ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Despite increases in the COVID positivity rate and hospitalizations, and despite the continuation of Executive 12D, monthly eviction cases are climbing and have already exceeded the total number of filings in 2020. The number of new cases continues to climb even as landlords are being paid for rent accrued during the pandemic.

Tenants report that landlords are collecting funds from UniteCT and then filing new evictions because leases have expired – a basis called “lapse of time.” Court records show that filings for lapse of time have increased by 85% in 2021 compared to the same time period in 2019. This suggests that the federal rental assistance is not meeting its purpose of keeping vulnerable tenants in their homes; instead landlords are being compensated but tenants are still forced to move. As can be seen below, the effects of the pandemic continue to disproportionately harm people of color.

The Center will be ending its pandemic updates on Friday, December 3, 2021 with a look back at the more than 100 updates we sent during this time. Thank you for your attention to the issues we have raised. We may resume these updates if the need arises.

Eviction and foreclosure by the numbers

2021 eviction filings exceed number filed in 2020—From January 1 to December 31, 2020, landlords filed a total of 6,430 summary process eviction cases. Through October 27, 2021, landlords have filed 7,716. In addition, Connecticut courts have already issued more executions in 2021 (2,969) than in all of 2020 (2,193). Once an execution is issued, a marshal can serve the tenant with a notice that they must move out within 24 hours.

Racial and ethnic disparities continue: According to the latest data from the Household Pulse Survey, 57% of Latinx tenants and 41% of Black tenants have little or no confidence in their ability to pay November’s rent compared to 15% of white tenants. More than 50,591 tenants report being behind on the rent. The Household Pulse Survey has now ended.

Similar disparities exist for homeowners. In Connecticut, 61,685 households are not caught up on their mortgage payments. Of those, 8.6% are Black, 11.7% are mixed race, and 4.2% are Latinx compared to 5.4% of white homeowners.

Evictions

Executive Order 12D, which will expire on February 15, 2022, requires landlords to give tenants a 30-day notice before filing an eviction case in court. In addition, the Executive Order includes the following provisions:

  • Landlords must complete an application for the State’s UniteCT rental assistance program prior to delivering a notice to quit for nonpayment of rent. The UniteCT case number must be included on the Notice to Quit;
  • Landlords must give tenants a 30-day Notice to Quit if they intend to evict for nonpayment of rent, for lapse of time, or because the right to occupy a unit has terminated;
  • All Notices to Quit given for any reason must be delivered with a flyer about the State’s UniteCT program in both English and Spanish;
  • Tenants have an opportunity to continue all terms of their rental agreement by paying outstanding rent within the 30-day Notice to Quit period;
  • If during any summary process (eviction) case, a UniteCT application is made, all proceedings in the summary process case must be stopped for 30 days or until a decision is made on the UniteCT application, whichever is earlier. If the UniteCT application is approved, the summary process case must be stopped until the UniteCT payment is made, and the summary process action is withdrawn or dismissed. 

Visit www.CTFairHousing.org/eviction for more information on what steps tenants can take to respond to eviction papers and access EO 12D’s protections.

Update on UniteCT

  • UniteCT has been working with Eversource and United Illuminating to pay the electric arrearages for tenants who have been approved for assistance. UniteCT is in negotiations with some of the smaller electric companies to make similar payments. These are one-time payments and cannot be used for future electrical bills. UniteCT does not pay for gas utilities.
  • Once an application is fully completed by a landlord and a tenant, it takes about 30 days for the landlord to be paid.
  • There is a link the UniteCT website that allows people to get information on the status of their application or to get additional help if the tenant is now facing eviction or has made an error on their application. The link is: https://unitectprescreen.formstack.com/forms/unitect_referral_system 
  • The call center reached at 1-844-864-8328 is only for password resets and finding a tenant resource center. It cannot assist with any problems a landlord or tenant is having filling out an application or uploading documents.

Foreclosures

Ability to request a forbearance extended indefinitely for some homeowners—Homeowners with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac backed mortgage can request a forbearance at any time. Homeowners with FHA and VA mortgages may request a forbearance at least until the end of the COVID-19 national emergency. The ability to request a COVID forbearance of a USDA mortgage ended on September 30, 2021, but other options may be available.

A recent report shows that as many as 400,000 homeowners around the country will reach the end of their forbearance eligibility which will allow lenders and loan servicers to request that homeowners begin to pay their mortgage once again. Currently an estimated 1.71 million borrowers are in forbearance with unpaid balances of approximately $331 billion.

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

A new report released by Public Policy Polling out of North Carolina reveals that 52% of Connecticut residents believe that Connecticut’s racial and socio-economic divide is contributing to Connecticut’s economic challenges. The signs of the economic challenges caused by Connecticut’s racial and socio-economic segregation are everywhere. Homeowners and wealth among people who are Black are at a historic 50-year lows with just over 40% of Blacks owning their homes compared to 76% of whites. In addition, only 7,500 tenants who are white report being behind on the rent compared to 43,000 tenants of color.

Connecticut residents are not the only ones recognizing the negative impact of racial and economic segregation. In 2020, the American Medical Association officially recognized the connection between segregation and health when it committed to opposing policies that enable racial housing segregation and to advocating for continued federal funding of publicly-accessible data on community racial, economic, and health disparities to help communities understand and address this issue.

The Connecticut Fair Housing Center and our partners will be presenting information on the extent of segregation in Connecticut as well as ways to combat the economic drain it is causing. Please join us at the Connecticut Affordable Housing Conference when we will present: “Does the Road to Integration Run Through Your Town?” on November 15 at 11:30 – 12:30; “Tenants’ Right to Legal Counsel in Eviction” on November 15 at 2:00 – 3:00; and, “Addressing the Racial Wealth Gap Through a More Equitable Homebuying System” on November 17 at 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

The Center’s next bi-weekly update will be published on Friday, November 12, 2021.

By the numbers

Evictions

Foreclosures

UniteCT bus schedule

UniteCT Update

Eviction and foreclosure by the numbers

2021 eviction filings exceed number filed in 2020—From January 1 to December 31, 2020, landlords filed a total of 6,430 summary process eviction cases. Through October 27, 2021, landlords have filed 6,894. In addition, Connecticut courts have already issued more executions in 2021 (2,744) than in all of 2020 (2,193). Once an execution is issued, a marshal can serve the tenant with a notice that they must move out within 24 hours.

Racial and ethnic disparities continue: According to the latest data from the Household Pulse Survey, 57% of Latinx tenants and 41% of Black tenants have little or no confidence in their ability to pay November’s rent compared to 15% of white tenants. More than 50,591 tenants report being behind on the rent.

For homeowners, 61,685 are not caught up on their mortgage payments. Of those, 8.6% are Black, 11.7% are mixed race, and 4.2% are Latinx compared to 5.4% of white homeowners.

Evictions

Executive Order 12D, which will expire on February 15, 2022, requires landlords to give tenants a 30-day notice before filing an eviction case in court. In addition, the Executive Order includes the following provisions:

  • Landlords must complete an application for the State’s UniteCT rental assistance program prior to delivering a notice to quit for nonpayment of rent. The UniteCT case number must be included on the Notice to Quit;
  • Landlords must give tenants a 30-day Notice to Quit if they intend to evict for nonpayment of rent, for lapse of time, or because the right to occupy a unit has terminated;
  • All Notices to Quit given for any reason must be delivered with a flyer about the State’s UniteCT program in both English and Spanish;
  • Tenants have an opportunity to continue all terms of their rental agreement by paying outstanding rent within the 30-day Notice to Quit period;
  • If during any summary process (eviction) case, a UniteCT application is made, all proceedings in the summary process case must be stopped for 30 days or until a decision is made on the UniteCT application, whichever is earlier. If the UniteCT application is approved, the summary process case must be stopped until the UniteCT payment is made, and the summary process action is withdrawn or dismissed. 

Visit www.CTFairHousing.org/eviction for more information on what steps tenants can take to respond to eviction papers and access EO 12D’s protections.

Update on UniteCT

  • UniteCT has been working with Eversource and United Illuminating to pay the electric arrearages for tenants who have been approved for assistance. UniteCT is in negotiations with some of the smaller electric companies to make similar payments. These are one-time payments and cannot be used for future electrical bills. UniteCT does not pay for gas utilities.
  • Once an application is fully completed by a landlord and a tenant, it takes about 30 days for the landlord to be paid.
  • There is a program on the UniteCT website that allows people to get information on the status of their application or to get additional help if the tenant is now facing eviction or has made an error on their application. The link is: https://unitectprescreen.formstack.com/forms/unitect_referral_system 
  • The call center reached at 1-844-864-8328 is only for password resets and finding a tenant resource center. It cannot assist with any problems a landlord or tenant is having filling out an application or uploading documents.

UniteCT Tech bus schedule

The UniteCT bus will not be functioning after November 22, 2021. It will be up and running again when the weather gets better in the spring of 2022.

Hamden

Date:                 October 31, 1pm – 4pm

Address:           Mt. Calvary Revival Center, 450 West Todd Street, Hamden, CT
Contact:           Nicqueva, Nicqueva7@gmail.com, 203-785-1253

Hartford

Date:                 November 1, 10am – 3pm

Address:          The Artists Collective, 1200 Albany Avenue, Hartford
Contact:           Janice Castle, Janice.Castle@hartford.gov, 860-757-9525

Westbrook

Date:                 November 4, 10am – 3pm

Address:           Westbrook Town Hall, 866 Boston Post Road, Westbrook
Contact:          
Elizabeth Carpenter, ecarpenter@westbrookct.us, 860- 399-3090

Greenwich

Date:                 November 5, 10am – 3pm

Address:          101 Field Point Road, Greenwich, CT
Contact:           Demetria Nelson, Demetria.Nelson@greenwichct.org, 203-622-7782

Wallingford

Date:                 November 9, 10am – 3pm

Address:          Wallingford Public Library, 200 North Main Street, Wallingford, CT
Contact:           Leah Farrell, lfarrell@wallingfordlibrary.org, 203-284-6425

Waterbury

Date:                 November 17, 10am – 3pm

Address:          Grace Baptist Church, 65 Kingsbury St., Waterbury, CT 
Contact:           Fernando Cerdena, fcerdena@nhswaterbury.org, 475-441-0490

Foreclosures

Ability to request a forbearance extended indefinitely for some homeowners—Homeowners with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac backed mortgage can request a forbearance at any time. Homeowners with FHA and VA mortgages may request a forbearance at least until the end of the COVID-19 national emergency. The ability to request a COVID forbearance of a USDA mortgage ended on September 30, 2021, but other options may be available.

A recent report shows that as many as 400,000 homeowners around the country will reach the end of their forbearance eligibility which will allow lenders and loan servicers to request that homeowners begin to pay their mortgage once again. Currently an estimated 1.71 million borrowers are in forbearance with unpaid balances of approximately $331 billion.

DISCRIMINATORY ACTIONS BY TOWN OFFICIALS WILL COST CROMWELL $5 MILLON

On Friday, October 15, 2021, a federal jury found the town of Cromwell liable for the discriminatory behavior that forced the closure of a home for adults with disabilities in 2015. The jury awarded the group home provider, Gilead Community Services, $5 million in punitive damages and $181,000 in compensatory damages, sending a clear message to town officials that their actions violated federal civil rights laws.

