Houser LLP is monitoring the developments of COVID-19 to prepare for and handle any issues that impact our clients, firm, colleagues, and families. We have implemented a team of attorneys and legal staff to keep our firm and clients well informed.
Our firm is taking every precaution to flatten the curve and limit the spread of the virus by having attorneys and support staff remotely work from home, while remaining fully operational for our clients.
We are ready to advise clients on how to best approach issues raised by this public health crisis. We will provide updates in real time to address COVID-19 related issues.
This website includes information as it develops at the federal, state and local levels across the country with a focus on the states home to Houser LLP’s employees and offices.
Updated February 3, 2021
Mortgage Applications Increase in Latest MBA Weekly Survey
Mortgage applications increased 8.1 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the
Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending
January 29, 2021.
The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 8.1 percent on
a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 10
percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 11 percent from the previous
week and was 59 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase
Index increased 0.1 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 8 percent
compared with the previous week and was 16 percent higher than the same week one year ago.
Updated: February 12, 2021
Share of Mortgage Loans in Forbearance Remains Unchanged at 5.38 Percent
The Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) latest Forbearance and Call Volume Survey revealed that the
total number of loans now in forbearance remained unchanged relative to the prior week at 5.38% of
servicers' portfolio volume as of January 24, 2021. According to MBA's estimate, 2.7 million
homeowners are in forbearance plans.
The share of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans in forbearance decreased to 3.10% – a 1-basis-point
improvement. Ginnie Mae loans in forbearance decreased 10 basis points to 7.51%, while the
forbearance share for portfolio loans and private-label securities (PLS) increased by 22 basis points to
9.16%. The percentage of loans in forbearance for independent mortgage bank (IMB) servicers
decreased 2 basis points to 5.77%, and the percentage of loans in forbearance for depository servicers
increased 1 basis point to 5.37%. https://www.mba.org/2021-press-releases/february/share-of-mortgage-loans-in-forbearance-remains-unchanged-at-538-percent
STATE NEWS (impacting Houser LLP jurisdictions)
Updated: February 3, 2021
- State of Emergency Declared: https://azgovernor.gov/sites/default/files/declaraton_0.pdf
- There has been no impact on the operation of the courts, and attorneys as they are deemed “essential services” so it does not prevent attorneys from continuing to practice.
- Courts remain open, but the Arizona Supreme Court issued an administrative order directing courts to “conduct business in a manner that reduces the risk associated with this public health emergency.”
- The moratorium on jury trials in the Flagstaff Courthouse has been extended until further notice.
- The Arizona Court of Appeals issued an order that all oral arguments will be conducted telephonically.
- Courts in specific counties and municipalities have issued various orders limiting services and operations, and permitted remote appearances. The universal theme is to promote telephonic appearances and reschedule hearings/appearances when possible.
- Maricopa County courts suspend jury trials in civil cases until February 2021, citing COVID-19.
- All non-case related activities in the federal courts have been canceled until further notice.
- A recent order requires anyone filing an eviction action to plead in the complaint whether the property in which defendant resides is or was covered under the CARES Act. The period of March 18, 2020 to December 15, 2020 is excluded from the calculation of the statute of limitations to bring eviction actions.
- Under a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order, beginning on 09/04/20 through 12/31/20, landlords are prohibited from taking any action to evict a residential tenant for nonpayment of rent if the tenant qualifies to provide a “Declaration”.
- General Order 20-6 was signed and entered on April 21, 2020 in regards to Amended Bankruptcy Rule 1020 and can be found here: http://www.azb.uscourts.gov/news/general-order-20-6-entered-regarding-amended-interim-bankruptcy-rule-1020
Updated: January 29, 2021
- State of Emergency Declared: https://www.gov.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/3.4.20-Coronavirus-SOE-Proclamation.pdf
- All Intake areas of the United States Bankruptcy Court are open to accept in-person filings. See link https://www.cacb.uscourts.gov/sites/cacb/files/documents/general-orders/GO%2020-04.pdf for further details.
