Among those actions is a moratorium on certain foreclosure and eviction proceedings implemented by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Secretary Ben Carson, in consultation with President Donald Trump and the Coronavirus Task Force, authorized the changes with respect to single family homeowners that have FHA-insured mortgages for 60 days from Wednesday, March 18. Further, some local governments have taken similar actions to protect residents during the economic uncertainty of the pandemic.
“Today’s actions will allow households who have an FHA-insured mortgage to meet the challenges of COVID-19 without fear of losing their homes, and help steady market concerns,” said Carson, in an announcement. “The health and safety of the American people is of the utmost importance to the Department, and the halting of all foreclosure actions and evictions for the next 60 days will provide homeowners with some peace of mind during these trying times.”
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According to HUD, the FHA is encouraging servicers to offer loss mitigation options to “distressed borrowers” with the aim of preventing foreclosure. Forbearance, loan modifications, and other payment relief options are among some of the measures servicers could deploy to help financially strained homeowners, it states.
“This is an uncertain time for many Americans, particularly those who could experience a loss of income. As such, we want to provide FHA borrower households with some immediate relief given the current circumstances,” said Federal Housing Commissioner Brian Montgomery, in a statement. “Our actions today make it clear where the priority needs to be.”
DOJ Makes Changes to Continue to Protect Customers Through Health Emergency
Additionally, the Department of Justice announced changes to its investigation processes during the nationwide rollback of activities and services stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, it has adopted a number of changes to “civil merger investigation processes” as it hopes to continue to protect consumers amid new guidance from health authorities.
“As the Antitrust Division takes steps to protect the health and safety of its work force and the parties that appear before it, these process changes will ensure that the Division can continue to review transactions efficiently and effectively,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim. “The Division remains open for business, and we will continue to carry out our mission to protect competition and the American consumer. We are in this together and intend to work cooperatively with the business community on pending mergers, consistent with our responsibilities under the antitrust laws and to protect the health and safety our employees and the public.”
The DOJ is asking parties with pending or upcoming merger proposals to allow for 30 additional days for timing agreements upon document and transaction reviews. It is also going to allow electronic filing for certain submissions, conduct meetings via video conference or phone and postpone depositions until they can be rescheduled and conducted via videoconferencing, according to the department.