Legal Updates

2021 COVID-19 and Legal Updates

Evictions delay if borrower is affected by COVID-19.

Stern & Eisenberg | Superior Court of the State of Delaware – Admin. Order 2020-1 | January 18, 2021

Effective Tuesday, January 19, 2021, the attached Administrative Order 2020-1 is amended. Included in this order is Exhibit 1 (Affidavit of Compliance) which provides an easier process to comply with this order.

The Court is no longer requiring verification of other mortgages or verification of participation in any federal programs. It is a simple verification that the plaintiff is in compliance with federal, state, and local rules regarding COVID moratoriums.  Exhibit 1 is a state-mandated form and cannot be revised or edited. An attorney for the firm is permitted to execute the affidavit on the behalf of the client, just like the previous affidavit mandated by the court.

If you have an approved form regarding the Cares Act it can be filed in addition to the court’s mandated order if you feel that is necessary, but the approved form cannot be submitted in lieu of the Court mandated affidavit. The Fees will remain as previously agreed for the firm to draft and file this affidavit.

If you have any questions, please contact S&E  Managing Attorney in Delaware, Catherine Di Lorenzo, Esq., or the Stern & Eisenberg Value Department.

 

California is limiting all gatherings of more than 50 persons.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an order on June 1, 2020, extending foreclosure and eviction moratoriums in Florida until July 1, 2020. Also, on May 28, 2020, Broward County, Florida (Ft. Lauderdale) Chief Judge, Jack Tuter, issued an administrative order updating processes regarding the CARES Act for proceeding with foreclosures effective June 2, 2020.

Click here to view the order.

The Illinois Supreme Court has suggested that all courts seek to limit in-person court proceedings by rescheduling court events to a later date, especially jury trials and large docket calls, or, alternatively, by holding proceedings via telephone or video remote appearance where possible. In response, many Illinois counties have reduced or postponed for a 30-day period most pending mortgage foreclosure matters. The most-current information on court closures, which continues to change as new information is released and individual courts reassess their responses, can be found here: illinoiscourts.gov/Administrative/covid-19.asp. On March 16, 2020, the Circuit Court of Cook County issued a General Administrative order providing that “all mortgage foreclosures, evictions, orders for possession, and judicial sales, including those previously ordered and scheduled, are stayed for thirty (30) days.” All pending hearings will be continued by the assigned judge or clerk of court to a date at least 30 days beyond the presently scheduled date. The clerk’s office has indicated that new dates for all pending hearings should be issued in the next few days. What is currently being delayed? What is not currently being delayed? • Mediations/Case Management Conferences • Motions for Judgment (i.e., judgments of foreclosure and sale) • Motions for Entry of an Order Approving Sale (OAS) • Scheduling and/or court appearances on any non-emergency motion • Sales conducted by the Sheriff of Cook County• Filing new cases (First Legal) • Completing service of process • Placing publication notices • Filing motions and scheduling same for hearing on or after April 16, 2020 (subject to calendar availability) • We assume that the court will still entertain and enter agreed orders. (Whether they extend that to apply to Motions for Entry of a Consent Foreclosure remains to be seen.)

March 17, 2020: Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued an Executive Order No. 20-06 (order). In order to mitigate the economic effects of the spread of COVID-19, the order directs and orders all financial institutions operating in Kansas to “temporarily suspend the initiation of any mortgage foreclosure efforts or judicial proceedings and any commercial or residential eviction efforts or judicial proceedings until May 1, 2020.” The order is effective as of March 17, 2020. While the order does not specifically address completion or continuation of proceedings that were already initiated as of the effective date of the order, the intent and spirit of the order is to cease foreclosure and eviction proceedings. Out of an abundance of caution, pending further clarification from the Governor and the courts, we recommend the cancelation of sales and suspension of judicial proceedings related to foreclosure and eviction through and including May 1, 2020. We will be placing all such matters on hold until after May 1, 2020 or until such time as we receive further guidance.