- California Bankruptcy Courts have implemented new e-filing events for filing notices of mortgage forbearance under the CARES Act. Parties may electronically file notices of mortgage forbearance for any existing claims or hearings.
- Federal Central District civil and bankruptcy matters will be heard electronically through telephonic or videoconferencing systems. All civil jury trials are suspended indefinitely.
- Federal Eastern District and Eastern District Bankruptcy Courts are closed to the public indefinitely. All civil matters will be decided on the papers. Any necessary hearings will be heard telephonically.
- Northern Federal District and Northern District Bankruptcy Courts are closed to the public. Any necessary hearings will be heard telephonically. Judges are permitted to conduct bench trials via videoconference.
- Federal Southern District and Southern District Bankruptcy Courts will remain open. Individual judges are granted discretion to conduct hearings and are encouraged to conduct hearings telephonically.
- Los Angeles County State Courts are open for all matters. Parties and counsel are strongly encouraged to appear remotely for hearings. Civil jury trials will be delayed until January 2021.
- Orange County State Courts are open for all matters. All hearings will be conducted remotely unless specifically ordered otherwise by the court. All civil jury trials through September 8, 2020 are continued unless the parties can show good cause for commencing the trial.
- Parties in the Federal Southern District are excused from making personal appearances in court for civil hearings unless ordered to appear. Individual judges retain discretion to conduct hearings telephonically or continue hearings.
- In response to the Region 15 United States Trustee’s (“UST’s”) Notice RE: Section 341 Meeting of Creditors continuing all § 341 meetings, and the UST’s request that certain deadlines contained in the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (“Rules”) and 11 U.S.C. § 1308 be temporarily extended to accommodate logistical challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The guidelines previously issued have been amended to reflect changing conditions as the court gains experience with mandatory telephonic hearings.
- California has reached an agreement with Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, and nearly 200 state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers to address financial hardships incurred as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. California residential homeowners may be eligible for:
- 90-day mortgage forbearance;
- 90-day waiver of late fees and other fees;
- 60-day moratorium on foreclosures and evictions; and
- Relief from derogatory credit reporting.
- Additional information is available at:
- California’s Governor “requested” that all “financial institutions” voluntarily hold off on foreclosing or evicting those impacted by the COVID-19 threat. The request appears to only apply “when the foreclosure or foreclosure-related eviction arises out of a substantial decrease in household or business income or substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses, which were caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or by any local state or federal government response to COVID-19.” https://wclp.org/joint-statement-on-governor-newsoms-march-16th-executive-order-regarding-covid-19-and-housing/
- Assembly Bill 3088: Tenants who pay at least 25% of their rent from September 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021 will be protected from eviction, those who fail to meet the minimum rent payment could be removed beginning February 1, 2021.
- There are 58 counties in California State Courts. Please refer to the following link for the dates and restrictions on each county or please contact our COVID-19 team. https://newsroom.courts.ca.gov/news/court-emergency-orders-6794321
- California Supreme Court and Appellate Courts have indefinitely suspended all in-person oral arguments. All oral arguments will be conducted via telephonic or videoconference. All electronic filings are permitted.
- Courts may not issue summons, enter default, or set trial for unlawful detainer actions unless it is necessary to protect public health and safety until 90-days after the Governor has lifted the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- On September 28, 2020 Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1561, which extends “by 18 months the period for the expiration, effectuation, or utilization of a housing entitlement” that was in effect on March 4, 2020 and will expire prior to December 31, 2021. In its findings, the Legislature explained that the law was a necessary response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the consequent economic recession, and the effect of both on the State’s housing affordability crisis. The Legislature anticipates significant impacts to local agencies’ planning processes and project approvals. Additional information here: https://www.buchalter.com/publication/buchalter-covid-19-client-alert-california-extends-validity-of-housing-entitlements-during-the-covid-19-crisis/
Updated: February 4, 2021
- State of Emergency Declared: https://portal.ct.gov/Office-of-the-Governor/News/Press-Releases/2020/03-2020/Governor-Lamont-Submits-Request-for-Presidential-Major-Disaster-Declaration.
