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.

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

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, Freddie Mac’s existing policies related to disasters do not apply to loans impacted by COVID-19. Any guidance specific to COVID-19 will be communicated through Bulletins and FAQ documents such as this.”

 

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

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

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: “Yes. FHA staff will conduct these reviews remotely. All on-site reviews are suspended until further notice.”

Source | HUD

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

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

HUD: “FHA is continually evaluating the situation and, if needed, may extend the moratorium. Any extension will be communicated through a Mortgagee Letter. When the moratorium expires, mortgagees have a 60-day extension to start or re-start foreclosure, unless a borrower requests a COVID-19 Forbearance or if the borrower’s circumstances have changed.” 

Source | HUD

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.”

HUD: “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.”

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

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.”

House Financial Services Committee: “For renters living in “covered dwellings” (see next Q&A below for this definition), this bill provides a temporary moratorium on evictions as well as late fees for nonpayment of rent or other charges for a period of 120 days starting on March 27, 2020. Further, landlords would not be allowed to issue a notice to vacate until after this temporary moratorium and they would not be allowed to require a tenant to actually vacate the unit until 30 days after the notice is given. Renters should be advised that the moratorium only applies to evictions for nonpayment of rent, not for other causes. Renters should also be advised that although they may be protected from eviction proceedings temporarily under this bill, the bill does not treat nonpayment of rent during this period as forgiven and these unpaid amounts will accrue during this period even if fees are not assessed.

Renters should not have to do anything to benefit from this prohibition on evictions and late fees. Renters who believe their landlord is out of compliance with these provisions should contact their local legal aid or the relevant federal agency (i.e. the agency providing subsidies or federal mortgage backing for the property; see the next Q&A below for more info).”

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.”

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)

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.”

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: “Workers responsible for handling property management, maintenance, and related service calls who can coordinate the response to emergency “at-home” situations requiring immediate attention, as well as facilitate the reception of deliveries, mail, and other necessary services.”

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

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

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: “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.”

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: “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: “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

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

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: “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: “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: “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.”

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

TransUnion: “If a lender reports an account as in forbearance to TransUnion, it can help minimize the impact to your credit score and keep your accounts in good standing during the forbearance period, as long as you didn’t have late or missed payments already.”

Experian: “Loan forbearance—a short-term reduction or suspension of payments in response to a borrower’s temporary hardship—can preserve household cash flow in times of economic difficulty. It can also have significant impacts on your credit history and credit scores.

Crucially, you can’t just miss a payment and expect no repercussions without communicating with your lender about your situation. You’ll need to work out a deal with your lender before stopping payment — otherwise, your credit standing could be compromised.

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.”

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.”

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: “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.”

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.”

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 of scams, including anyone seeking to charge you for accessing the foreclosure relief provided under the bill. The bill provides a 60-day moratorium on foreclosures starting on March 18, 2020. Homeowners facing foreclosure should not have to take any action to benefit from the foreclosure moratorium. Immediately contact your servicer if you are subject to an initiation of foreclosure proceedings, a continuation of foreclosure proceedings, or a foreclosure related eviction within the 60-day period beginning on March 18, 2020. If your servicers is unresponsive and/or continue to be noncompliant contact the relevant federal agency or entity that is backing their mortgage or seek out legal assistance.

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 within the 60-day period beginning on March 18, 2020, 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.”

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“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 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“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:

  • “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 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: 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 classifications).

Businesses are strongly encouraged to coordinate with state and local health officials so timely and accurate information can guide appropriate responses. Local conditions will influence the decisions that public health officials make regarding community-level strategies. CDC has guidance for mitigation strategies according to the level of community transmission or impact of COVID-19.

All employers need to consider how best to decrease the spread of COVID-19 and lower the impact in their workplace. This may include activities in one or more of the following areas:

  1. reduce transmission among employees,
  2. maintain healthy business operations, and
  3. maintain a healthy work environment.”
Source | CDC

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