In 2015, Gilead Community Services purchased a single-family home on Reiman Drive in Cromwell to serve as a community-based residence for six men with mental health disabilities. In response to the purchase, city officials in Cromwell staged a battle against Gilead and their clients through a series of overtly discriminatory actions making it clear that individuals with disabilities were not welcome.

Cromwell officials began their public attack during a forum about Gilead’s planned operations for 5 Reiman Drive, which gave town residents the opportunity to spew hatred and discrimination. The next day, Cromwell issued a press release asking Gilead to relocate the home. Then Cromwell petitioned the Department of Public Health to deny Gilead the ability to operate. When these strategies were unsuccessful, Cromwell wrongly issued a cease-and-desist order and refused to grant Gilead tax-exempt status as it had in the past. The actions of the Town of Cromwell caused Gilead to close the home.

“However, the true victims, the six men who only wanted housing free from discrimination, will likely never return to Cromwell, and now live with the understanding that because of their disabilities they are not welcome in all communities.”

Erin kemple, Executive Director for the Connecticut Fair Housing Center

“By making such a large punitive damages award, the jury recognized and rejected the intentional, illegal acts of town officials. I hope this serves as a message to other municipalities that they cannot refuse to allow people with disabilities to move into their communities,” said Erin Kemple, Executive Director of the Connecticut Fair Housing Center, one of the co-plaintiffs in the case. “However, the true victims, the six men who only wanted housing free from discrimination, will likely never return to Cromwell, and now live with the understanding that because of their disabilities they are not welcome in all communities.”

In 2017, the Connecticut Fair Housing Center and Gilead Community Services, represented by Washington, D.C. firm Relman Colfax, filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Town of Cromwell. The case claimed that the intentional discriminatory actions of town officials in Cromwell violated the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

This week, Connecticut’s House of Representatives and Senate extended Governor Lamont’s emergency powers through February 15, 2022. Governor Lamont then used his emergency powers to extend E.O. 12D—which requires landlords to complete an application for UniteCT before starting an eviction case for nonpayment, give a 30-day notice to quit for most types of evictions, and in other ways protects tenants from immediate eviction—through February 15, 2022.

The extension of E.O. 12D will keep some tenants in their housing while their landlords get paid. However, with 1,046 filings so far, September 2021 now has the highest number of residential eviction filings since March 2020 (March 2020 had 1,249 and February 2020 had 1,469). In addition, some landlords are avoiding the E.O. 12D requirement that they must apply for UniteCT before bringing a case for nonpayment by instead bringing cases for “lapse of time” (the term of the lease has ended).

These filing numbers do not include the people losing their homes to foreclosure. As the end nears for mortgage deferrals that were put in place in early 2020, thousands of homeowners in Connecticut are facing a multi-thousand dollar bill as paused mortgage payments come due. The concern for Connecticut is greater than elsewhere because, for years leading up to the pandemic, the state’s 90-day delinquency rate, the percent of consumers in Connecticut with mortgages 90 days or more past due, was the second-worst in the country and roughly double the national average, according to an analysis of data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The pandemic has made visible what used to be invisible to all but a few people. Families are losing their homes. The fact that they are not losing their homes in historically large numbers is not something to celebrate. Our communities are at risk and the number of people who will be with housing and in homeless shelters will grow. The extension of E.O. 12D, the UniteCT program, the opening of the Homeowners Assistance Fund, and the continued availability of mortgage forbearances is not enough. Landlords, mortgage servicers, and others involved in providing housing must recognize the crisis Connecticut residents face and be part of the solution.

Call to action

Cross Cultural Symposium

Eviction and foreclosure numbers

EO 12D explanation

Foreclosures

Utilities

Sign up to receive this bi-weekly update—The Center’s weekly update has been on hiatus while Center staff worked on other projects. This update will now be published every two weeks with the next issue coming out on Friday, October 15, 2021.

Eviction and foreclosure by the numbers

2021 eviction filings exceed number filed in 2020—From January 1 to  September 30, 2020, landlords filed a total of 5,106 summary process eviction cases. To date, in 2021, landlords have filed 6,045. In addition, Connecticut courts have already issued more executions in 2021 (2,455) than in all of 2020 (2,196). Once an execution is issued, a marshal can serve the tenant with a notice that they must move out within 24 hours.

Racial and ethnic disparities continue: According to the latest data from the Household Pulse Survey, 38% of Latinx renters, 44% of Asian renters, and 66% of people of two or more races are not caught up on rent compared to 1% of white renters. In addition, 44% of Latinx renters and 92% of renters of two or more races have little or no confidence in their ability to pay rent next month compared to 24% of white renters.

For homeowners, 21% of Latinx homeowners and 25% of Black homeowners are not caught up on their mortgage payments compared to 5% of white homeowners. In addition, 12% of Latinx homeowners and 50% of Black homeowners have little or no confidence in their ability to pay their mortgage next month compared to 5% of white homeowners.

What does EO 12D do:

E.O. 12D which will expire on February 15, 2022 includes the following provisions:

  • Landlords must complete an application for the State’s UniteCT rental assistance program prior to delivering a notice to quit for nonpayment of rent. The UniteCT case number must be included on the Notice to Quit;
  • Landlords must give tenants a 30-day Notice to Quit if they intend to evict for nonpayment of rent, for lapse of time, or because the right to occupy a unit has terminated;
  • All Notices to Quit given for any reason must be delivered with a flyer about the State’s UniteCT program in both English and Spanish;
  • Tenants have an opportunity to continue all terms of their rental agreement by paying outstanding rent within the 30-day Notice to Quit period;
  • If during any summary process (eviction) case, a UniteCT application is made, all proceedings in the summary process case must be stopped for 30 days or until a decision is made on the UniteCT application, whichever is earlier. If the UniteCT application is approved, the summary process case must be stopped until the UniteCT payment is made, and the summary process action is withdrawn or dismissed. 

Visit www.CTFairHousing.org/eviction for more information on what steps tenants can take to respond to eviction papers and access EO12D’s protections.

Call to action: Extension of E.O. 12D is a good beginning. However, the Center calls on the Governor, municipalities, the Connecticut Attorney General, the Judicial Branch, and housing authorities to do the following:

  • Executive Order 12D must be modified to include the following improvements . The order must:
  • Require all landlords with pending eviction cases to apply for UniteCT funds for any rental arrearage and withdraw the case if the application is approved;
    • Automatically stay eviction cases and executions if a tenant or landlord applies for UniteCT (rather than waiting for the UniteCT applicant to affirmatively request a stay);
    • Stay eviction cases and executions until the UniteCT application is fully processed and any payment is made (rather than a maximum of 30 days);
    • Extend General Statutes Sec. 47a-23c’s prohibition on evictions except for good cause to all tenants for the duration of the executive order.
  • The Connecticut Attorney General must clarify that a refusal to accept UniteCT is unlawful source of income discrimination and that failure to submit a complete UniteCT application prior to starting an eviction case for non-payment is also in violation of the EO; 
  • The CT Judicial Branch must hold a hearing before an execution issues for any case other than serious nuisance can issue. This is a last check to see if the tenant might qualify for UniteCT and avoid losing their home.
  • Municipalities should mandate that all landlords operating in the town/city must participate in and accept UniteCT money, and state that a refusal to do so is unlawful source of income discrimination and that failure to submit a complete UniteCT application prior to starting an eviction case is also in violation of the EO. 
  • Housing Authorities must stay all evictions and executions. 

Foreclosures

There are no moratoriums in place for foreclosures. This means that any mortgage lender can file a foreclosure unless the homeowner is in forbearance.

Ability to request a forbearance extended indefinitely for some homeowners—Homeowners with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac backed mortgage can request a forbearance at any time. Homeowners with FHA and VA mortgages may request a forbearance at least until the end of the COVID-19 national emergency. The ability to request a COVID forbearance of a USDA mortgage ended on September 30, 2021, but other options may be available.

A recent report shows that as many as 400,000 homeowners around the country will reach the end of their forbearance eligibility which will allow lenders and loan servicers to request that homeowners begin to pay their mortgage once again. Currently an estimated 1.71 million borrowers are in forbearance with unpaid balances of approximately $331 billion.

Utilities

Shutoff moratorium ending for some utility customers — At 18-month moratorium that stopped gas, electric, and water shutoffs for nonpayment ended on September 15, 2021. However, service will not be shutoff if the customer has a financial hardship. To notify Eversource about a financial hardship and to request help, call 800-286-2828 (electric) or 800-438-2278 or go to www.eversource.com.  To notify Connecticut Natural Gas about a financial hardship, call 860-727-3555. To apply for assistance to pay your utilities, go to https://portal.ct.gov/DSS/Economic-Security/Winter-Heating-Assistance/Energy-Assistance—Winter-Heating/Apply to find the nearest agency who can assist you.

Data with Dignity: People Behind the Numbers:  This year’s Cross-Cultural Communications Symposium will examine the role data play in determining which communities get services, how race and culture concerns can be subjugated by numbers, how racial policies that have existed for decades are often rooted in analytical prejudice and bias, and why the analyses of data is often unexamined. We will also look at how vulnerable communities are further marginalized by a lack of access to culturally appropriate health, safety, and accessibility information. The event is being held in-person on October 22, 2021 from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. Masks are required as well as proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours of attendance.

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The eviction tsunami is on the horizon. The holiday-shortened week of September 7, 2021 saw 246 new residential evictions filed, more than at any time since the week of March 16, 2020 (264 filings) – and filings this week are on pace to eclipse that number. These figures, which approach pre-pandemic filing rates, call into question the sufficiency of the protections currently in place, and illustrate that the expirations of state and federal eviction moratoria are leaving renters out to dry. 

The Connecticut Fair Housing Center calls on Governor Lamont and lawmakers to take immediate action to stop the worsening eviction crisis.

Call to action

Eviction and foreclosure numbers

Evictions

Foreclosures

More Center work

Utilities

Sign up to receive this bi-weekly update—This update will now be published every two weeks with the next issue coming out on Friday, October 1, 2021.

Eviction and foreclosure by the numbers

2021 eviction filings exceed number filed in 2020—By September 30, 2020, landlords filed a total of 5,106 eviction cases. To date in 2021, landlords have filed 5,559 cases. In addition, the courts have issued 2,319 executions so far in 2021 compared to 2,198 issued during all of 2020. Once an execution is issued, a marshal may physically remove the tenant and their belongings after providing 24 hours’ notice.

Racial and ethnic disparities continue: According to the latest data from the Household Pulse Survey, 28% of Latinx renters and 41% of Asian renters are not caught up on rent compared to only 6.5% of white renters who report not being caught up on rent. The survey also reports that 40% of Latinx renters and 32% of Black renters have little or no confidence in their ability to pay rent next month compared to 11% of white renters.

Homeowners are still reporting being behind on their mortgage. The survey reports that 17.8% of Latinx homeowners and 17.2% of Black homeowners are not caught up on their mortgage payments compared to 2% of white homeowners.

