “Emerging data indicate that the coronavirus is infecting and killing people of color at a disproportionately high rate. While COVID-19 can infect anyone, historically marginalized populations are more likely to experience acute and structural risk factors that increase the likelihood of contracting and experiencing severe cases of the disease.

Due to structural racism and discrimination, people of color are more likely to experience adverse social determinants of health, at-risk comorbidities, and the inability to social distance. Specifically, Black Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans are more likely to suffer from long-term health conditions and have limited access to health care. Tribal governments face significant barriers to protecting their citizens, including inadequate federal funding and resources. Moreover, people of color experience higher rates of poverty and are more likely to work in service industries, making it more difficult to practice social distancing and abide by stay-at-home ordinances. People of color are overrepresented in jails and prisons, which have been identified as potential hotspots for the rapid spread of COVID-19 due to overcrowding, lack of sanitation products, and limited testing and quality health care.

This dangerous combination of risk factors is contributing to higher rates of infection and death in Black, Native, and Latino communities. Moreover, the rise in discrimination, racist rhetoric, and hate crimes against the Asian American community in response to the coronavirus is deeply troubling. Acts of discrimination, fueled by misinformation and xenophobia, are impacting Asian Americans’ economic stability and access to social services.

People of color will also experience greater burdens and social upheaval in the aftermath of the acute crisis. In addition to facing higher mortality rates in their communities, the economic impact of COVID-19 will likely increase rates of job insecurity, food insecurity, and housing instability and homelessness.”

 

CDC: “If you have been around someone who was identified as a close contact to a person with COVID-19, you should closely monitor yourself for any symptoms of COVID-19. You do not need to self-quarantine.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, a case investigator from the health department may call you to check-in on your health, discuss who you’ve been in contact with, and ask where you spent time while you may have been infectious and able to spread COVID-19 to others. You will also be asked to stay at home and self-isolate, if you are not doing so already.

  • Your name will not be revealed to those you may have exposed, even if they ask.
  • Self-isolation means staying at home in a specific room away from other people and pets, and using a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Self-isolation helps slow the spread of COVID-19 and can help keep your family, friends, neighbors, and others you may come in contact with healthy.
  • If you need support or assistance while self-isolating, your health department or community organizations may be able to provide assistance.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. If your symptoms worsen or become severe, you should seek medical care. Severe symptoms include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “Antibody tests for COVID-19 are available through healthcare providers and laboratories. Check with your healthcare provider to see if they offer antibody tests and whether you should get one.

A positive test result shows you might have antibodies from an infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. However, there is a chance a positive result means that you have antibodies from an infection with a virus from the same family of viruses (called coronaviruses), such as the one that causes the common cold.

Having antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 might provide protection from getting infected with the virus again. If it does, we do not know how much protection the antibodies might provide or how long this protection might last.

You should continue to protect yourself and others since you could get infected with the virus again.

If you test negative, you might not have ever had COVID-19. Talk with your healthcare provider about your test result and the type of test you took to understand what your result means.

Regardless of whether you test positive or negative, the results do not confirm whether or not you are able to spread the virus that causes COVID-19. Until we know more, continue to take steps to protect yourself and others.

If you want more information about antibody tests, see Test for Past Infection.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “Supporting children with special healthcare needs can put additional demands and stress on families, especially during emergency situations. You have likely found ways to manage the stress and challenges unique to your family’s situation. It is important to continue your family’s coping methods, including reaching out to other family members, friends, support groups, and organizations that have been helpful in the past.

See information on helping children cope and coping with stress (such as visiting parks, trails, or open spaces) and making your family stronger.

If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others:

Visit the National Domestic Violence Hotlineexternal icon or call 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224”

Source | CDC

CDC: “Contact tracing is used by health departments to prevent the spread of infectious disease. In general, contact tracing involves identifying people who have an infectious disease (cases) and their contacts (people who may have been exposed) and working with them to interrupt disease transmission. For COVID-19, this includes asking cases to isolate and contacts to quarantine at home voluntarily.

Contact tracing for COVID-19 typically involves

  • Interviewing people with COVID-19 to identify everyone with whom they had close contact during the time they may have been infectious,
  • Notifying contacts of their potential exposure,
  • Referring contacts for testing,
  • Monitoring contacts for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and
  • Connecting contacts with services they might need during the self-quarantine period.

