Fair Housing COVID-19 Response 4.30.20

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

April 30, 2020

Important Deadlines:  Tenants who know they cannot pay May rent must notify their landlord in writing by May 10, 2020 that they can’t pay rent due to full or partial unemployment, or significant loss in revenue or increase in expenses due to the pandemic to get a 60-day extension to pay the rent.

For letter and text templates to your landlord, click here.

Resources for tenants and homeowners:

  • Click here to understand current tenant rent relief options in Spanish and English.
  • Click here to find more details in our tenant FAQ.
  • Click here to understand current rights for homeowners in Spanish and English.
  • Click here to understand how fair housing can protect you during the COVID-19 crisis. (Recently added Tagalog and Khmer translations to our guidance now available in 11 languages.)
  • Need to have your subsidized rent recalculated due to income loss? The Rent Recalculation Request tool can be accessed here in Spanish and English.
  • To sign up for our daily update fill out the form

 

Fair housing issues and COVID-19:

  • Landlords have been refusing to do needed repair work in apartments because they believe the tenant has COVID-19. If the tenant is disabled, this may be housing discrimination. For more information about the fair housing rights of people who are disabled in Spanish and English, click here. If the repair is an emergency or is severely interfering with your use of the apartment, call the Board of Health in your town. They are still required to act on emergencies.
  • April is Fair Housing Month! The federal Fair Housing Act was passed on April 11, 1968 and was designed to stop individual acts of discrimination as well as to tasking federal, state, and local governments with promoting integration.  If you think you have been the victim of housing discrimination, call the Center at (888)247-440 or email us at info@ctfairhousing.org.

 

 

 

What happened on April 29, 2020:

  • Unemployment continues to surge: More people have filed for unemployment benefits this week as people continue to shelter in place and businesses remain closed. The need for assistance for tenants and landlords will also spike in the next few weeks as more tenants are unable to pay rent and landlords are unable to pay taxes or maintain their properties. For more on the story click here. For information on how the Center and the civil legal services agencies in Connecticut are asking the State to assist landlords and tenants during this crisis, click
  • Municipalities not receiving federal assistance: Despite the CARES Act which passed in March and was designed to provide some assistance to local governments, municipalities in Connecticut are reporting they have not yet received any money. In fact, all are reporting large drops in income as the result of the Governor’s order granting tax relief to residents. Many municipalities will not collect the real estate taxes they are owed without rental market stabilization funds that helps tenant pay rent. For more on this story, click here.
  • Tenants cannot pay rent: As May 1 approaches, more tenants are reporting they will be unable to pay the rent. Even those tenants receiving stimulus money and unemployment benefits report that they must use that money to buy food for their families. To read more about the growing rent crisis, click here and here and here.
  • Borrowers need clarification on forbearance repayments: While Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac each issued statements that borrowers are not required to repay the payments missed during a forbearance all at once when the forbearance period ends, many other loan services have not given that directive to their borrowers. Many borrowers in forbearance have been told they must come up with a lump sum payment at the end of the forbearance period or face foreclosure. For more on this story, click here. For more information on the guidance sent out by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, click here.
  • Mortgages in forbearance continue to grow: The Mortgage Bankers Association’s latest survey on forbearance volume reveals that the total number mortgages in forbearances rose to 6.99%, with FHA/VA loans at nearly 10%. Analysts expect these numbers to grow once again when May mortgage payments become due. For more information on this story, click here.
  • Outreach: Stay tuned for two important webinars coming soon. We will present on COVID-19 related housing discrimination and temporary eviction protections.
  • Outreach: Staff continue to hold fair housing trainings and COVID-19 housing resource workshops via Zoom with social service agencies, direct service providers, and invested stakeholders. If your agency would find a short resource webinar or fair housing training helpful during this crisis please contact Shaznene Hussain, the Center’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, at Shussain@ctfairhousing.org

 

Still needed to ensure housing stability:

 

  • Help for tenants who cannot pay their rent.
  • Payments to landlords to allow them to maintain their buildings and continue to provide housing.
  • Bar on mortgage companies filing foreclosure complaints. More than 625 have been filed since the Governor declared a public health and civil preparedness emergency, including several that are banned by the agreement banks and credit unions struck with the Governor and the Department of Banking.
  • Municipalities need to comply with Executive Order 7S and make it easy for their constituents to participate in either a tax deferral or reduced interest program.

 

More external COVID-19 resources can be found on our website here.

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

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