Evictions:

Connecticut Executive Orders

Connecticut’s Eviction Moratorium expired June 30, 2021. However, Governor Lamont has issued E.O. 12D, which was extended to September 30, 2021 by E.O. 13, and includes the following provisions:

  • Landlords must complete an application for the State’s UniteCT rental assistance program prior to delivering a notice to quit for nonpayment of rent. The UniteCT case number must be included on the Notice to Quit;
  • Landlords must give tenants a 30-day Notice to Quit if they intend to evict for nonpayment of rent, for lapse of time, or because the right to occupy a unit has terminated;
  • All Notices to Quit given for any reason must be delivered with information about the State’s UniteCT program and the federal CDC eviction moratorium in both English and Spanish;
  • Tenants have an opportunity to continue all terms of their rental agreement by paying outstanding rent within the 30-day Notice to Quit period;
  • If during any summary process (eviction) case, a UniteCT application is made, all proceedings in the summary process case must be stopped for 30 days or until a decision is made on the UniteCT application, whichever is earlier. If the UniteCT application is approved, the summary process case must be stopped until the UniteCT payment is made, and the summary process action is withdrawn or dismissed. 

To implement E.O. 12D, the Judicial Branch has instructed its Housing Court Clerks to review all residential non-payment notices to quit served between July 1, 2021, and September 30, 2021:

  • For the required UniteCT case number. Cases with defective notices to quit will be referred to the housing judge for dismissal or other action the judge deems appropriate;
  • To ensure that any notice has a quit date at least 30 days from the service date unless the notice is solely for serious nuisance;
  • To ensure that the notices were delivered with an English and a Spanish copy of the State of Connecticut’s UniteCT Flyer.

In addition, the Housing Court Clerks have been told:

  • If they are notified of a pending UniteCT application prior to a summary process execution issuing, to ask the notifying party(s) to submit a written notification of the UniteCT application to the court for the judge’s review and entry of an order staying the proceedings. Clerks will not stop the application for an execution if the case is based solely on serious nuisance.
  • If an execution has already issued, the clerk is to notify the parties that if the tenant wants to stop the move out based on a UniteCT application, the tenant must present at an application for temporary injunction (audita querela) to the court.

Call to action:

  • The Connecticut Legislature must come into emergency session to extend the Governor’s emergency authority with regard to evictions. According to the latest Household Pulse Survey, 45,000 Connecticut residents were not caught up on rent as of August 16, 2021 while 157,000 had little or no confidence in their ability to pay rent next month. Of the 45,000 not caught up on rent, 36,000 had not yet applied for rental assistance. Executive Order 12D has resulted in an increase in the numbers of landlords and tenants applying for UniteCT. However, the pace of eviction case filings is rising and tenants are being removed from their homes for not paying rent when over $338 million dollars of UniteCT assistance has not yet been spent. 
  • Governor Lamont must extend and improve Executive Order 12D . The order must: 
  • Require all landlords to apply for UniteCT and receive a denial before serving a Notice to Quit for nonpayment of rent; 
  • Require that all Notices to Quit for nonpayment of rent, lapse of time, and no right or privilege provide at least 60 days to quit possession and 60 days to cure any nonpayment of rent; 
  • Require all landlords with pending eviction cases for nonpayment of rent to apply for UniteCT (which includes submitting all required documentation and withdrawing the case upon receipt of UniteCT assistance) before an execution will issue; 
  • Automatically stay eviction cases when a UniteCT application is made and until a payment is made or the application is denied; 
  • Clarify that LLs must participate in or accept UniteCT, and that a refusal to do so is illegal discrimination based against a lawful source of income and that failure to submit a complete UniteCT application prior to starting an eviction case is also in violation of the EO;  
  • Remain in effect for the duration of the pandemic. 

The CT Judicial Branch must require courts to hold a hearing before an execution issues for any eviction case other than serious nuisance. This is a critical last check to see if a UniteCT application has been submitted and if the landlord has received UniteCT assistance. Since the end of the federal CDC moratorium, the Branch has stopped requiring courts to hold such automatic hearings before allowing executions to issue. 

Foreclosures

There are no moratoria in place for foreclosures. This means that any mortgage lender can file a foreclosure unless the homeowner is in forbearance. It also means that, as has been the case throughout the pandemic, municipalities, condo associations, and tax lien purchasers can pursue foreclosure actions.

Ability to request a forbearance ends September 30, 2021 for some homeowners—Homeowners with FHA, VA, or USDA have until September 30, 2021 to request a forbearance if they are having difficulties paying their mortgage. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have not yet announced a deadline to request a forbearance.

A recent report shows that as many as 400,000 homeowners around the country will reach the end of their forbearance eligibility this month. This means lenders and loan servicers will be able to proceed with foreclosure if they do not offer a workout to these homeowners. Currently an estimated 1.71 million borrowers are in forbearance.

Utilities

Shutoff moratorium ending for some utility customers—At 18-month moratorium that stopped gas, electric, and water shutoffs for nonpayment ended on September 15, 2021. However, service will not be shutoff if the customer has a financial hardship. To notify Eversource about a financial hardship and to request help, call 800-286-2828 (electric) or 800-438-2278 or go to www.eversource.com.  To notify Connecticut Natural Gas about a financial hardship, call 860-727-3555. To apply for assistance to pay your utilities, go to https://portal.ct.gov/DSS/Economic-Security/Winter-Heating-Assistance/Energy-Assistance—Winter-Heating/Apply to find the nearest agency who can assist you.

For more information about the work of the Center

On September 20, 2021 Executive Director, Erin Kemple, will be speaking at the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s weekly discussion about how to advance long-term solutions to end the housing crisis and achieve housing justice. Erin will be discussing the fair housing implications of the eviction crisis and the Center’s work assisting tenants during the pandemic.

Call to Action: Stop Evictions

The Supreme Court has ended the CDC’s eviction moratorium. All levels of government must take immediate action to stop evictions and improve the distribution of rental assistance (and we must continue to organize tenants to take collective action to stop evictions, permanently).  

  1. Tell the state to stop evictions. 
  • Contact
  • Government Lamont must issue an executive order staying all evictions and new eviction filings until the Right to Counsel for Tenants program goes into effect, and his emergency authority should be extended to facilitate this.
  • Government Lamont’s existing executive order requiring landlords to apply for UniteCT before filing evictions and temporarily staying evictions when a UniteCT application is made must be improved, extended for the duration of the pandemic, and continue to remain in effect once the Right to Counsel for Tenants program begins. The order must:
    • Require all landlords with pending eviction cases to apply for UniteCT (which means accepting the funds and withdrawing the case if the application is approved);
    • Automatically stay eviction cases and executions if a tenant or landlord applies for UniteCT;
    • Stay eviction cases and executions until the UniteCT application is fully processed and any payment is made;
    • Clarify that LLs must participate in or accept UniteCT, and that a refusal to do so is unlawful source of income discrimination and that failure to submit a complete UniteCT application prior to starting an eviction case is also in violation of the EO; 
    • Require landlords and UniteCT to notify the court when UniteCT funds have been issued to the landlord so that the court can automatically dismiss the case;
    • Missed rental payments or evictions during the pandemic or caused by the pandemic cannot be used as a basis to deny rental housing or reported to tenant screening companies, credit reporting agencies, or future landlords.
  • The CT Judicial Branch must automatically stay all executions and ejectments for the duration of the public health emergency, as it did through August of 2020.
  1. Tell Congress to pass an eviction moratorium. 
  • Contact your congressional representatives:
    • Senator Murphy, (860) 549-8463
    • Senator Blumenthal, 860.258.6940
    • Your representative:
      • Rep. Larson, 860.278.8888
      • Rep. Courtney, 860.886.0139
      • Rep. DeLauro, 203.562.3718
      • Rep. Himes, 866.453.0028
      • Rep. Hayes, 860.223.8412
  • Congress must immediately pass a moratorium on all evictions for the duration of the pandemic, regardless of the reason for eviction.
    • The moratorium must be automatic, and require no documentation or declaration from tenants
    • It must mandate that no new evictions may be filed, evictions in progress must be stayed, and executions must be stayed. 
  1. Ask municipal officials to take action to protect tenants from eviction.
  • Ask city councilors and the mayor to mandate that all landlords operating in the town/city participate in and accept UniteCT money, and to state that a refusal to do so is unlawful source of income discrimination and that failure to submit a complete UniteCT application prior to starting an eviction case is also in violation of the EO. 

Ask the local housing authority to stay all evictions and executions for the duration of the pandemic.

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

We are hiring! The Connecticut Fair Housing Center is hiring a staff attorney to join our team:  https://www.ctfairhousing.org/career-opportunities-2/

The Household Pulse Survey published by the Census Bureau, provides data on the effect of the pandemic on the lives of U.S. residents. The latest data, collected between July 21 and August 2, 2021, provides sobering statistics for Connecticut. Of the more than 63,000 Connecticut tenants who report owing rent, 53% had not applied for rental assistance, suggesting significant barriers to access and awareness of the federal relief available for Connecticut’s tenants. The Center estimates that almost all of the respondents to the Census Pulse Survey would be income eligible for emergency rental assistance through Unite CT.

Even the brief expiration of the CDC moratorium had an immediate and devastating impact on tenants in Connecticut with courts issuing 155 executions in the two days after the expiration of the CDC moratorium. This is likely emblematic of what could happen if more is not done.

First, the Governor and the Legislature must keep Executive Order 12D in place. That order, which requires landlords to complete applications for UniteCT before beginning an eviction action, has led to an 81% drop in the number of new eviction filings in the 6 weeks since July 1, 2021 when compared with the 6 weeks prior to July 1. Second, UniteCT must continue to increase the number of tenants approved for benefits by reducing the amount of paperwork and the complexity of the application process and approval. Finally, Connecticut’s courts should follow the advice of Attorney General Merrick B. Garland who urged courts to implement eviction diversion strategies to stave off the eviction crisis confronting our country.

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In today’s update:

Additional Resources

The Connecticut Fair Housing Center is hiring

Eviction/mortgage delinquency statistics

Help for homeowners

Information for tenants

Moratorium status

Tech bus schedule

UniteCT Updates

Since March 15, 2021, when UniteCT began accepting applications:

  • 6,645 applications have been approved for payment of a rental and/or utility arrears. Nearly $52.7 million has been paid out or 13.1% of the total funding allocated to Connecticut;
  • Landlords have filed 3,091 new summary process (eviction) cases;
  • Courts have issued 1,500 executions—once a court issues an execution order, the landlord can hire a state marshal to remove the tenant and their belongings from the unit.

Racial and ethnic disparities continue: According to the latest data from the Household Pulse Survey, 82% of Latinx renters, 46% of Black renters, and 75% of renters of two races believe they are very likely or somewhat likely to be evicted in September compared to only 35% of white renters.

In addition, 25.6% of Latinx homeowners, 19.4% of Black homeowners, and 18% of Asian homeowners are not caught up on their mortgage payments compared to 12.4% of white homeowners.

Eviction and foreclosure moratorium status:

Connecticut Eviction Moratorium expired June 30, 2021. However, Governor Lamont has issued Executive Order 12D which has been extended through September 30, 2021. See below for details on the E.O. and the Judicial Branch’s efforts to implement that order.