To prevent the further spread of disease, COVID-19 contacts are encouraged to stay home and maintain social distance (at least 6 feet) from others until 14 days after their last exposure to a person with COVID-19. Contacts should monitor themselves by checking their temperature twice daily and watching for symptoms of COVID-19.”

Source | CDC

CDC is currently not aware of scientific evidence establishing a link between NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen) and worsening of COVID‑19. FDA external icon external icon, the European Medicines Agencyexternal icon, the World Health Organization, and CDC are continuing to monitor the situation and will review new information on the effects of NSAIDs and COVID-19 disease as it becomes available. For those who wish to use treatment options other than NSAIDs, there are other over-the-counter and prescription medications approved for pain relief and fever reduction. Patients who rely on NSAIDs to treat chronic conditions and have additional questions should speak to their healthcare provider for individualized management. Patients should use NSAIDs, and all medications, according to the product labels and advice of their healthcare professional.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “The immune response, including duration of immunity, to SARS-CoV-2 infection is not yet understood. Patients with MERS-CoV are unlikely to be re-infected shortly after they recover, but it is not yet known whether similar immune protection will be observed for patients with COVID-19.

Source | CDC

National Association of Realtors: “To apply for unemployment compensation benefits, you must apply through your state labor or employment agency. To find out more information about your state unemployment office, please visit local employment benefits page at www.careeronestop.org.

 Each state labor or employment agency participating in the pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) program will have its own process for accepting unemployment compensation claims and processing those requests.  Many states are working to implement the CARES Act and are creating the proper systems to be able to accommodate all requests for unemployment compensation, including specific applications for independent contractors. It is best to continue to check with your state labor agency or unemployment office to find out how and when to apply.

Because the unemployment claims process is now being extended to independent contractors, under the CARES Act there may be questions asked that do not apply (i.e. who is your employer). As states update their processes to extend the benefits, these questions and claims forms may change. It is recommended that all questions be answered thoroughly and honestly for accuracy in PUA benefit determinations conducted by the state.”

National Association of Realtors: “While anti-discrimination laws would generally prohibit certain questions about a person’s disability, in light of the fact that COVID-19 is widespread, highly contagious, and potentially very dangerous, some federal agencies have issued guidance relaxing this prohibition. For example, the EEOC and CDC, have each issued guidance to employers and homeless shelters, respectively, permitting symptom-related questions to be asked upon entry to a facility. This guidance suggests that it is permissible for real estate professionals to ask someone to self- disclose any symptoms or known or potential exposures to the virus. While such questions may permit [housing professionals] to take necessary safety precautions, remember that many individuals with COVID-19 are asymptomatic, so reasonable precautions should be taken regardless of whether someone knows that they have the virus or is exhibiting symptoms. Although it is permissible to request that an individual self-disclose  their exposure to or symptoms related to COVID-19, the COVID- 19 crisis does not provide a basis to ask someone non-COVID-19-related health or medical questions.”

CDC: “Yes. Air travel requires spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces. Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes. However, social distancing is difficult on crowded flights, and you may have to sit near others (within 6 feet), sometimes for hours. This may increase your risk for exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “Yes. Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. Before you travel, learn if COVID-19 is spreading in your local area or in any of the places you are going. Traveling to visit family may be especially dangerous if you or your loved ones are more likely to get very ill from COVID-19. People at higher risk for severe illness need to take extra precautions. For more considerations see the webpage Coronavirus in the United States—Considerations for Travelers.”

Source | CDC

CDC:

  • “Clean your hands often.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, after touching surfaces frequently touched by others, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, and before touching your face or eating.
    • If soap and water are not available, bring and use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub your hands together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with others.
    • Keep 6 feet of physical distance from others.
  • Wear a cloth face covering in public.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Pick up food at drive-throughs, curbside restaurant service, or stores.
  • Make sure you are up to date with your routine vaccinations, including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and the seasonal flu vaccine.”
Source | CDC

CDC: “There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, or water playgrounds. Additionally, proper operation of these aquatic venues and disinfection of the water (with chlorine or bromine) should inactivate the virus.