- Mortgage foreclosure actions filed on or after September 24, 2020 must be accompanied by a Federal Mortgage Foreclosure Moratorium within 14 days of filing of a complaint, motion for judgment, or a motion to approve sale.
- Short calendar for arguable matters will resume as of 12/7/20 for property/foreclosure.
- The Judicial Branch has resumed some court operations at Geographical Area No. 2 courthouse, Community Court and Housing Sessions courthouse, Judicial District at Meriden Norwich, Hartford and Tolland courthouses.
- Appellate and Supreme Court: Appellant briefs can be electronically filed but paper filings are suspended.
- Federal Courts: All in person appearances are continued.
- Executive Order No. 9T extends the eviction moratorium until February 9, 2021.
- All Jury trials are continued.
- Parties are permitted to electronically file documents in state, appellate and district courts.
Updated: February 3, 2021
- The trial court will continue to significantly reduce in-person court operations through April 5th based on medical advice and analysis of COVID-19 infection data to safeguard health and safety of the public and court staff.
- All summary process cases will be scheduled generally based on the order in which they were filed (i.e., by docket number). Each division shall have the discretion to group cases in a manner that will promote efficiency, as determined by the Clerk-Magistrate, in consultation with the First Justice.
∙ The court shall allow (1) motions to vacate a dismissal for failure to appear; and (2) motions to vacate a default judgment entered in a summary process case between March 1, 2020, and through the expiration of the eviction moratorium under Chapter 65 of the Acts of 2020.
∙ Consistent with Housing Court Standing Order 1-20, all attorneys shall continue to eFile in summary process cases. While not mandatory for self-represented litigants, they are encouraged to eFile.
∙ Answers in pending and new summary process cases shall be due no later than three (3) business days before the date of the first-tier court event. An Answer that is filed in accordance with this Order shall be deemed timely, including in a pending case. An Answer that is not filed in accordance with this Order shall be left to judicial discretion and determination.
∙ On December 31, 2020, Governor Baker signed Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2020, “An Act Providing for Eviction Protections During the COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency.”
o In light of that new law, the Housing Court updated its First Amended Standing Order 6-20.
o As set forth in that order, beginning on January 25, 2021, a plaintiff (e.g., the landlord) filing a summary process case for nonpayment of rent must include the court-developed “Affidavit of Compliance with Section 1(a) of Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2020.”
– The Housing Court will not accept filings in summary process (eviction) cases for nonpayment of rent without proof of delivery of the attestation form.
o In addition, under the Housing Court’s First Amended Standing Order 6-20, a plaintiff (e.g., the landlord) must file the court-developed “First Amended Plaintiff’s Affidavit Concerning CDC Order” with any request or motion for the issuance of an execution (the court order that allows a landlord to evict a tenant) in a summary process action that includes a claim for nonpayment of rent.
o The landlord is required to state, under oath, whether the landlord has received a declaration form from a tenant seeking protection under the CDC Order.
∙ New summary process cases
o For new summary process cases, plaintiffs shall not provide a trial date on the summary process summons and complaint (“S&C”), but rather should indicate on the S&C that the trial date is “to be determined by the court” or “TBD by the court.”
o Upon the filing of a new summary process case, the Clerk’s Office shall send all parties (1) a written notice of court event, informing the parties that the case has been scheduled for a date certain, along with the manner and method by which the case will be heard (e.g., by videoconference); and (2) an information sheet setting forth a list of resources that may be available to assist the parties in resolving their case.6
o New summary process cases shall be handled in the same two-tier process, outlined above, as the pending cases.
o Just as with the pending cases, the Judge, Clerk-Magistrate, and Chief Housing Specialist, respectively, have discretion to designate the type of event that will be held in new cases (e.g., by videoconference).
- In Massachusetts, there is currently no state foreclosure or eviction moratorium in place after the previous moratorium expired on October 17, 2020. However, the federal moratorium established by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) is in effect in Massachusetts through March 31, 2021, with regard to evictions for non-payment of rent for qualified tenants who submit a written declaration to their landlord.