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium has been extended to October 3, 2021. This protection is NOT automatic. It only applies to tenants who resides in a U.S. county experiencing substantial or high rates of community transmission levels of COVID-19. At present the CDC has found that all of Connecticut’s counties are experiencing substantial or high rates of community transmission levels. In addition, the tenant must demonstrate that they cannot pay full rent or other housing payments because they have lost income or have very expensive medical bills. To receive this protection, you must provide your landlord with a signed copy of the CDC declaration form. More information about eligibility requirements and how to complete the CDC declaration is available here. IF A TENANT COMPLETED A CDC DECLARATION PRIOR TO JULY 31, THERE IS NO NEED TO COMPLETE A NEW ONE NOW.

An additional tool has been built by A2JTech that will help you determine if your location is eligible CDC protections against eviction.

Current foreclosure moratoriums:

  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: (essentially) until August 31, 2021
  • HUD, Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Agriculture: These foreclosure moratoriums have ended. However, homeowners can still ask for a forbearance agreement. Homeowners or occupants living in single-family homes backed by an FHA mortgage are protected from eviction through September 30, 2021.
  • CFPB’s 2021 Mortgage Servicing Covid-19 Rule: The CFPB Covid-19 servicing rule will implement safeguards to prevent foreclosures from August 31, 2021 until December 31, 2021. The rules apply to most mortgages, not just federally-backed mortgages. Mortgage companies will not be able to start most foreclosures without reviewing homeowners for a workout option.
  • Tenants living in multifamily properties with a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac backed mortgage cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent through September 30, 2021. Additional tenant protections include not charging tenants late fees or penalties for nonpayment of rent and allowing tenants flexibility in repayment of back rent over time and not demanding a lump sum payment. Finally, landlords evicting for reasons other than nonpayment of rent must give a 30-day notice.

No foreclosure moratorium is in place: Homeowners who are behind on their mortgages (except as they might be covered in the future by the CFPB Mortgage Servicing Covid-19 Rule) or who owe condominium fees, real estate taxes, or other real estate related taxes are not protected from foreclosure. Since January 1, 2021, 44% of all foreclosure actions filed were for non-mortgage foreclosures: 11% were filed by municipalities; 14% were filed by condominium associations; 15% were filed by private 3rd parties who bought tax and sewer liens from municipalities.

E.O. 12D and the Judicial Branch’s Implementation

Governor Lamont used his emergency powers to extend E.O. 12D to September 30, 2021. The order includes the following provisions:

  • UniteCT rental assistance program prior to delivering a notice to quit for nonpayment of rent. The UniteCT case number must be included on the Notice to Quit;

To implement E.O. 12D, the Judicial Branch has instructed its Housing Court Clerks to review all residential non-payment notices to quit served between July 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021:

In addition, the Housing Court Clerks have been told:

If during a mediation either the landlord or the tenant notifies the mediator that a UniteCT application has been submitted, then mediators will inform the judge about the application so that an order stopping the proceedings, which could include ordering a continuance of the matter for more than 30 days, can enter.

Information for tenants

As the result of the renewal of the CDC moratorium, the Judicial Branch has now told the courts to do the following:

What E.O. 12D means for tenants:

  • https://portal.ct.gov/DOH/DOH/Programs/UniteCT. Write down your application number so you can share it with the court. Then notify your landlord by phone, email, and text that you have applied to UniteCT and ask them to complete their part of the application.

If the landlord refuses to participate in UniteCT, tenants should do the following:

  • Call the Connecticut Fair Housing Center at 860-247-4400 to do an intake. The Center is reviewing cases where the landlord refused to participate in UniteCT to determine if there is a violation of the Connecticut’s requirement that landlord’s accept housing assistance.
  • Apply for a security deposit and up to 12 months future rent to be paid to a new landlord through UniteCT.

Tenants whose landlords have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage have additional protections: On July 28, 2021, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that tenants of multifamily properties with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) who are subject to eviction for nonpayment of rent must be given 30 days’ notice to vacate before the tenant can be required to leave the unit.

UniteCT Updates

DOH continues to make changes to the UniteCT program to meet the needs of tenants and landlords. Check the UniteCT website and the guidance on the program frequently to get the latest updates. Currently, tenants eligible for UniteCT are entitled to:

  • Reasonable accommodations: People with disabilities who need assistance filling out an application for UniteCT or with any other aspect of the program, should send an email to UniteCTReasonableAccommodation@ct.gov or call 1-844-864-8328 and ask for a reasonable accommodation such as someone to help fill out an application, or upload documents, or any other change in the application process or program that will help the person who is disabled participate in the program.
  • Qualifying census tract: Applicants for UniteCT who live in census tracts where the majority of people have income at or below 80% of AMI are not required to upload any income documentation. The UniteCT pre-application will make the determination as to whether the applicants live in a qualifying census tract.
  • Participation in other benefit programs qualify a tenant for UniteCT:  Applicants who receive benefits from Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, State Administered General Assistance (SAGA), and the state supplement will be eligible for UniteCT without additional income verification;
  • $15,000 in rental arrearage payments: Tenants will now be eligible to receive up to $15,000 in rental arrearage payments for any rent owed after March 13, 2020 regardless of the number of months owed. If, based on the application, it is clear the tenant needs more than $15,000 to clear their arrearage, UniteCT will review the application and determine if additional funds will be paid;
  • No need to write-off 15% of arrears:  Landlords will not be required to write-off 15% of the rental arrearage;
  • Tenants not obligated to contribute to future rent for 3 months: If tenants are eligible for prospective rental payments through UniteCT, the tenant will not be required to contribute any rent for the first three months of prospective payments;
  • Public and subsidized tenants eligible:  UniteCT will provide benefits to tenants who live in public or subsidized housing. Anyone who has been denied benefits because they live in public or subsidized housing should contact doh-unitect@ct.gov immediately. At present, UniteCT staff are working with housing authorities to determine if there is a way for housing authorities to submit bulk applications on behalf of their tenants for the program.

The UniteCT mobile tech bus will be at the following locations for the week starting
August 16, 2021:

UniteCT’s tech bus provides the necessary technology to apply for rental assistance. Tenants and housing providers who may not have access to the technology required to complete an application for rental assistance are encouraged to visit the bus. To learn more about the bus please contact the host agencies. There are no stops scheduled for Monday August 16, Tuesday, August 17, and Friday, August 20, 2021.

Bridgeport, CT

When:        Wednesday, August 18, 10 am – 3 pm

Location:   Trumbull Gardens, 505 Trumbull Avenue Bridgeport, CT 06606

Contact:    Irma J. Ross, iross@parkcitycommunities.org, 203-337-8803

Waterbury, CT

When:        Thursday, August 19, 10am – 3pm

Location:   Court House, 300 Grand St. Waterbury, CT 06702

Contact:    Denise Martinez, dmartinez@newoppinc.org, 203-598-1781

Help for homeowners

Homeowner Assistance Funds—The American Rescue Plan includes money to prevent mortgage delinquencies and defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacement of homeowners experiencing financial hardship after January 21, 2020. The State of Connecticut is participating in this program and has already begun a pilot program that will provide up to $20,000 in grants to homeowners whose income is at or below 80% of AMI and who are socially or economically disadvantaged. Connecticut must next submit its program design for approval to the Treasury Department.

Fannie and Freddie expand use of interest rate reductions:  On June 30, 2021, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced that they would expand their interest rate reduction programs. Flex Modification terms will be adjusted for COVID-19 hardships making interest rate reduction possible for eligible borrowers, regardless of the borrower’s loan-to-value ratio.

CFPB issues rules to facilitate transition from the expiration of federal protections: On June 28, 2021, the CFPB issued rules to transition from the expiration of federal foreclosure protections. The rules take effect on August 31, 2021 and end on December 31, 2021. Under the rules, servicers can only start a foreclosure if the borrower:

  • Has abandoned the property;
  • Was more than 120 days behind on their mortgage before March 1, 2020;
  • Is more than 120 days behind on their mortgage payments and has not responded to specific required outreach from the mortgage servicer for 90 days; or
  • Has been evaluated for all options other than foreclosure and there are no available options to avoid foreclosure.

This protection applies to many, but not all, mortgages.

Foreclosure advice: The Center is holding Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions. Homeowners facing foreclosure can sign up for advice sessions over video or phone. These Sessions are in addition to the videos and materials available at www.ctfairhousing.org.

Additional resources

The Connecticut Fair Housing Center is hiring a staff attorney to join our team:  https://www.ctfairhousing.org/career-opportunities-2/

VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR FAIR HOUSING RIGHTS IN ENGLISH, SPANISH, MANDARIN, VIETNAMESE, FARSI, RUSSIAN, ITALIAN, KREYOL, ARABIC, KHMER, AND TAGALOG.

Outreach:  To schedule trainings on COVID-19 protections for tenants, foreclosure prevention, fair housing or constituent outreach please contact Rashida Rattray, at rrattray@ctfairhousing.org

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The original CDC eviction moratorium expired on July 31, 2021, before being reinstated with modifications on Tuesday, August 3. While the protections of the order are not automatic if the tenant has no declaration on file, it at least will allow courts to notify tenants before an execution is issued to give them the chance to go to court. That protection plus the protections created by Governor Lamont give tenants the possibility of staying in their homes while landlords get paid for rental arrearages.

Even the brief expiration of the CDC moratorium had an immediate and devastating impact on tenants in Connecticut. Without notifying tenants, the Connecticut courts issued 159 new executions on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week. That means that 159 families could have received notice that they had 24 hours to vacate their apartments, or a marshal would move them out.

The majority of the executions issued (73%) were from just three courts—Hartford (31%), New Haven (26%), and New Britain (16%). It is quite possible that some of these tenants had money paid on their behalf by UniteCT or had pending applications. Each of these courts serve communities that are majority BIPOC. The ongoing pandemic has had a greater impact on these communities than on majority white communities with more BIPOC losing their jobs, contracting the virus, and now, losing their homes.

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In today’s update:

Additional_resources

Eviction/mortgage delinquency statistics

Help_for_homeowners

Help_for_tenants

Moratorium_status

Tech_bus_schedule

UniteCT Updates

Since March 15, 2021, when UniteCT began accepting applications:

  • 84,891 Connecticut tenants reported they were not caught up on rent while 75,958 reported they have no confidence in their ability to pay August rent.
  • 6,175 applications or 42% of the total fully submitted applications have been approved for payment of a rental and/or utility arrears. Nearly $48.8 million has been paid out or 12.2% of the total funding allocated to Connecticut;
  • Landlords have filed 3,003 new summary process (eviction) cases;
  • Courts have issued 1,477 executions—once a court issues an execution order, the landlord can hire a state marshal to remove the tenant and their belongings from the unit.

Racial and ethnic disparities continue: According to the latest data from the Household Pulse Survey, 49% of Latinx renters, 42% of Black renters, and 18% of people of two or more races who rent have little or no confidence they can pay next month’s rent compared to 11% of white renters.

In addition, 12.2% of Latinx homeowners, 15.8% of Black homeowners, 10% of Asian homeowners, and 12.5% of people of two or more races are not caught up on their mortgage payments compared to 5% of white homeowners.