 While there is ongoing community spread of the virus, it is important for individuals, as well as operators of public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds (for example, at hotels or apartment complexes or owned by communities) to take steps to ensure health and safety:

 

Source | CDC

CDC: “Outdoor areas generally require normal routine cleaning and do not require disinfection. Spraying disinfectant on outdoor playgrounds is not an efficient use of disinfectant supplies and has not been proven to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the public. You should maintain existing cleaning and hygiene practices for outdoor areas. If practical, high touch surfaces made of plastic or metal, such as grab bars and railings, should be cleaned routinely. Cleaning and disinfection of wooden surfaces (e.g., play structures, benches, tables) or groundcovers (e.g., mulch, sand) is not recommended.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “The number of cases of COVID-19 being reported in the United States is rising due to increased laboratory testing and reporting across the country. The growing number of cases in part reflects the rapid spread of COVID-19 as many U.S. states and territories experience community spread. More detailed and accurate data will allow us to better understand and track the size and scope of the outbreak and strengthen prevention and response efforts.

 

Source | CDC

OSHA: The difference between cloth face coverings, surgical masks and respirators are described below:

 

“Cloth face coverings:

  • May be commercially produced or improvised (i.e., homemade) garments, scarves, bandanas, or items made from t-shirts or other fabrics.
  • Are worn in public over the nose and mouth to contain the wearer’s potentially infectious respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks and to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), to others.
  • Are not considered personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Will not protect the wearer against airborne transmissible infectious agents due to loose fit and lack of seal or inadequate filtration.
  • Are not appropriate substitutes for PPE such as respirators (e.g., N95 respirators) or medical face masks (e.g., surgical masks) in workplaces where respirators or face masks are recommended or required to protect the wearer.
  •  May be used by almost any worker, although those who have trouble breathing or are otherwise unable to put on or remove a mask without assistance should not wear one.
  • May be disposable or reusable after proper washing.

 

Surgical masks:

  • Are typically cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as medical devices (though not all devices that look like surgical masks are actually medical-grade, cleared devices).
  • Are used to protect workers against splashes and sprays (i.e., droplets) containing potentially infectious materials. In this capacity, surgical masks are considered PPE. Under OSHA’s PPE standard (29 CFR 1910.132), employers must provide any necessary PPE at no-cost to workers.
  • May also be worn to contain the wearer’s respiratory droplets (e.g., healthcare workers, such as surgeons, wear them to avoid contaminating surgical sites, and dentists and dental hygienists wear them to protect patients).
  • Should be placed on sick individuals to prevent the transmission of respiratory infections that spread by large droplets.
  • Will not protect the wearer against airborne transmissible infectious agents due to loose fit and lack of seal or inadequate filtration.
  • May be used by almost anyone.
  • Should be properly disposed of after use.

 

Respirators (e.g., filtering facepieces):

  • Are used to prevent workers from inhaling small particles, including airborne transmissible or aerosolized infectious agents.
  • Must be provided and used in accordance with OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134).
  • Must be certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
  • Need proper filter material (e.g., N95 or better) and, other than for loose-fitting powered, air purifying respirators (PAPRs), tight fit (to prevent air leaks).
  • Require proper training, fit testing, availability of appropriate medical evaluations and monitoring, cleaning, and oversight by a knowledgeable staff member.
  • OSHA has temporarily exercised its enforcement discretion concerning annual fit testing requirements in the Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134), as long as employers have made good-faith efforts to comply with the requirements of the standard and to follow the steps outlined in the March 14, 2020, and April 8, 2020, memoranda (as applicable to their industry).
  • When necessary to protect workers, require a respiratory protection program that is compliant with OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134). OSHA consultation staff can assist with understanding respiratory protection requirements.
  • FFRs may be used voluntarily, if permitted by the employer. If an employer permits voluntary use of FFRs, employees must receive the information contained in Appendix D of OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134).”
Source | OSHA

CDC: “Cloth face coverings are an additional step to help slow the spread of COVID-19 when combined with everyday preventive actions and social distancing in public settings.

Cloth face coverings should be washed after each use. It is important to always remove face coverings correctly and wash your hands after handling or touching a used face covering.

Washing machine: 

  • You can include your face covering with your regular laundry.
  • Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth used to make the face covering.

Washing by hand: 

  • Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
    • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) household bleach per gallon of room temperature water or
    • 4 teaspoons household bleach per quart of room temperature water
  • Check the label to see if your bleach is intended for disinfection. Some bleach products, such as those designed for safe use on colored clothing, may not be suitable for disinfection. Ensure the bleach product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
  • Soak the face covering in the bleach solution for 5 minutes.
  • Rinse thoroughly with cool or room temperature water.