- The CDC moratorium does not apply to commercial properties, foreclosures on a home mortgage, and eviction cases where, for example, a landlord alleges a tenant or occupant (1) engaged in criminal activity on the premises; (2) threatened the health or safety of other residents; (3) damaged or poses an immediate and significant risk of damage to property; (4) violated any applicable building, health, or similar code or regulation concerning health and safety; or (5) violated any other lease or contractual obligation, other than the payment of rent.
- The CDC moratorium also does not relieve any individual of any obligation to pay rent, make a housing payment, or comply with any other obligation that the individual may have under a tenancy, lease, or similar contract.
- If the eviction falls under the CDC moratorium, courts will accept filings and process cases, and may enter judgments, but will not issue an order of execution (the court order that allows a landlord to evict a tenant) until after the expiration of the CDC moratorium.
Updated: February 3, 2021
- State of Emergency Declared: https://www.leg.state.mn.us/archive/execorders/20-01.pdf
- The federal courts have the following changes: (1) The Federal courts in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth and Fergus Falls are closed to the public but are open for assistance by telephone, email, and online chat; and (2) All civil jury trials are continued through December 31, 2020.
- For State and Federal, no new, in-person civil jury trials until March 15, 2021; remote civil jury trials may take place remotely with the consent of the parties.
- Requirement for personal service under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(c)(3) or 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1915(d) is suspended.
- The Clerk’s office, the Probation and Pretrial Services Office, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and all other court services will remain open pending further order of the court.
- For Federal, no new civil jury trials will be held before February 1, 2021.
- Minnesota District Court closed the window to the public, but they are accepting electronic filings (and paper filings in a locked drop box in St. Paul). They have also centralized mail at the Minneapolis courthouse.
- Pursuant to Executive Order 20-79, dated July 14, 2020, foreclosure proceedings are allowed to proceed, however it is requested that financial institutions implement a moratorium on evictions when the foreclosure arises out of a substantial decrease in income due to the pandemic.
- Mortgage holders’ ability to recover residential premises via eviction after a foreclosure has been suspended indefinitely absent certain enumerated circumstances like the inhabitant seriously endangers the safety of others or significantly damages the property.
- Check www.mnd.uscourts.gov for the latest news.
Updated: January 29, 2021
- State of Emergency Declared: http://gov.nv.gov/News/Press/2020/Governor_Sisolak_Declares_State_of_Emergency_in_Response_to_COVID-19
- Governor Sisolak issued order on December 14, 2020 extending eviction moratorium to March 2021.
- For the major county courts, generally no in person civil hearings, depositions, meetings or trials which are continued to after January 2021 absent an extraordinary order and/or stipulation by all. In person filings closed and mandatory masks for all when in court.
- The federal court procedures generally remain less restrictive still with remote civil hearing and related appearances with masks otherwise required.
- Federal and state courts are conducting most hearings, settlement conferences, mediations etc. remotely.
- State court hearings are also subject to continuance or may be decided on the papers.
- Smaller counties are conducting proceedings in person or by remote request.
- Depositions are to follow protocol limitations or may be conducted virtually subject to continuances.
- Trials at this time are continued or subject to a hybrid of the above and on a case by case basis.
- Court e-filing remains the primary method with limited in-person filings.
- Nevada has ordered residential evictions for persons providing a hardship declaration for an additional period beginning December 15, 2020 to March 31, 2021 unless otherwise ordered.
- The state has rolled back the residential foreclosure moratorium as of September 1, 2020 so that foreclosures could proceed. However, lenders may not assess late fees for the period of March 30, 2020 through August 31, 2020.
Updated: February 3, 2021
- State of Emergency Declared & Renewed until February 5, 2021: EO 2021-001 – EO 2021-001 – Emergency extended until 02.05.2021 (01.08.2021)
- Courts remain open, but absent exigent circumstances all hearings except for jury trials are to be held telephonically or via video conferencing.