Eviction and foreclosure moratorium status:

Connecticut Eviction Moratorium expired June 30, 2021. However, Governor Lamont has issued Executive Order 12D which has been extended through September 30, 2021. See below for details on the E.O. and the Judicial Branch’s efforts to implement that order.

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium has been extended to October 3, 2021. This protection is NOT automatic. It only applies to tenants who resides in a U.S. county experiencing substantial or high rates of community transmission levels of COVID-19. The CDC has found that all of Connecticut’s counties are experiencing substantial or high rates of community transmission levels. In addition, the tenant must demonstrate that they cannot pay full rent or other housing payments because they have lost income or have very expensive medical bills. To receive this protection, you must provide your landlord with a signed copy of the CDC declaration form. More information about eligibility requirements and how to complete the CDC declaration is available here. IF A TENANT COMPLETED A CDC DECLARATION PRIOR TO JULY 31, THERE IS NO NEED TO COMPLETE A NEW ONE NOW.

Current foreclosure moratoriums:

  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: (essentially) until August 31, 2021
  • HUD, Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Agriculture: These foreclosure moratoriums have ended. However, homeowners can still ask for a forbearance agreement. Homeowners or occupants living in single-family homes backed by an FHA mortgage are protected from eviction through September 30, 2021.
  • CFPB’s 2021 Mortgage Servicing Covid-19 Rule: The CFPB Covid-19 servicing rule will implement safeguards to prevent foreclosures from August 31, 2021 until December 31, 2021. The rules applies to most mortgages, not just federally-backed mortgages. Mortgage companies will not be able to start most foreclosures without reviewing homeowners for a workout option.
  • Tenants living in multifamily properties with a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac backed mortgage cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent through September 30, 2021. Additional tenant protections include not charging tenants late fees or penalties for nonpayment of rent and allowing tenants flexibility in repayment of back rent over time and not demanding a lump sum payment. Finally, landlords evicting for reasons other than nonpayment of rent must give a 30-day notice.

No foreclosure moratorium is in place: Homeowners who are behind on their mortgages (except as they might be covered in the future by the CFPB Mortgage Servicing Covid-19 Rule) or who owe condominium fees, real estate taxes, or other real estate related taxes are not protected from foreclosure. Since January 1, 2021, 44% of all foreclosure actions filed were for non-mortgage foreclosures: 11% were filed by municipalities; 14% were filed by condominium associations; 15% were filed by private 3rd parties who bought tax and sewer liens from municipalities.

E.O. 12D and the Judicial Branch’s Implementation

Governor Lamont used his emergency powers to extend E.O. 12D to September 30, 2021. The order includes the following provisions:

  • Landlords must complete an application for the State’s UniteCT rental assistance program prior to delivering a notice to quit for nonpayment of rent. The UniteCT case number must be included on the Notice to Quit;
  • Landlords must give tenants a 30-day Notice to Quit if they intend to evict for nonpayment of rent, for lapse of time, or because the right to occupy a unit has terminated;
  • All Notices to Quit given for any reason must be delivered with information about the State’s UniteCT program and the federal CDC eviction moratorium in both English and Spanish;
  • Tenants have an opportunity to continue all terms of their rental agreement by paying outstanding rent within the 30-day Notice to Quit period;
  • If during any summary process (eviction) case, a UniteCT application is made, all proceedings in the summary process case must be stopped for 30 days or until a decision is made on the UniteCT application, whichever is earlier. If the UniteCT application is approved, the summary process case must be stopped until the UniteCT payment is made, and the summary process action is withdrawn or dismissed. 

To implement E.O. 12D, the Judicial Branch has instructed its Housing Court Clerks to review all residential non-payment notices to quit served between July 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021:

  • For the required UniteCT case number. Cases with defective notices to quit will be referred to the housing judge for dismissal or other action the judge deems appropriate;
  • To ensure that any notice has a quit date at least 30 days from the service date unless the notice is solely for serious nuisance;
  • To ensure that the notices were delivered with an English and a Spanish copy of the State of Connecticut’s UniteCT Flyer.

In addition, the Housing Court Clerks have been told:

  • If a clerk is notified of a pending UniteCT application prior to a summary process execution issuing, the clerk will ask the notifying party(s) to submit a written notification of the UniteCT application to the court for the judge’s review and entry of an order staying the proceedings. Clerks will not stop the application for an execution if the case is based solely on serious nuisance.
  • If an execution has already issued, the landlord and the tenant will be notified that an application for temporary injunction (audita querela) must be presented to the court for review and entry of an order stopping the move out. 

If during a mediation either the landlord or the tenant notifies the mediator that a UniteCT application has been submitted, then mediators will inform the judge about the application so that an order stopping the proceedings, which could include ordering a continuance of the matter for more than 30 days, can enter.

Information for tenants

What E.O. 12D means for tenants:

  • A landlord must complete an application for UniteCT before they send you a Notice to Quit for not paying rent. The notice must include the landlord’s UniteCT application number.
  • If you receive a Notice to Quit for any reason, the notice should include a copy of the UniteCT flyer in Spanish and English.
  • If you receive a Notice to Quit for not paying rent, you will have 30 days to pay the rent or apply for UniteCT. If all the back rent is paid within 30 days your, landlord cannot start an eviction case in court.
  • Any Notice to Quit for not paying rent or for lapse of time (meaning your lease was not renewed) must give you 30 days notice before your landlord can start a case in court.
  • If you receive a Notice to Quit, you never have to move out by the date on the notice. If you are still in the apartment after the date on the notice, your landlord can start a case in court to ask the court for permission to evict you.
  • If you have applied for UniteCT and you have to go to court do the following: 1) check the status of your application before you go to see if you have been approved; 2) have your UniteCT case number ready to share with the court; 3) tell the Judge or Mediator about your UniteCT application even if you have not been approved or you have not finished the application; 4) ask the Judge or the Mediator to pause your case for 30 days while you wait to see if UniteCT will pay your back rent.
  • You may also want to take a screenshot of your application status page and have that ready to share as well. If you have not yet applied for UniteCT, you must do so to receive the 30-day pause.
  • You can apply to UniteCT by going to https://portal.ct.gov/DOH/DOH/Programs/UniteCT. Write down your application number so you can share it with the court. Then notify your landlord by phone, email, and text that you have applied to UniteCT and ask them to complete their part of the application.

If the landlord refuses to participate in UniteCT, tenants should do the following:

  • Call the Connecticut Fair Housing Center at 860-247-4400 to do an intake. The Center is reviewing cases where the landlord refused to participate in UniteCT to determine if there is a violation of the Connecticut’s requirement that landlord’s accept housing assistance.
  • Apply for a security deposit and up to 12 months future rent to be paid to a new landlord through UniteCT.

Tenants whose landlords have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage have additional protections: On July 28, 2021, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that tenants of multifamily properties with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) who are subject to eviction for nonpayment of rent must be given 30 days’ notice to vacate before the tenant can be required to leave the unit.

UniteCT Updates

DOH continues to make changes to the UniteCT program to meet the needs of tenants and landlords. Check the UniteCT website and the guidance on the program frequently to get the latest updates. Currently, tenants eligible for UniteCT are entitled to:

  • Reasonable accommodations: People with disabilities who need assistance filling out an application for UniteCT or with any other aspect of the program, should send an email to UniteCTReasonableAccommodation@ct.gov or call 1-844-864-8328 and ask for a reasonable accommodation such as someone to help fill out an application, or upload documents, or any other change in the application process or program that will help the person who is disabled participate in the program.
  • Qualifying census tract: Applicants for UniteCT who live in census tracts where the majority of people have income at or below 80% of AMI are not required to upload any income documentation. The UniteCT pre-application will make the determination as to whether the applicants lives in a qualifying census tract.
  • Participation in other benefit programs qualify a tenant for UniteCT:  Applicants who receive benefits from Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, State Administered General Assistance (SAGA), and the state supplement will be eligible for UniteCT without additional income verification;
  • $15,000 in rental arrearage payments: Tenants will now be eligible to receive up to $15,000 in rental arrearage payments for any rent owed after March 13, 2020 regardless of the number of months owed. If, based on the application, it is clear the tenant needs more than $15,000 to clear their arrearage, UniteCT will review the application and determine if additional funds will be paid;
  • No need to write-off 15% of arrears:  Landlords will not be required to write-off 15% of the rental arrearage;
  • Tenants not obligated to contribute to future rent for 3 months: If tenants are eligible for prospective rental payments through UniteCT, the tenant will not be required to contribute any rent for the first three months of prospective payments;
  • Public and subsidized tenants eligible:  UniteCT will provide benefits to tenants who live in public or subsidized housing. Anyone who has been denied benefits because they live in public or subsidized housing should contact doh-unitect@ct.gov immediately. At present, UniteCT staff are working with housing authorities to determine if there is a way for housing authorities to submit bulk applications on behalf of their tenants for the program.

The UniteCT mobile tech bus will be at the following locations for the week starting
August 9, 2021:

UniteCT’s tech bus provides the necessary technology to apply for rental assistance. Tenants and housing providers who may not have access to the technology required to complete an application for rental assistance are encouraged to visit the bus. To learn more about the bus please contact the host agencies. There are no stops scheduled for Monday August 9 or Friday, August 13, 2021.

Thomaston, CT

When:        Tuesday, August 10, 10 am – 3 pm

Location:   Thomaston Library, 248 Main Street Thomaston, CT

Contact:     Denise Martinez, dmartinez@newoppinc.org, 203-598-1781

Windsor, CT

When:        Wednesday, August 11, 10 am – 3 pm

Location:   Hopewell Baptist Church, 280 Windsor Ave, Windsor, CT, 06095

Contact:     Jasmine Hall, Hall@townofwindsorct.com, 860-285-1839

Putnam, CT

When:        Thursday, August 12, 10am – 3pm

Location:   Court House, 300 Grand St. Waterbury CT 06702

Contact:     Denise Martinez, dmartinez@newoppinc.org, 203-598-1781

Help for homeowners

Homeowner Assistance Funds—The American Rescue Plan includes money to prevent mortgage delinquencies and defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacement of homeowners experiencing financial hardship after January 21, 2020. The State of Connecticut is participating in this program and has already begun a pilot program that will provide up to $20,000 in grants to homeowners whose income is at or below 80% of AMI and who are socially or economically disadvantaged. Connecticut must next submit its program design for approval to the Treasury Department.

Fannie and Freddie expand use of interest rate reductions:  On June 30, 2021, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced that they would expand their interest rate reduction programs. Flex Modification terms will be adjusted for COVID-19 hardships making interest rate reduction possible for eligible borrowers, regardless of the borrower’s loan-to-value ratio.

CFPB issues rules to facilitate transition from the expiration of federal protections: On June 28, 2021, the CFPB issued rules to transition from the expiration of federal foreclosure protections. The rules take effect on August 31, 2021 and end on December 31, 2021. Under the rules, servicers can only start a foreclosure if the borrower:

  • Has abandoned the property;
  • Was more than 120 days behind on their mortgage before March 1, 2020;
  • Is more than 120 days behind on their mortgage payments and has not responded to specific required outreach from the mortgage servicer for 90 days; or
  • Has been evaluated for all options other than foreclosure and there are no available options to avoid foreclosure.