Governor’s Order JBE 2020-30 has affected all Sheriff sales dates set up to 4/13/20. Order is for the term of March 17 to April 13. All sales for all Parishes that are set through April 13, 2020, are cancelled. Acadia, Beauregard, Bienville, Caddo, Calcasieu, Caldwell, Cameron, Catahoula Counties are closed to the public, accepting mailed recordings, and are still indexing. Allen County is closed to the public, but they are still accepting filings via mail, overnight delivery, and e-recordings. Ascension and Assumption County are limiting their hours from 8:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. and are accepting filings via mail and walk-up. Bossier County is open from 9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m., is closed to the public, but is accepting filings via email and overnight delivery. Claiborne County is open 8:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m., and is accepting filings via mail and overnight delivery. Concordia, DeSoto, East Baton Rouge, East Carroll Counties are accepting docs via mail and overnight delivery. East Feliciana County is closed to the public and open from 8:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Franklin County is closed to the public but open 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Accepting mail and overnight deliveries and has a dropbox. Still recording and indexing. Grant County is closed to the public but open from 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Accepting mail and overnight deliveries. NO dropbox. Still recording and indexing. Iberia County is closed to the public but open 8:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Accepting mail and overnight deliveries and has a dropbox. Still recording and indexing. Iberville County is closed to the public. Accepting drop off by door, mail, and overnight deliveries. Still recording and indexing. Jackson County is closed to the public. Accepting mail and working on getting dropbox for overnight deliveries. Still recording and indexing. Jefferson County is accepting mail and overnight deliveries. Still recording and indexing. Jefferson Davis County is closed to the public but open 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Accepting mail and overnight deliveries. NO dropbox. Still recording and indexing. La Salle County is still accepting mail and overnight deliveries. Recording and indexing. Lafayette County is closed to the public. Has dropbox, accepting mail, and overnight deliveries. Still recording and indexing. Lafourche is still accepting mail and overnight deliveries. Recording and indexing. Lincoln County is closed to the public. Accepting mail and overnight packages. Still recording and indexing. Madison County is closed to the public but accepting drive by recordings between 9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. and mailed recordings; also indexing. Morehouse County is closed to the public but accepting drive-by recordings and mailed recordings; also indexing. Natchitoches County hours are 10:30 a.m.–1:00 pm; filings can be mailed or overnighted. Also accepting e-recordings. Orleans County is accepting recording via mailed recordings; also indexing. Ouachita County is closed to the public. Accepting mail and overnight packages. Still recording and indexing. Waiving fax filing fees. Plaquemines County is closed to the public. Accepting mail and overnight packages. Still recording and indexing. Pointe Coupee, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine Counties are accepting mailed recordings; also indexing. St. Bernard County is closed. St. Charles County is accepting mailed recordings; also indexing. St. Helena County is closed to the public. Accepting mail and overnight packages. Still recording and indexing. St. James, St. John the Baptist Counties are accepting mailed recordings; also indexing. St. Landry County is closed to the public. Accepting mail and overnight packages. Still recording and indexing. St. Martin County is not open to the public; still accepting mail and has a dropbox in the lobby; still indexing. St. Mary is closed to the public. Accepting mail and overnight packages. Still recording and indexing. St. Tammany County is closed to the public, accepting mailed recordings; still indexing. Tangipahoa County is closed to the public; open 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. to process recording received by e-recording; working on a dropbox; still indexing. Tensas County is closed to the public; accepting mail; still indexing. Terrebonne County is closed to the public and accepting mail. You can drop off recordings at the front door and someone will hand deliver them to the recording office; still indexing. Union County is closed to the public; accepting mail; drop-off at front door; still indexing. Vermilion County is closed to the public; accepting mail; no drop off; still indexing. Vernon County is closed to the public; accepting mail; can drop off in person at the front door; still indexing. Washington County is limiting access, accepting mailings, e-recording is encouraged. Webster County is closed to the public; accepting mail; front-door drop-off with security guard; still indexing. West Carroll County is closed to the public; prefers e-recording; Not guaranteeing they are accepting mail-ins; still indexing. West Carroll County is closed to the public; accepting mail; still indexing. West Feliciana County is closed to the public; dropbox at the building; accepting mail; still indexing. Winn County is closed to the public; accepting mail. Hours are 8:00 a.m.–12:00 pm; still indexing. BANKRUPTCY COURTS: All courts remain open for filing purposes. No restrictions on filings. Hearings being held over the phone instead of in person.

Now allowing e-notary as an emergency solution.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Judicial Court issued an order, authorizing attorneys and self-represented parties, in all courts and case types, to electronically sign documents served on another party or filed with the court. The order is effective April 7, 2020.

UPDATE: Stern & Eisenberg | Mercer County | December 30, 2020

Sheriff has postponed all sales until April 7th, 2021.

All previously shared updates regarding foreclosure, bankruptcy, eviction and any of our other practice areas impacted by COVID-19 can be reviewed by visiting the Stern & Eisenberg COVID Alert’s page on our website here.

All foreclosure sales postponed until after April 30. UPDATE: Warren County sales have been adjourned to May 18 at the earliest.

UPDATE: Stern & Eisenberg | January 25, 2021  | Suffolk County

On January 25, 2021, the Suffolk County Administrative Judge issued an order which effectively stays all residential foreclosure proceedings until February 27, 2021. All motions must be made returnable after February 27, 2021.

The Order issued by Suffolk County Court mirrors the Administrative Order which was released by the Office of the Chief Administrative Judge in New York on December 28, 2020, with regards to the Hardship Declaration Process.
All sales currently scheduled for before February 27, 2021 will be cancelled. Any motions currently on the docket or will be filed, will have a return date after February 27, 2021.

All previously shared updates regarding foreclosure, bankruptcy, eviction and any of our other practice areas impacted by COVID-19 can be reviewed by visiting the Stern & Eisenberg COVID Alert’s page on our website here.

Contact the Stern & Eisenberg Value Department with questions.