Dryer

  • Use the highest heat setting and leave in the dryer until completely dry.

Air dry

  • Lay flat and allow to completely dry. If possible, place the cloth face covering in direct sunlight.”
Source | CDC

FDA: “At this time there is no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The FDA is working with vaccine developers and other researchers and manufacturers to help expedite the development and availability of medical products such as vaccines, antibodies, and drugs to prevent COVID-19.

Source | FDA

CDC: “Antibody testing checks a sample of a person’s blood to look for antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19. When someone gets COVID-19, their body usually makes antibodies. However, it typically takes one to three weeks to develop these antibodies. Some people may take even longer to develop antibodies, and some people may not develop antibodies. A positive result from this test may mean that person was previously infected with the virus. Talk to your healthcare provider about what your antibody test result means.

Antibody tests should not be used to diagnose COVID-19. To see if you are currently infected, you need a viral test. Viral tests identify the virus in respiratory samples, such as swabs from the inside of your nose.

We do not know yet if having antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 can protect someone from getting infected again or, if they do, how long this protection might last. Scientists are conducting research to answer those questions.”

 

Source | CDC

CDC: “We do not know yet if people who recover from COVID-19 can get infected again. CDC and partners are investigating to determine if a person can get sick with COVID-19 more than once. Until we know more, continue to take steps to protect yourself and others.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “It is important to continue taking care of your health and wellness. If you have a chronic health problem, you may be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Below are some things you can to do to take care of your health during this time.

Continue your medications, and do not change your treatment plan without talking to your healthcare provider. Continue to manage your disease the way your healthcare provider has told you.

Have at least a 2-week supply of all prescription and non-prescription medications. Talk to your healthcare provider, insurer, and pharmacist about getting an extra supply of prescription medications, if possible, to reduce trips to the pharmacy.

Talk to your healthcare provider about whether your vaccinations are up-to-date.People aged 65 years or older, and those with some underlying medical conditions, are recommended to receive vaccinations against influenza and pneumococcal disease as soon as your provider tells you that  can.

Call your healthcare provider: if you have any concerns about your medical conditions, or if you get sick; to find out about different ways you can connect with your healthcare provider for chronic disease management or other conditions. Ask about phone calls, video appointments, use of the patient portal, emails and mailings. Learn more about telehealth here.

Do not delay getting emergency care for your health problems or any health condition that requires immediate attention. If you need emergency help, call 911. Emergency departments have infection prevention plans to protect you from getting COVID-19 if you need care for your medical condition.

Continue to practice everyday prevention: wash your hands often, keep space between yourself and others, cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around other people, cover coughs and sneezes, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces often.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “CDC’s overall case numbers are validated through a confirmation process with jurisdictions. The process used for finding and confirming cases displayed by different places may differ.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “No. The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults. However, children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally presented with mild symptoms. Reported symptoms in children include cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported. It’s not known yet whether some children may be at higher risk for severe illness, for example, children with underlying medical conditions and special healthcare needs. There is much more to be learned about how the disease impacts children.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “The process and locations for testing vary from place to place. Contact your state, local, tribal, or territorial department for more information, or reach out to a medical provider. State and local public health departments have received tests from CDC while medical providers are getting tests developed by commercial manufacturers. While supplies of these tests are increasing, it may still be difficult to find someplace to get tested.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “It is not yet known whether weather and temperature affect the spread of COVID-19. Some other viruses, like those that cause the common cold and flu, spread more during cold weather months but that does not mean it is impossible to become sick with these viruses during other months.  There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.”

Source | CDC

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “There is no evidence that companion animals, like dogs and cats, can spread the new coronavirus to people. Jason Villano, D.V.M., M.S., M.Sc., a veterinary expert at Johns Hopkins, says, “The recent reports of a dog in Hong Kong testing positive for a ‘low level of infection’ of the new coronavirus does not mean that the dog actually was infected with the virus or can transmit it. The test used can detect even small amount of viral particles, and that further testing needs to be performed to confirm infection.”