This protection applies to many, but not all, mortgages.

Foreclosure advice: The Center is holding Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions. Homeowners facing foreclosure can sign up for advice sessions over video or phone. These Sessions are in addition to the videos and materials available at www.ctfairhousing.org.

Additional resources

Welfare liens on real property will be removed:  As part of legislation passed during the 2021 legislative session, the Department of Social Services is required to remove all liens put on any property as the result of the receipt of medical assistance or cash assistance unless required by federal law. In the past, DSS put a lien on any property (like a house or a condominium) owned by a recipient, former recipient, or a legally liable relatives (someone who has a legal obligation to support someone who received benefits) of some forms of state medical assistance or cash assistance like TANF. The lien was equal to the amount paid in medical assistance or cash benefits. DSS can no longer put liens on property in an effort to recover any money paid out, unless it is required by federal law, and any liens that are currently on any property must be removed. If you have a lien on your property that has not been released, write to DSS at DSS.Resources@ct.gov.

VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR FAIR HOUSING RIGHTS IN ENGLISH, SPANISH, MANDARIN, VIETNAMESE, FARSI, RUSSIAN, ITALIAN, KREYOL, ARABIC, KHMER, AND TAGALOG.

Outreach:  To schedule trainings on COVID-19 protections for tenants, foreclosure prevention, fair housing or constituent outreach please contact Rashida Rattray, at rrattray@ctfairhousing.org

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Evictions cause poverty. In many cases, the disruption caused by an eviction may lead directly to loss of employment which results in reduced income which further diminishes access to quality housing. Children change schools, possessions are forfeited to high storage fees, an eviction record prevents families from relocating to decent housing in safe neighborhoods, pregnant women give birth prematurely to infants with low birth weights, and high rates of depression recur as long as two years after the move.

During the recently concluded legislative session, Connecticut passed a bill guaranteeing low-income tenants a right to counsel. However, that program will not be up and running until October 1, 2021, and even then, it will take time to implement it throughout the state. In the meantime, tenants are being evicted and the UniteCT program has approved payment for only 6.5% of the nearly 85,000 tenants who are behind on their rent.

A recent New York Times article demonstrates that much of the country is also facing an eviction crisis. However, there are several steps that Connecticut can take to prevent more families from falling into poverty:

  • The Legislature should allow the Governor to extend E.O. 12D beyond September 30, 2021. E.O. 12D has led to a drop in the number of eviction filings from 167 in the last full week of June to 64 during the week of July 19 after E.O. 12D took effect.
  • Expand options for applying to UniteCT.  Extremely low-income tenants (those most likely to be behind on rent) are least likely to have internet access.
  • Launch new efforts to reach tenants least likely to apply. Only 15.7% of the tenants who owe rent have completed an application for UniteCT.
  • Culturally relevant outreach makes a difference. This means advertisements in many languages; webpage links in many languages and not just the use of on-line, inaccurate translation tools; trainings in languages other than English; use of alternative media to reach non-white audiences; and door knocking with personnel who speak languages other than English. All of this should be supported and paid for by the emergency rental assistance program and not by the housing counselors and agencies doing the work.
  • Make payments directly to tenants who cannot stay in their homes will both prevent homelessness and get money to tenants more quickly.

Sign up to receive this weekly update.

In today’s update:

Additional_resources

Eviction/mortgage delinquency statistics

Help_for_homeowners

Help_for_tenants

Moratorium_status

Tech_bus_schedule

UniteCT Updates

Since March 15, 2021, when UniteCT began accepting applications:

  • 84,891 Connecticut tenants reported they were not caught up on rent while 75,958 reported they have no confidence in their ability to pay August rent.
  • 5,486 applications or 41% of the total fully submitted applications have been approved for payment of a rental and/or utility arrears. Nearly $43.2 million has been paid out or 10.8% of the total funding allocated to Connecticut;
  • 1,442 people have entered homeless shelters. Only 27.8% of those exiting shelter went into permanent homes;
  • Landlords have filed 2,930 new summary process (eviction) cases;
  • Courts have issued 1,307 executions—once a court issues an execution order, the landlord can hire a state marshal to remove the tenant and their belongings from the unit.

Racial and ethnic disparities continue: According to the latest data from the Household Pulse Survey, 49% of Latinx renters, 42% of Black renters, and 18% of people of two or more races who rent have little or no confidence they can pay next month’s rent compared to 11% of white renters.

In addition, 12.2% of Latinx homeowners, 15.8% of Black homeowners, 10% of Asian homeowners, and 12.5% of people of two or more races are not caught up on their mortgage payments compared to 5% of white homeowners.

Eviction and foreclosure moratorium status:

Connecticut Eviction Moratorium expired June 30, 2021. However, Governor Lamont has issued Executive Order 12D which has been extended through September 30, 2021. See below for details on the E.O. and the Judicial Branch’s efforts to implement that order.

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium expires on Saturday, July 31, 2021. This protection only applies to tenants who cannot pay full rent or other housing payments because they have lost income or have very expensive medical bills. To receive this protection, you must provide your landlord with a signed copy of the CDC declaration form. More information about eligibility requirements and how to complete the CDC declaration is available here.

Current foreclosure moratoriums:

  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: (essentially) until August 31, 2021
  • HUD, Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Agriculture: until July 31, 2021
  • CFPB’s 2021 Mortgage Servicing Covid-19 Rule: The CFPB Covid-19 servicing rule will implement a foreclosure moratorium from August 31, 2021, until December 31, 2021 that applies to most mortgages, not just federally backed mortgages. Under the rules, servicers can only start a foreclosure if the borrower:
  • Has abandoned the property;
  • Was more than 120 days behind on their mortgage before March 1, 2020;
  • Is more than 120 days behind on their mortgage payments and has not responded to specific required outreach from the mortgage servicer for 90 days; or
  • Has been evaluated for all options other than foreclosure and there are no available options to avoid foreclosure.

Tenants living in multifamily properties with a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac backed mortgage cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent through September 30, 2021. Additional tenant protections include not charging tenants late fees or penalties for nonpayment of rent and allowing tenants flexibility in repayment of back rent over time and not demanding a lump sum payment. Finally, landlords evicting for reasons other than nonpayment of rent must give a 30-day notice.

No foreclosure moratorium on mortgages that are not “federally-backed” or non-mortgage foreclosures: Homeowners whose mortgages are not “federally-backed” (except as they might be covered in the future by the CFPB Mortgage Servicing Covid-19 Rule) or who owe condominium fees, real estate taxes, or other real estate related taxes are not protected from foreclosure. Since January 1, 2021, 44% of all foreclosure actions filed were for non-mortgage foreclosures: 11% were filed by municipalities; 14% were filed by condominium associations; 15% were filed by private 3rd parties who bought tax and sewer liens from municipalities.

E.O. 12D and the Judicial Branch’s Implementation

Governor Lamont used his emergency powers to extend E.O. 12D to September 30, 2021. The order includes the following provisions:

  • Landlords must complete an application for the State’s UniteCT rental assistance program prior to delivering a notice to quit for nonpayment of rent. The UniteCT case number must be included on the Notice to Quit;
  • Landlords must give tenants a 30-day Notice to Quit if they intend to evict for nonpayment of rent, for lapse of time, or because the right to occupy a unit has terminated;
  • All Notices to Quit given for any reason must be delivered with information about the State’s UniteCT program and the federal CDC eviction moratorium in both English and Spanish;
  • Tenants have an opportunity to continue all terms of their rental agreement by paying outstanding rent within the 30-day Notice to Quit period;
  • If during any summary process (eviction) case, a UniteCT application is made, all proceedings in the summary process case must be stopped for 30 days or until a decision is made on the UniteCT application, whichever is earlier. If the UniteCT application is approved, the summary process case must be stopped until the UniteCT payment is made, and the summary process action is withdrawn or dismissed. 

To implement E.O. 12D, the Judicial Branch has instructed its Housing Court Clerks to review all residential non-payment notices to quit served between July 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021:

  • For the required UniteCT case number. Cases with defective notices to quit will be referred to the housing judge for dismissal or other action the judge deems appropriate;
  • To ensure that any notice has a quit date at least 30 days from the service date unless the notice is solely for serious nuisance;
  • To ensure that the notices were delivered with an English and a Spanish copy of the State of Connecticut’s UniteCT Flyer.

In addition, the Housing Court Clerks have been told:

  • If a clerk is notified of a pending UniteCT application prior to a summary process execution issuing, the clerk will ask the notifying party(s) to submit a written notification of the UniteCT application to the court for the judge’s review and entry of an order staying the proceedings. Clerks will not stop the application for an execution if the case is based solely on serious nuisance.
  • If an execution has already issued, the landlord and the tenant will be notified that an application for temporary injunction (audita querela) must be presented to the court for review and entry of an order stopping the move out. 

If during a mediation either the landlord or the tenant notifies the mediator that a UniteCT application has been submitted, then mediators will inform the judge about the application so that an order stopping the proceedings, which could include ordering a continuance of the matter for more than 30 days, can enter.

Help for tenants

What E.O. 12D means for tenants:

  • A landlord must complete an application for UniteCT before they send you a Notice to Quit for not paying rent. The notice must include the landlord’s UniteCT application number.
  • If you receive a Notice to Quit for any reason, the notice should include a copy of the UniteCT flyer in Spanish and English.
  • If you receive a Notice to Quit for not paying rent, you will have 30 days to pay the rent or apply for UniteCT. If all the back rent is paid within 30 days your, landlord cannot start an eviction case in court.
  • Any Notice to Quit for not paying rent or for lapse of time (meaning your lease was not renewed) must give you 30 days’ notice before your landlord can start a case in court.
  • If you receive a Notice to Quit, you never have to move out by the date on the notice. If you are still in the apartment after the date on the notice, your landlord can start a case in court to ask the court for permission to evict you.
  • If you have applied for UniteCT and you have to go to court do the following: 1) check the status of your application before you go to see if you have been approved; 2) have your UniteCT case number ready to share with the court; 3) tell the Judge or Mediator about your UniteCT application even if you have not been approved or you have not finished the application; 4) ask the Judge or the Mediator to pause your case for 30 days while you wait to see if UniteCT will pay your back rent.
  • You may also want to take a screenshot of your application status page and have that ready to share as well. If you have not yet applied for UniteCT, you must do so to receive the 30-day pause.
  • You can apply to UniteCT by going to https://portal.ct.gov/DOH/DOH/Programs/UniteCT. Write down your application number so you can share it with the court. Then notify your landlord by phone, email, and text that you have applied to UniteCT and ask them to complete their part of the application.

If the landlord refuses to participate in UniteCT, tenants should do the following:

  • Call the Connecticut Fair Housing Center at 860-247-4400 to do an intake. The Center is reviewing cases where the landlord refused to participate in UniteCT to determine if there is a violation of the Connecticut’s requirement that landlord’s accept housing assistance.

Apply for a security deposit and up to 12 months future rent to be paid to a new landlord through UniteCT.