- The state Supreme Court issued an order permitting jury trials in each judicial district pursuant to individualized plans submitted by the chief judge in each district.
- The Supreme Court issued an order requiring plea and settlement agreements no later than five days before the selection of a jury or the start of a non-jury trial before a judge in a criminal or civil case.
- The public can find information about court operations and coronavirus precautionary measures on the website of the New Mexico judicial branch of government (nmcourts.gov) and on websites of each of the state’s 13 district courts.
Updated: February 3, 2021
- State of Emergency Declared: https://nj.gov/infobank/eo/056murphy/pdf/EO-103.pdf
- Some in-person court services have resumed with only a small number of judges and court staff on-site. The rest continue to work remotely to ensure safe distancing can be maintained.
- Pending motions subject to telephonic conferencing/video conferencing.
- Filings still accepted online.
- Nonjury proceedings will be staggered to prevent large crowds.
- Courthouses and court facilities are open only to attorneys, litigants, and members of the public with scheduled proceedings or appointments.
- While the courts are conducting most matters remotely, judges can schedule an in-person proceeding based on the facts and circumstances in any case.
- As many matters as possible (including case management conferences, motions, and hearings) will be handled by telephone or video conference. See https://njcourts.gov/.
- 45 day extension on all filing and discovery deadlines.
- Scheduled conferences controlled by the presiding judge.
- See njb.uscourts.gov for further information on Bankruptcy Courts.
- The eviction moratorium has been extended until 60 days after January 20, 2021, when the current Covid-19 public health emergency is set to expire.
Updated: February 4, 2021
- State of Emergency Declared: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-202-declaring-disaster-emergency-state-new-york
- State courts in New York City begin in-person courthouse operations. For more information see https://www.nycourts.gov/LegacyPDFS/press/pdfs/PR20_23.pdf.
- New actions can be filed in all New York courts as long as they are e-filed.
- Mortgage foreclosure and eviction actions are stayed until 2/27/21
- If a tenant or mortgagor files or otherwise provides a Hardship Declaration to the landlord, mortgagee or their agent, the active proceedings for eviction or mortgage foreclosure against the tenant or mortgagor are stayed until at least May 1, 2021.
- If there is no pending eviction or foreclosure proceeding and the tenant or mortgagor returns the Hardship Declaration to the landlord, mortgagee or their agent, a new action cannot be initiated until at least May 1, 2021. In this case, the statute of limitations will be tolled until May 1, 2021.
- A foreclosing party is now required to include Hardship Declaration with every notice provided to the mortgagor pursuant to Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law (RPAPL) §§ 1303 and 1304 (the RPAPL § 1304 notice is commonly referred to as the “90-Day Notice”). The Hardship Declaration must be provided in 14-point type, and in the mortgagor’s primary language, if other than English. Notably, RPAPL § 1304 contains a requirement that the 90-Day Notice be sent “in a separate envelope from any other mailing or notice.”
- NYSB -Forbearance of Mortgage Debt: Any creditor (mortgage holder or servicer) who provides a temporary suspension of mortgage payments to a debtor in this Court shall file with the Court a Notice of Temporary Forbearance, which is attached as Exhibit A to this Order. Communication by a creditor to a debtor regarding forbearance and any statement that follows during the forbearance period shall not be considered a violation of the automatic stay. A loss mitigation order is not needed for a debtor to enter a forbearance agreement; 3 however, any party that requests a forbearance agreement but is unable to come to a consensual resolution within 14 days of the request may come before the Court, under the Court’s Loss Mitigation Program Procedures, and ask the Court to supervise such request.
- Pending civil and criminal trials will proceed to their conclusion. No new ones will commence.
- Any necessary hearings to be held by video conference or telephone.
- Individual judges will post their own orders regarding civil matters.
- Find updated operating procedures in response to COVID-19 at http://www.nysb.uscourts.gov/general-orders-and-guidance-created-covid-19.
- Any deadlines, hearings and conferences are at the discretion of the presiding judge.