Likewise, there have not been any reports of companion animals becoming sick with COVID-19. Because this is a new virus, experts recommend good hygiene when handling or caring for your pets. Wash your hands before and after interacting with animals, and avoid kissing them or letting them lick you or share your food. People ill with COVID-19 should let someone else take care of their animals. If this isn’t possible, patients should wear a mask while looking after their pet.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “At this time, social and physical distancing are important to follow, so overall, travel is discouraged. Outbreaks of the new coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes, are occurring in the United States and in countries around the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated travel information on a range of destinations.

Travelers should be cautious about cruise ship travel and situations that involve crowded places. You are less likely to catch the new coronavirus on airplanes because of circulation and filtering, but you may be asked about your infection risk when you book a flight. And be aware that you may be prevented from returning from certain sites should they be on lockdown.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “It’s best not to make unnecessary trips, but if you need to go to a grocery store, it’s important to maintain social and physical distancing as you shop, and to clean your hands often while shopping and as soon as you get home.

Here are some other suggestions:

  • Have one adult go shopping instead of the whole family, especially since children like to touch objects and then their faces.
  • Plan to stock up for at least a week so you can minimize the number of trips.
  • When you’re at the store, stay at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Clean the handle of the shopping basket or cart with a disinfectant wipe or hand sanitizer.
  • Don’t touch your face, and keep your phone in your pocket because it may harbor viruses — use a paper list instead.
  • Hard surfaces are more likely to be contaminated than soft surfaces (such as fabric), so be mindful of commonly touched surfaces such as payment equipment and self-checkout machines.
  • If you use reusable shopping bags, wipe them with disinfectant or launder them once you’ve put your groceries away.

Wear a cloth face covering if you are not able to practice social distancing while shopping.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine“There is no evidence at present that items imported from affected areas and shipped or mailed over the course of days or weeks are spreading COVID-19. Although the new coronavirus weakens and dies over time outside of the human body, studies suggest that it can live on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days, depending on surface, temperature and other environmental factors. For instance, a small amount of the new coronavirus is still detectable on plastic surfaces for up to three days, on stainless steel for up to two days and up to one day on cardboard, but it’s at less than 0.1% of the starting virus material.

So far, evidence suggests that the virus does not survive as well on a soft surface (such as fabric) as it does on frequently touched hard surfaces like elevator buttons and door handles.

More research will provide information on the coronavirus and how long it lives on surfaces. In the meantime, wash your hands thoroughly after handling mail, and carefully dispose of all outer packaging.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine“According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there have not been any cases of COVID-19 known to be caused from eating food or handling food packaging.

Here are some steps you can follow to help protect yourself when ordering groceries or carryout:

  • Before ordering groceries or carryout, check to see if you can pay online or over the phone.
  • Ask the delivery person to leave your packages at the door or on the porch.
  • If you go in person and curbside pickup is not available, make sure you maintain 6 feet of distance between you and the cashier.
  • Because carryout bags and containers have been touched recently by others, it is important to wash your hands after handling these.
  • Dispose of all packaging, and wash your hands again before eating.

Learn more: Coronavirus Disease 2019: Myth vs. Fact

Johns Hopkins Medicine“There are no studies supporting the effectiveness of homemade hand sanitizer blend in killing the new coronavirus on people’s hands. Experts agree that the best method for cleaning hands is washing for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “The virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (for example, grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. People who are ill with a respiratory disease can wear a mask to prevent spreading the illness to others.

Learn more about protecting yourself from coronavirus.

CDC: “For clothing, towels, linens and other items

  • Launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
  • Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from a person who is sick.
  • Dirty laundry from a person who is sick can be washed with other people’s items.
  • Do not shake dirty laundry.
  • Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces.

Remove gloves, and wash hands right away.”

Source | CDC

CDC:

  • “Close off areas used by the person who is sick.
  • Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area. Wait 24 hours before you clean or disinfect. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
  • Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person who is sick, such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATM machines.
  • If more than 7 days since the person who is sick visited or used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary.
    • Continue routing cleaning and disinfection.

When Cleaning

  • Wear disposable gloves and gowns for all tasks in the cleaning process, including handling trash.
    • Additional personal protective equipment (PPE) might be required based on the cleaning/disinfectant products being used and whether there is a risk of splash.
    • Gloves and gowns should be removed carefully to avoid contamination of the wearer and the surrounding area.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
    • Always wash immediately after removing gloves and after contact with a person who is sick.
    • Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may be used. 
    • However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.

 

  • Additional key times to wash hands include:
    • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • After using the restroom.
    • Before eating or preparing food.
    • After contact with animals or pets.
    • Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g., a child).

 

 

Additional Considerations for Employers

  • Educate workers performing cleaning, laundry, and trash pick-up to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Provide instructions on what to do if they develop symptoms within 14 days after their last possible exposure to the virus.
  • Develop policies for worker protection and provide training to all cleaning staff on site prior to providing cleaning tasks.
    • Training should include when to use PPE, what PPE is necessary, how to properly don (put on), use, and doff (take off) PPE, and how to properly dispose of PPE.
  • Ensure workers are trained on the hazards of the cleaning chemicals used in the workplace in accordance with OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard (29 CFR 1910.1200)
  • Comply with OSHA’s standards on Bloodborne Pathogens (29 CFR 1910.1030), including proper disposal of regulated waste, and PPE (29 CFR 1910.132)
Source | CDC

CDC: For electronics, such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATM machines

  • Consider putting a wipeable cover on electronics.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instruction for cleaning and disinfecting.

If no guidance, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol. Dry surface thoroughly.”

Source | CDC

CDC:  “For soft surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes

  • Clean the surface using soap and water or with cleaners appropriate for use on these surfaces.
  • Launder items (if possible) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
    OR
    Disinfect with an EPA-registered household disinfectant. These disinfectants meet EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19.”
Source | CDC

CDC:  “Wear disposable gloves to clean and disinfect.

Clean surfaces using soap and water. Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces.

High touch surfaces include: Tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.

Disinfect: Clean the area or item with soap and water or another detergent if it is dirty. Then, use disinfectant.

Recommend use of EPA-registered household disinfectant and follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product.

Many products recommend:

  • Keeping surface wet for a period of time (see product label)
  • Precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of product. 

Diluted household bleach solutions may also be used if appropriate for the surface.

  • Check the label to see if your bleach is intended for disinfection, and ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Some bleaches, such as those designed for safe use on colored clothing or for whitening may not be suitable for disinfection.
  • Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.

Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.

Leave solution on the surface for at least 1 minute

To make a bleach solution, mix: 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water OR 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol may also be used.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “Consider improving the engineering controls using the building ventilation system. This may include some or all of the following activities:

  • Increase ventilation rates.
  • Increase the percentage of outdoor air that circulates into the system.

Support respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene for employees, customers, and worksite visitors

  • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles.
  • Provide soap and water in the workplace. If soap and water are not readily available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. If hands are visibly dirty, soap and water should be chosen over hand sanitizer. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained.
  • Place hand sanitizers in multiple locations to encourage hand hygiene.
  • Place posters that encourage hand hygiene to help stop the spread at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
  • Discourage handshaking – encourage the use of other non contact methods of greeting.
  • Direct employees to visit the coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information.

Perform routine environmental cleaning and disinfection:

  • Routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs.
    • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
    • For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective. A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available here. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).
  • Discourage workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after use.
  • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks, other work tools and equipment) can be wiped down by employees before each use. To disinfect, use products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-Cov-2, the cause of COVID-19, and are appropriate for the surface.

Perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection after persons suspected/confirmed to have COVID-19 have been in the facility:

Advise employees before traveling to take additional preparations:

  • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from countries with travel advisories, and information for aircrew, can be found on the CDC website.
  • Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
  • Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
  • If outside the United States, sick employees should follow company policy for obtaining medical care or contact a healthcare provider or overseas medical assistance company to assist them with finding an appropriate healthcare provider in that country. A U.S. consular officer can help locate healthcare services. However, U.S. embassies, consulates, and military facilities do not have the legal authority, capability, and resources to evacuate or give medicines, vaccines, or medical care to private U.S. citizens overseas.

Take care when attending meetings and gatherings:

  • Carefully consider whether travel is necessary.
  • Consider using videoconferencing or teleconferencing when possible for work-related meetings and gatherings.
  • Consider canceling, adjusting, or postponing large work-related meetings or gatherings that can only occur in-person.
  • When videoconferencing or teleconferencing is not possible, hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces.”
Source | CDC

CDC: “Identify a workplace coordinator who will be responsible for COVID-19 issues and their impact at the workplace.

Implement flexible sick leave and supportive policies and practices.

  • Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of and understand these policies.
  • Maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member or take care of children due to school and childcare closures. Additional flexibilities might include giving advances on future sick leave and allowing employees to donate sick leave to each other.
  • Employers that do not currently offer sick leave to some or all of their employees may want to draft non-punitive “emergency sick leave” policies.
  • Employers should not require a positive COVID-19 test result or a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or to return to work. Healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely manner.
  • Review human resources policies to make sure that policies and practices are consistent with public health recommendations and are consistent with existing state and federal workplace laws (for more information on employer responsibilities, visit the Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity websites).
  • Connect employees to employee assistance program (EAP) resources (if available) and community resources as needed. Employees may need additional social, behavioral, and other services, for example, to cope with the death of a loved one.

Assess your essential functions and the reliance that others and the community have on your services or products.

  • Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize existing customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).
  • Identify alternate supply chains for critical goods and services. Some good and services may be in higher demand or unavailable.
  • Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
  • Talk with business partners about your response plans. Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts.

Determine how you will operate if absenteeism spikes from increases in sick employees, those who stay home to care for sick family members, and those who must stay home to watch their children if dismissed from childcare programs and K-12 schools.

  • Plan to monitor and respond to absenteeism at the workplace.
  • Implement plans to continue your essential business functions in case you experience higher than usual absenteeism.
  • Prepare to institute flexible workplace and leave policies.
  • Cross-train employees to perform essential functions so the workplace can operate even if key employees are absent.

Consider establishing policies and practices for social distancing. Social distancing should be implemented if recommended by state and local health authorities. Social distancing means avoiding large gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible (e.g., breakrooms and cafeterias). Strategies that business could use include:

  • Implementing flexible worksites (e.g., telework)
  • Implementing flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts)
  • Increasing physical space between employees at the worksite
  • Increasing physical space between employees and customers (e.g., drive through, partitions)
  • Implementing flexible meeting and travel options (e.g., postpone non-essential meetings or events)
  • Downsizing operations
  • Delivering services remotely (e.g. phone, video, or web)
  • Delivering products through curbside pick-up or delivery

Employers with more than one business location are encouraged to provide local managers with the authority to take appropriate actions outlined in their COVID-19 response plan based on local conditions.”

Source | CDC

CDC:Actively encourage sick employees to stay home: 

  • Employees who have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) should notify their supervisor and stay home.
  • Sick employees should follow CDC-recommended steps. Employees should not return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.
  • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and follow CDC recommended precautions.

Identify where and how workers might be exposed to COVID-19 at work:

  • See OSHA COVID-19 webpage for more information on how to protect workers from potential exposures and guidance for employers , including steps to take for jobs according to exposure risk.
  • Be aware that some employees may be at higher risk for serious illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions. Consider minimizing face-to-face contact between these employees or assign work tasks that allow them to maintain a distance of six feet from other workers, customers and visitors, or to telework if possible.

Separate sick employees:

  • Employees who appear to have symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) upon arrival at work or who become sick during the day should immediately be separated from other employees, customers, and visitors and sent home.
  • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19 infection, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The employer should instruct fellow employees about how to proceed based on the CDC Public Health Recommendations for Community-Related Exposure.

Educate employees about how they can reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Employees can take steps to protect themselves at work and at home. Older people and people with serious chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for complications.
  • Follow the policies and procedures of your employer related to illness, cleaning and disinfecting, and work meetings and travel.
  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.
  • Inform your supervisor if you have a sick family member at home with COVID-19. Learn what to do if someone in your house is sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Learn more about coughing and sneezing etiquette on the CDC website.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, and doorknobs. Dirty surfaces can be cleaned with soap and water prior to disinfection. To disinfect, use products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, and are appropriate for the surface.
  • Avoid using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. If necessary, clean and disinfect them before and after use.
  • Practice social distancing by avoiding large gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.”
Source | CDC

CDC: “Businesses and employers can prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19. Employers should plan to respond in a flexible way to varying levels of disease transmission in the community and be prepared to refine their business response plans as needed. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), most American workers will likely experience low (caution) or medium exposure risk levels at their job or place of employment (see OSHA guidance for employers) for more information about job risk