Tenants whose landlords have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage have additional protections:

On July 28, 2021, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that tenants of multifamily properties with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) who are subject to eviction for nonpayment of rent must be given 30 days’ notice to vacate before the tenant can be required to leave the unit.

UniteCT Updates

DOH continues to make changes to the UniteCT program to meet the needs of tenants and landlords. Check the UniteCT website and the guidance on the program frequently to get the latest updates. Currently, tenants eligible for UniteCT are entitled to:

  • People with disabilities who need assistance filling out an application for UniteCT or with any other aspect of the program, should send an email to UniteCTReasonableAccommodation@ct.gov or call 1-844-864-8328 and ask for a reasonable accommodation such as someone to help fill out an application, or upload documents, or any other change in the application process or program that will help the person who is disabled participate in the program.
  • Applicants for UniteCT who live in census tracts where the majority of people have income at or below 80% of AMI are not required to upload any income documentation. The UniteCT pre-application will make the determination as to whether the applicants lives in a qualifying census tract.
  •  Applicants who receive benefits from Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, State Administered General Assistance (SAGA), and the state supplement will be eligible for UniteCT without additional income verification;
  • Tenants will now be eligible to receive up to $15,000 in rental arrearage payments for any rent owed after March 13, 2020 regardless of the number of months owed. If, based on the application, it is clear the tenant needs more than $15,000 to clear their arrearage, UniteCT will review the application and determine if additional funds will be paid;
  •  Landlords will not be required to write-off 15% of the rental arrearage;
  • If tenants are eligible for prospective rental payments through UniteCT, the tenant will not be required to contribute any rent for the first three months of prospective payments;
  •  UniteCT will provide benefits to tenants who live in public or subsidized housing. Anyone who has been denied benefits because they live in public or subsidized housing should contact doh-unitect@ct.gov immediately. At present, UniteCT staff are working with housing authorities to determine if there is a way for housing authorities to submit bulk applications on behalf of their tenants for the program;

The UniteCT mobile tech bus will be at the following locations for the week starting
August 2, 2021:

UniteCT’s tech bus provides the necessary technology to apply for rental assistance. Tenants and housing providers who may not have access to the technology required to complete an application for rental assistance are encouraged to visit the bus. To learn more about the bus please contact the host agencies. There are no stops scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, July 26 and 27, 2021.

Danielson, CT

When:        Monday, August 2, 10 am – 3 pm

Location:   Killingly Board of Education, 79 Westfield Avenue, Danielson, CT, 06239

Contact:     Tyra Bergstrom, tyra.bergstrom@accessagency.org, 860-207-0542

North Grosvenordale, CT

When:        Tuesday, August 3, 1 pm – 3 pm

Location:   TEEG, 15 Thatcher Road, North Grosvenordale, CT 06255

Contact:     Tyra Bergstrom, tyra.bergstrom@accessagency.org, 860-207-0542

Putnam, CT

When:        Wednesday, August 4, 10am – 3pm

Location:   New Hope Baptist Church (parking lot), 1100 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06604

Contact:     Tyra Bergstrom, tyra.bergstrom@accessagency.org, 860-207-0542

New Haven, CT

When:        Friday, August 6, 10am – 3pm

Location:   Junta for Progressive Action, 169 Grand Ave, New Haven CT

Contact:     Michelle Garcia, michelle.garcia@juntainc.org 

Torrington, CT

When:        Saturday, August 7, 1 pm – 3pm

Location:   Torrington Public Library, 12 Daycoeton Pl, Torrington, CT 06790

Contact:     Mya Saree’ Gray, mgray@nhswaterbury.org, 203.695.3389 

Help for homeowners

Connecticut is using federal Homeownership Assistance Funds to assist homeowner’s delinquent on payments: The American Recovery Plan included funding for homeowners in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure. Connecticut will receive approximately $123 million. DOH is working with CHFA to pilot a program with three mortgage services that will provide up to $20,000 in grants to homeowners whose income is at or below 80% of AMI and who are socially or economically disadvantaged. A pilot program is expected to begin in July 2021. The full program is expected to roll out in September 2021.

Fannie and Freddie expand use of interest rate reductions:  On June 30, 2021, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced that they would expand their interest rate reduction programs. Flex Modification terms will be adjusted for COVID-19 hardships making interest rate reduction possible for eligible borrowers, regardless of the borrower’s loan-to-value ratio.

FHFA closes gap between Fannie and Freddie moratorium and CFPB servicing moratorium: On June 29, 2021, FHFA announced it would extend its moratorium to protect borrowers until CFPB moratorium starts. The CFPB Mortgage Servicing Covid-19 Rule prohibits servicers from making a first notice or filing for foreclosure in most cases covered by the rule before December 31, 2021. Servicers will still be able to make a notice or filing for foreclosure on abandoned properties and those that had a foreclosure referral prior to March 2020, along with certain other exceptions. CFPB’s final rule will take effect August 31, 2021.

CFPB issues rules to facilitate transition as federal protections expire: On June 28, 2021, the CFPB issued rules to transition as federal foreclosure protections expire. The rules take effect on August 31, 2021 and end on December 31, 2021. Under the rules, servicers can only start a foreclosure if the borrower:

  • Has abandoned the property;
  • Was more than 120 days behind on their mortgage before March 1, 2020;
  • Is more than 120 days behind on their mortgage payments and has not responded to specific required outreach from the mortgage servicer for 90 days; or
  • Has been evaluated for all options other than foreclosure and there are no available options to avoid foreclosure.

This protection applies to many, but not all, mortgages.

Foreclosure advice: The Center is holding Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions. Homeowners facing foreclosure can sign up for advice sessions over video or phone. These Sessions are in addition to the considerable number of videos and materials available at www.ctfairhousing.org.

Additional resources

Welfare liens on real property will be removed:  As part of legislation passed during the 2021 legislative session, the Department of Social Services is required to remove all liens put on any property as the result of the  receipt of Medicaid or cash assistance. In the past, DSS put a lien on any property (like a house or a condominium) owned by a client, former client, and legally liable relatives (someone who has a legal obligation to support someone who received benefits) who received Medicaid or cash assistance like TANF. The lien was equal to the amount paid in Medicaid or cash benefits. DSS can no longer put liens on property in an effort to recover any money paid out and any liens that are currently on any property must be removed. If you have a lien on your property, write to DSS at DSS.Resources@ct.gov.

VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR FAIR HOUSING RIGHTS IN ENGLISH, SPANISH, MANDARIN, VIETNAMESE, FARSI, RUSSIAN, ITALIAN, KREYOL, ARABIC, KHMER, AND TAGALOG.

Outreach:  To schedule trainings on COVID-19 protections for tenants, foreclosure prevention, fair housing or constituent outreach please contact Rashida Rattray, at rrattray@ctfairhousing.org

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

On July 21, 2021, the White House sponsored an Eviction Prevention webinar. The presentations from White House, Treasury, and HUD personnel, judges from Georgia and Tennessee, and housing counselors and grassroots organizations made clear that there is more that can be done in Connecticut to prevent tenants from losing their homes.

  • The Judicial Branch could allow housing counselors or UniteCT workers into the courthouses to help landlords and tenants with eviction cases apply for assistance when they show up for court like they do in Georgia and Tennessee.
  • The UniteCT administrators could take advice from Gene Sperling, the American Rescue Plan Coordinator for the President, who assured all emergency rental assistance administrators that now is not the time to hide behind overly cautious or conservative procedures. It is imperative that programs use maximum flexibility to get the money to tenants.
  • Payments directly to tenants who cannot stay in their homes will both prevent homelessness and get money to tenants more quickly.
  • Culturally relevant outreach makes a difference. This means advertisements in many languages; webpage links in many languages and not just the use of on-line, inaccurate translation tools; trainings in languages other than English; use of alternative media to reach non-white audiences; and door knocking with personnel who speak languages other than English. All of this should be supported and paid for by the emergency rental assistance program and not by the housing counselors and agencies doing the work.

In just over four months, UniteCT has used just 9% of the funding allocated and had fully submitted applications from only 12,380 landlords and tenants. Only 4,815 of the estimated 84,000 tenants who owe rent have received benefits. If the pace of applications and payments does not improve dramatically, it is likely that Connecticut will not use all of the $400 million it received to keep its most vulnerable citizens in housing.

Sign up to receive this weekly update.

In today’s update:

Additional_resources

Eviction/mortgage delinquency statistics

Help_for_homeowners

Help_for_tenants

Moratorium_status

Tech_bus_schedule

UniteCT Updates

Since March 15, 2021, when UniteCT began accepting applications:

  • 4,815 applications or 39% of the total fully submitted applications have been approved for payment of a rental and/or utility arrears. Nearly $37 million has been paid out or about 9% of the total funding allocated to Connecticut;
  • 1,382 people have entered homeless shelters. Only 26.9% of those exiting shelter went into permanent homes;
  • The Center does not have access to eviction data this week.

A new survey from the Urban Institute showcases the urgent need to raise awareness about emergency rental assistance. One key finding suggests that less than 6% of landlords and 11% of tenants have applied for emergency rental assistance.

Racial and ethnic disparities continue in recovery from pandemic-related economic hardship: According to the latest data from the Household Pulse Survey, 49% of Latinx renters, 42% of Black renters, and 18% of people of two or more races who rent have little or no confidence they can pay next month’s rent compared to 11% of white renters. In addition, 12.2% of Latinx homeowners, 15.8% of Black homeowners, 10% of Asian homeowners, and 12.5% of people of two or more races are not caught up on their mortgage payments compared to 5% of white homeowners.

Eviction and foreclosure moratorium status:

Connecticut Eviction Moratorium expired June 30, 2021. However, Governor Lamont has issued Executive Order 12D which remains in effect until September 30, 2021. See below for details on the E.O. and the Judicial Branch’s efforts to implement that order.

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium has been extended to July 31, 2021. This protection is NOT automatic. It only applies to tenants who cannot pay full rent or other housing payments because they have lost income or have very expensive medical bills. To receive this protection, you must provide your landlord with a signed copy of the CDC declaration form. More information about eligibility requirements and how to complete the CDC declaration is available here.

Current foreclosure moratoriums:

  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: (essentially) until August 31, 2021
  • HUD, Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Agriculture: until July 31, 2021
  • CFPB’s 2021 Mortgage Servicing Covid-19 Rule: The CFPB Covid-19 servicing rule will implement a foreclosure moratorium from August 31, 2021 until December 31, 2021 that applies to most mortgages, not just federally-backed mortgages. Under the rules, servicers can only start a foreclosure if the borrower:
  • Has abandoned the property;
  • Was more than 120 days behind on their mortgage before March 1, 2020;
  • Is more than 120 days behind on their mortgage payments and has not responded to specific required outreach from the mortgage servicer for 90 days; or
  • Has been evaluated for all options other than foreclosure and there are no available options to avoid foreclosure.

Tenants living in multifamily properties with a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac backed mortgage cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent through September 30, 2021. Additional tenant protections include not charging tenants late fees or penalties for nonpayment of rent and allowing tenants flexibility in repayment of back rent over time and not demanding a lump sum payment. Finally, landlords evicting for reasons other than nonpayment of rent must give a 30-day notice.

No foreclosure moratorium on mortgages that are not “federally-backed” or non-mortgage foreclosures: Homeowners whose mortgages are not “federally-backed” (except as they might be covered in the future by the CFPB Mortgage Servicing Covid-19 Rule) or who owe condominium fees, real estate taxes, or other real estate related taxes are not protected from foreclosure. Since January 1, 2021, 44% of all foreclosure actions filed were for non-mortgage foreclosures: 11% were filed by municipalities; 14% were filed by condominium associations; 15% were filed by private 3rd parties who bought tax and sewer liens from municipalities.

E.O. 12D and Judicial Branch’s Implementation

Governor Lamont used his emergency powers to extend E.O. 12D to September 30, 2021. The order includes the following provisions:

  • Landlords must complete an application for the State’s UniteCT rental assistance program prior to delivering a notice to quit for nonpayment of rent. The UniteCT case number must be included on the Notice to Quit;
  • Landlords must give tenants a 30-day Notice to Quit if they intend to evict for nonpayment of rent, for lapse of time, or because the right to occupy a unit has terminated;
  • All Notices to Quit given for any reason must be delivered with information about the State’s UniteCT program and the federal CDC eviction moratorium in both English and Spanish;
  • Tenants have an opportunity to continue all terms of their rental agreement by paying outstanding rent within the 30-day Notice to Quit period;
  • If during any summary process (eviction) case, a UniteCT application is made, all proceedings in the summary process case must be stopped for 30 days or until a decision is made on the UniteCT application, whichever is earlier. If the UniteCT application is approved, the summary process case must be stopped until the UniteCT payment is made, and the summary process action is withdrawn or dismissed. 

To implement E.O. 12D, the Judicial Branch has instructed its Housing Court Clerks to review all residential non-payment notices to quit served between July 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021:

  • For the required UniteCT case number. Cases with defective notices to quit will be referred to the housing judge for dismissal or other action the judge deems appropriate;
  • To ensure that any notice has a quit date at least 30 days from the service date unless the notice is solely for serious nuisance;
  • To ensure that the notices were delivered with an English and a Spanish copy of the State of Connecticut’s UniteCT Flyer.

In addition, the Housing Court Clerks have been told:

  • If a clerk is notified of a pending UniteCT application prior to a summary process execution issuing, the clerk will ask the notifying party(s) to submit a written notification of the UniteCT application to the court for the judge’s review and entry of an order staying the proceedings. Clerks will not stop the application for an execution if the case is based solely on serious nuisance.
  • If an execution has already issued, the landlord and the  tenant will be notified that an application for temporary injunction (audita querela) must be presented to the court for review and entry of an order stopping the move out. 

If during a mediation, if either the landlord or the tenant notifies the mediator that a UniteCT application has been submitted, then mediators will inform the judge about the application so that an order stopping the proceedings, which could include ordering a continuance of the matter for more than 30 days, can enter.

Help for tenants

What E.O. 12D means for tenants:

  • A landlord must complete an application for UniteCT before they send you a Notice to Quit for not paying rent. The notice must include the landlord’s UniteCT application number.
  • If you receive a Notice to Quit for any reason, the notice should include a copy of the UniteCT flyer in Spanish and English.
  • If you receive a Notice to Quit for not paying rent, you will have 30 days to pay the rent or apply for UniteCT. If all the back rent is paid within 30 days your, landlord cannot start an eviction case in court.
  • Any Notice to Quit for not paying rent or for lapse of time (meaning your lease was not renewed) must give you 30 days notice before your landlord can start a case in court.
  • If you receive a Notice to Quit, you never have to move out by the date on the notice. If you are still in the apartment after the date on the notice, your landlord can start a case in court to ask the court for permission to evict you.
  • If you have applied for UniteCT and you have to go to court do the following: 1) check the status of your application before you go to see if you have been approved; 2) have your UniteCT case number ready to share with the court; 3) tell the Judge or Mediator about your UniteCT application even if you have not been approved or you have not finished the application; 4) ask the Judge or the Mediator to pause your case for 30 days while you wait to see if UniteCT will pay your back rent.
  • You may also want to take a screenshot of your application status page and have that ready to share as well. If you have not yet applied for UniteCT, you must do so to receive the 30-day pause.
  • You can apply to UniteCT by going to https://portal.ct.gov/DOH/DOH/Programs/UniteCT. Write down your application number so you can share it with the court. Then notify your landlord by phone, email, and text that you have applied to UniteCT and ask them to complete their part of the application.

If the landlord refuses to participate in UniteCT, tenants should do the following:

  • Call the Connecticut Fair Housing Center at 860-247-4400 to do an intake. The Center is reviewing cases where the landlord refused to participate in UniteCT to determine if there is a violation of the Connecticut’s requirement that landlord’s accept housing assistance.
  • Apply for a security deposit and up to 12 months future rent to be paid to a new landlord through UniteCT.

UniteCT Updates

DOH continues to make changes to the UniteCT program to meet the needs of tenants and landlords. Check the UniteCT website and the guidance on the program frequently to get the latest updates. Currently, tenants eligible for UniteCT are entitled to:

  • Reasonable accommodations: People with disabilities who need assistance filling out an application for UniteCT or with any other aspect of the program, should send an email to UniteCTReasonableAccommodation@ct.gov or call 1-844-864-8328 and ask for a reasonable accommodation such as someone to help fill out an application, or upload documents, or any other change in the application process or program that will help the person who is disabled participate in the program.
  • Qualifying census tract: Applicants for UniteCT who live in census tracts where the majority of people have income at or below 80% of AMI are not required to upload any income documentation. The UniteCT pre-application will make the determination as to whether the applicants lives in a qualifying census tract.
  • Participation in other benefit programs qualify a tenant for UniteCT:  Applicants who receive benefits from Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, State Administered General Assistance (SAGA), and the state supplement will be eligible for UniteCT without additional income verification;
  • $15,000 in rental arrearage payments: Tenants will now be eligible to receive up to $15,000 in rental arrearage payments for any rent owed after March 13, 2020 regardless of the number of months owed. If, based on the application, it is clear the tenant needs more than $15,000 to clear their arrearage, UniteCT will review the application and determine if additional funds will be paid;
  • No need to write-off 15% of arrears:  Landlords will not be required to write-off 15% of the rental arrearage;
  • Tenants not obligated to contribute to future rent for 3 months: If tenants are eligible for prospective rental payments through UniteCT, the tenant will not be required to contribute any rent for the first three months of prospective payments;
  • Public and subsidized tenants eligible:  UniteCT will provide benefits to tenants who live in public or subsidized housing. Anyone who has been denied benefits because they live in public or subsidized housing should contact doh-unitect@ct.gov immediately. At present, UniteCT staff are working with housing authorities to determine if there is a way for housing authorities to submit bulk applications on behalf of their tenants for the program;

The UniteCT mobile tech bus will be at the following locations for the week starting
July 26, 2021:

UniteCT’s tech bus provides the necessary technology to apply for rental assistance. Tenants and housing providers who may not have access to the technology required to complete an application for rental assistance are encouraged to visit the bus. To learn more about the bus please contact the host agencies. There are no stops scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, July 26 and 27, 2021.

Guilford, CT

When:        Wednesday, July 28, 10 am – 3 pm

Location:   Guildford Social Services, 263 Church St, Guilford, CT 06437

Contact:    Tammy DeFrancesco, defrancescot@ci.guilford.ct.us, 203-453-8009

Waterbury, CT

When:        Thursday, July 29, 10 am – 3 pm

Location:   Court House, 300 Grand St. Waterbury CT 06702

Contact:    Denise Martinez, dmartinez@newoppinc.org, 203-598-1781

Bridgeport, CT

When:        Friday, July 30, 10am – 3pm

Location:   New Hope Baptist Church (parking lot), 1100 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06604

Contact:    Zeljka Trivunovic, ztrivunovic@alliancect.org, 203-366-8241

Help for homeowners

Connecticut is using federal Homeownership Assistance Funds to assist homeowner’s delinquent on payments: The American Recovery Plan included funding for homeowners in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure. Connecticut will receive approximately $123 million. DOH is working with CHFA to pilot a program with three mortgage services that will provide up to $20,000 in grants to homeowners whose income is at or below 80% of AMI and who are socially or economically disadvantaged. A pilot program is expected to begin in July 2021. The full program is expected to roll out in September 2021.

Fannie and Freddie expand use of interest rate reductions:  On June 30, 2021, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced that they would expand their interest rate reduction programs. Flex Modification terms will be adjusted for COVID-19 hardships making interest rate reduction possible for eligible borrowers, regardless of the borrower’s loan-to-value ratio.

FHFA closes gap between Fannie and Freddie moratorium and CFPB servicing moratorium: On June 29, 2021, FHFA announced it would extend its moratorium to protect borrowers until CFPB moratorium starts. The CFPB Mortgage Servicing Covid-19 Rule prohibits servicers from making a first notice or filing for foreclosure in most cases covered by the rule before December 31, 2021. Servicers will still be able to make a notice or filing for foreclosure on abandoned properties and those that had a foreclosure referral prior to March 2020, along with certain other exceptions. CFPB’s final rule will take effect August 31, 2021.

CFPB issues rules to facilitate transition as federal protections expire: On June 28, 2021, the CFPB issued rules to transition as federal foreclosure protections expire. The rules take effect on August 31, 2021 and ends on December 31, 2021. Under the rules, servicers can only start a foreclosure if the borrower:

  • Has abandoned the property;
  • Was more than 120 days behind on their mortgage before March 1, 2020;
  • Is more than 120 days behind on their mortgage payments and has not responded to specific required outreach from the mortgage servicer for 90 days; or
  • Has been evaluated for all options other than foreclosure and there are no available options to avoid foreclosure.

This protection applies to many, but not all, mortgages.

Foreclosure advice: The Center is holding Foreclosure Advice Virtual Sessions. Homeowners facing foreclosure can sign up for advice sessions over video or phone. These Sessions are in addition to the considerable number of videos and materials available at www.ctfairhousing.org.

Additional resources

Welfare liens on real property will be removed:  As part of legislation passed during the 2021 legislative session, the Department of Social Services is required to remove all liens put on any property as the result of the  receipt of Medicaid or cash assistance. In the past, DSS put a lien on any property (like a house or a condominium) owned by a client, former client, and legally liable relatives (someone who has a legal obligation to support someone who received benefits) who received Medicaid or cash assistance like TANF. The lien was equal to the amount paid in Medicaid or cash benefits. DSS can no longer put liens on property in an effort to recover any money paid out and any liens that are currently on any property must be removed. If you have a lien on your property, write to DSS at DSS.Resources@ct.gov.

VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR FAIR HOUSING RIGHTS IN ENGLISH, SPANISH, MANDARIN, VIETNAMESE, FARSI, RUSSIAN, ITALIAN, KREYOL, ARABIC, KHMER, AND TAGALOG.

Outreach:  To schedule trainings on COVID-19 protections for tenants, foreclosure prevention, fair housing or constituent outreach please contact Rashida Rattray, at rrattray@ctfairhousing.org

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