- Civil Litigation Generally: The prosecution of-pending civil matters (including discovery) in a manner that requires in-person appearances or travel, or otherwise requires actions inconsistent with prevailing health and safety directives relating to the coronavirus health emergency, is strongly discouraged.
- Civil Discovery generally: Where a party, attorney or other person is unable to meet discovery or other litigation schedules (including dispositive motion deadlines) for reasons related to the coronavirus health emergency, the parties shall use best efforts to postpone proceedings by agreement and stipulation for a period not to exceed 90 days.
Updated: January 29, 2021
- State of Emergency Declared: https://www.oregon.gov/gov/Documents/executive_orders/eo_20-03.pdf
- Oregon Governor signed two bills passed by the state legislature: House Bill 4202 (Effective and retroactive March 8, 2020 – September 30, 2020, further extendable on order of the Governor before September 1, 2020), concerning defaults and foreclosures on loans, and House Bill 4213 (Effective April 1-September 30, 2020), concerning evictions by landlords.
- This House Bill 4202 statute precludes all judicial and non-judicial foreclosures, regardless of the reason for or length of the default, during the emergency period defined from March 8, 2020 to September 30, 2020. The statute also voids all foreclosure sales that have occurred, forbids execution sales on a previously obtained judgment, forbids entry of judgment and entry of writs of execution on a previously obtained judgment, and requires dismissal of any new foreclosure action filed during the emergency period. The statute also requires lenders follow rules regarding missed payments and requires lenders to give notice to borrowers of their rights under the statute. The statute allows a borrower suffering an ascertainable loss as a result of a lender’s failure to comply to sue the lender, and recover attorney fees in connection with the suit.
- The House Bill 4213 statute impacts landlords with renters who fail to pay rent and other fees related to a rental agreement, and will only impact parties who attempt to evict following foreclosure if those parties have somehow become a landlord.
- Oregon legislation currently restricts evictions based on failure to pay rent, and this restriction has been extended to June 30, 2021. However, the law does not restrict evictions following an execution sale on a judgment of foreclosure.
- Federal Court locations closed to public only, but available by telephone.
- E-filing continues – conventional filings must go in specified drop boxes rather than the filing window.
- Civil bench trials may be scheduled by remote means or in person as deemed appropriate if the Court has sufficient staff and social distancing can be enforced
- All in person hearings/ trials postponed and nothing new will be scheduled during level 3 status.
- Motion hearings are being held remotely and in person, depending on whether Court has sufficient staff and social distancing measures can be enforced.
- Applies to Circuit, Appellate, and Supreme levels.
Updated: February 3, 2021
- State of Emergency Declared: https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-issues-covid-19-emergency-proclamation
- WA lifted the previous Order suspending all in-person jury trials for civil matters.
- On 01/01/2021, Governor Inslee extended the moratorium prohibiting residential and small business evictions in Washington State until April 1, 2021. This includes a prohibition on serving or enforcing any notice requiring a resident to vacate any dwelling.
- Courts have discretion to conduct in-person jury trials while social distancing and adhering to other local county or municipal guidelines.
- All non-jury civil trials are encouraged to be conducted by telephone or remotes means or in person with strict social distancing guidelines.
- All courts have discretion to continue all non-emergency civil matters.
- See the Essential Businesses still operating here: https://coronavirus.wa.gov/whats-open-and-closed/essential-business
- Most counties are continuing in-person hearings as provided here: http://www.courts.wa.gov/index.cfm?fa=home.courtClosures
- King County is no longer accepting service of process in person.
- The Temple of Justice building in Olympia remains closed to the public until further notice.
- After September 8, 2020, individual judges, including bankruptcy judges, may proceed with a very limited number of in-person hearings and bench trials by issuing orders on a case-by-case basis so long as such orders address the above public health concerns.
- See further Western District Court updates here public website
See further Eastern District Court updates here https://www.waed.uscourts.gov/news
WHO TO CONTACT:
For the Latest COVID-19 Updates Check Here:
- CDC Coronavirus Guidance
- OSHA Coronavirus Guidance
The content of this website and the information provided herein are for general information purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice.