COVID-19 Real Estate Resources

Evictions, Foreclosures, & Forbearance

80% of jobs lost to coronavirus recession were blue collar jobs, so we’re seeing the biggest impact in inability to pay in residential rentals and commercial rents and mortgages of non-essential businesses that cannot or do not provide take-out services.

Construction companies are eligible for the PPP loans under the CARES Act, but, homebuilders are still in limbo.  The problem arises because under previous SBA guidance,

"speculative" enterprises didn’t qualify for SBA loans.  “Speculative enterprises” include wildcatting in oil; dealing in stocks, bonds or commodity futures; mining gold or silver; and "building homes for future sale."  Also, passive businesses owned by developers and landlords who don't use or occupy the assets aren't generally eligible for SBA loans.  There is a lot going on at the federal level to resolve this.  We will update you as we learn more. 

In addiion to the provisions in the CARES Act, various municipal governments and state governments have imposed bans or moratoria on commercial and/or residential properties. 

  • Washington –
    • Governor Inslee expanded and extended the residential eviction moratorium through June 4. Click here to see the order.  Here’s what’s new:
      • The expanded order now applies to:
        • Hotels/motels
        • Airbnb or other temporary/vacation rentals
        • Lots/parcels (like those used for mobile homes)
        • Public campgrounds
        • Transitional housing
        • And commercial buildings used as dwellings
      • The order prohibits residential landlords from
        • imposing late fees or
        • assessing rent for a dwelling if the tenant’s access was prevented as a result of COVID-19
      • The order prohibits raising residential or commercial rents or increasing deposits – or threatening to do these things.
        • For commercial units, this prohibition applies only if the commercial tenant has been materially impacted by the COVID-19, whether personally impacted and is unable to work or whether the business itself was deemed non-essential or otherwise lost staff or customers due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
      • When the order is lifted, landlords/property owners cannot turn unpaid residential rents into enforceable debt, unless:
        • The landlord/property owner offers a reasonable payment plan AND
        • The tenant refuses the plan or fails to comply with it
      • The Governor established a web form to report suspected violations of the eviction moratorium.  A violation of the order is punishable as a Gross Misdemeanor under RCW 43.06.220(5).
    • Oregon –
      • New See HLG’s Grants blog for tenant rental assistance funds
      • No Residential Evictions: On April 1, Governor Brown banned residential evictions for nonpayment of rent and prohibits no-cause terminations of tenancy via Executive Order 20-13.  Tenant must notify LL as soon as reasonably possible of inability to pay rent; there is no requirement that the inability to pay be tied to COVID-19.  Tenant shall make partial payments, if financially able.  This Executive Order does not affect existing waiver law, though, so landlords may want to seek legal advice for how to accept partial payments.  Executive Order 20-11 prohibits law enforcement from serving eviction notices.  Both orders are effective for 90 days. 
        • Residential landlords in Multnomah County cannot evict residential tenants during the outbreak. Ordinance 1284 went into effect on April 16, enforceable until pandemic ends.
          • Requires compliance with state order and for 6 months thereafter, payments that were not made during the pandemic can be paid, with no late penalties, evictions, or other consequences for late payments.
          • LL that violates Ordinance 1284 owes tenant up to 3x the amount claimed and attorneys’ fees.
        • Portland Ordinance applies county ordinance within City limits.
        • Clackamas County ordinance says can’t evict residential or commercial due to inability to pay rent because of COVID-19
      • Commercial Evictions: On April 1, 2020, Governor Brown banned commercial evictions in Oregon for non-payment of rent. 
        • Prior to that, the City of Hillsboro had imposed a moratorium commercial evictions on the basis of nonpayment of rent, late charges, utility charges or any other service charge or fee, due to the loss of a commercial tenant’s business income resulting from COVID-19.
        • Clackamas County ordinance says can’t evict residential or commercial due to inability to pay rent because of COVID-19
        • Gresham penalties for terminating commercial leases – business will be denied a license to conduct business at their location for one year following the conclusion of the State of Emergency
      • Gov Brown issued EO 20-18 prohibiting creditors from garnishing CARES Act funds from individuals. 

See our blog about COVID-19 and Force Majeure Clauses in Commercial Leases for guidance on interpreting your lease.  Regardless of whether the force majeure clause has been triggered, or not, we have helped several commercial and residential landlords and tenants renegotiate leases to allow delays or temporary reductions in rent payment that must be paid back eventually (forbearance). 

Whether the property owner can obtain a forbearance in mortgage payments from their lender, depends on the lender.  The property owner should consult their lender and carefully consider whether a forbearance will negatively impact your ability to avoid foreclosure in the future, though.  Contact us if you’d like more information on these considerations.

Mortgages

  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: mortgage relief options
  • CFPB - 4 minute forbearance video
  • Multifamily property owners and renters
    • Fannie Mae is allowing lenders to grant forbearance to multi-family property owners of properties financed by Fannie Mae for up to three months if the property owner/borrower suspends evictions of tenants who face financial hardship due to COVID-19.
    • Freddie Mac is too.
  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) created websites to allow renters to find out if the multifamily property where they reside has a federally-backed mortgage, which means the property is governed by the FHFA eviction ban.
    • Renters are still expected to pay their rent during the eviction moratorium, if they can. Those experiencing financial hardship should reach out to their landlord to discuss their situation and potential solutions.  
    • Fannie Mae's Multifamily Loan Lookup Toolhere
    • Freddie Mac's Multifamily Loan Lookup Tool here​.
    • Renters who need support should reach out to
      • Fannie Mae Helpline at 877-542-9723, if Fannie Mae backs their building's mortgage, or
      • Freddie Mac Helpline at 800-404-3097, if Freddie Mac backs their building's mortgage.  
    • HUD eviction ban letter 2020-04
  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)  are also working together to help homeowners and renters during the coronavirus pandemic.  Learn more about:
  • Also see the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFPB website for advice.
  • Washington State Department of Financial Institutions
  • Oregon Financing Business Resources

Construction

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