Fair Housing Response 4.27.20

ADDRESSING CLIENTS’ NEEDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

April 27, 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.

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:

  • A landlord is not allowed to charge an extra month’s security deposit because you are paying with a voucher or because you are paying rent with a RAP or Section 8 voucher. If you suspect you are being treated differently because you have a security deposit voucher or a voucher to pay the rent, call the Center at (888)247-4401 or by email at info@ctfairhousing.org. Read more about source of income discrimination by clicking here for information in both Spanish and English.
  • There are reports nationwide that incidents of domestic violence are increasing. If you are a victim of domestic violence, there is help. If you need help or just someone to talk to, click here or call (888) 774-2900. If your landlord has told you that you must continue to pay rent if you leave because of domestic violence, this may be illegal. Call the Center at (888)247-4401 or by email at info@ctfairhousing.org.

 

What happened on April 27, 2020:

  • 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.
  • Social distancing is difficult if you live in a multifamily apartment building: Hartford and other large cities in Connecticut continue to see increases in the number of people infected by the coronavirus because social distancing is so much more difficult in multifamily housing than in single-family homes. Tenants share hallways, laundries, stairways, and elevators dramatically increasing the number of times people can be exposed to people who may be infected. For more on this story, click here.
  • Social distancing has saved lives. According to data from New Haven based non-profit DataHaven, social distancing efforts in Connecticut may have already saved 10,000 lives.
  • Connecticut Courts begin to open: Civil Short Calendar will be reinstated effective May 4, 2020 for non-arguable matters, but no short calendar court sessions will be held until the Judicial Branch resumes normal operations. This means cases where the person allegedly owes money (the defendant) is not represented by an attorney or where the person owing money has not filed any paperwork with the court can have a judgment entered against them. For more information, click here. The Connecticut federal courts will be holding hearings via Zoom in the near future.
  • Mortgages in forbearance continue to grow: The number of mortgages in forbearance increased from 5.5% on April 16 to 6.4% on April 24. This is compared to only .25% of all loans in forbearance as of March 2, 2020. This has resulted in $754 billion in unpaid principal and interest. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac report that 5.6% of their loans are in forbearance while Ginnie Mae reports that 8.9% of all FHA/VA loans are in forbearance. For more information, click here.
  • Connecticut’s legal services offices will hold a briefing on COVID-19 related housing issues: On April 29, 2020 at 12:30 p.m., Connecticut’s legal services programs will hold a briefing on housing issues and the COVID-19 crisis. Send questions in advance to housingbriefing@ctlegal.org and click here to register for the briefing.
  • 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.

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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