UPDATE: Stern & Eisenberg | January 7, 2021 | New York State

On the eve of the end of the year holidays, New York passed additional legislation extending certain restrictions on the enforcement of certain mortgage holder rights based on the type of property and ownership interest in the residential property. Covered foreclosure proceedings are stayed until 02/27/2021 pursuant to this act. The legislation, the Covid Emergency Prevention Act, can be reviewed here, as well as the Administrative Order addressing Foreclosure Matters and the Administrative Order addressing Eviction Matters.

The legislation applies to residential real estate in which the owner or mortgagor of the property is a natural person and owns 10 or fewer dwelling units. The various dwelling units may be spread across multiple buildings. The units in question must include the primary residence of the owner/mortgagor who may seek COVID relief and must otherwise be occupied by a tenant or available for rent. The legislation is vague as to a mortgage solely secured by a rental property where the owner/mortgagor does not reside; a property in which the tenant will be separately protected by anti-eviction law. The firm has inquired with the Courts as to their interpretation of the Administrative Order, and the firm has been told that foreclosures already in process will not move forward until 02/27/2021. The shares in co-ops, unlike normal foreclosure processes, are included in the definition of this legislation. Nothing in the Order precludes the lender from seeking an Court Order for an Assignment of Rents.

Commercial loans to a business entity are clearly not covered by the legislation. Additionally, if the residential property is not owner-occupied, not tenant occupied and not available for rent, then it is also not covered by this legislation. Loans that were made, insured purchased or securitized by a corporate governmental agency are also excluded, which would seem to suggest that acquisition of a loan that was once insured by a GSE is not subject to the current legislation.

The legislation establishes a new process whereby borrowers/mortgagors will be given yet another opportunity to seek a stay of proceedings at the expense of the lenders by submitted a hardship affidavit. The affidavit will need to be sent to eligible owners/mortgagors on pending matters and on new matters (at least during the life of this legislation). For all pending matters, the Court will mail the copies of the hardship declaration. How the Court will accomplish this task and by what date is not established and the legislation does not give a date by which those Hardship Declarations will be sent by the Court or how this will be tracked for receipt by the owner/mortgagor. We are looking into the possibility of our clients sending the pending matter hardship declarations in order to avert a potential delay by the Court failing to do so in a timely manner, however, we do not know if this effort would be accepted.

As to new matters, the Hardship Declaration must be sent prior to initiating a foreclosure; and our clients must attest to the “service” (not defined in the Administrative Order, whether this is personal service or via mailing) of the Hardship Declaration. Before initiating the foreclosure, the client will also be required to confirm that the client has not received a Hardship Declaration from the owner/mortgagor. Attached here are copies of the Declaration for Foreclosure Matters and Eviction Matters.

This stay can only be extended to 05/01/20201 if the owner/mortgagor is actively taking part in the proceedings by submitting a hardship affidavit or if the a JFS has been granted. If the JFS has been granted, a status conference must occur before the sale can proceed, even if there has already been a prior COVID conference. Again, the prior COVID conference will not satisfy this requirement for post-judgment cases. Memorandums addressing Foreclosure Matters and Eviction Matters are also attached. 

The legislation presents an additional delay on certain lenders not being able to proceed forward while other lenders are exempted from this delay statute. The above announcement provides the basic framework for this additional burden placed upon certain lenders and does not examine the potential of the legislation violating due process and/or taking provisions and protections under the United States Constitution under the V and XIV amendments.

USDC District of Oregon: All court locations closed to the public only, but available by telephone, e-filing continues, conventional filings must go in specified dropboxes rather than to the filing window. Civil trials, criminal trials, and in-court appearances scheduled before 4/26 are continued. Telephonic hearings are still being held. Statewide Circuit: The court’s order only covers through March 27, but we expect there will be an additional order further extending the time period. Level 3 Restriction per Chief Justice Order 20-006 through at least March 27, 2020. All jury trials (except criminal trials where there is a statutory or constitutional right to a speedy trial that would be jeopardized) are postponed without motion through March 27. No new trials scheduled between now and March 27. For all Forcible Entry and Detailer cases, the first appearance required in those cases is continued without a motion, and all trials scheduled before March 27 are continued without a motion. Landlords can file a motion for an order requiring the tenant to pay rent while the case is pending. All in-person hearings/trials postponed, and nothing new will be scheduled during level 3 status. Applies to Circuit, Appellate, and Supreme levels. Additional instructions per county press releases/PJOs: Benton County Discourages people from coming into court unless they have something scheduled. Court staff are working remotely to the extent possible; parties are encouraged to call in to ascertain availability of persons. One judge is available at the court each day. Clackamas County: There is a moratorium on evictions until at least 4/30; reduced phone line and clerk availability (10 a.m.–4:00 p.m. only); and no meetings or conferences of more than five people are allowed. Columbia County: Limited public counter hours: Monday–Friday, 9:00–11:00 a.m./2:00–4:00 p.m. Coos/Curry County: Court only open for legally required in-person services. Gilliam County: Operating in-person by appointment only. Hood River County: Hours of operation are Tuesday–Thursday, 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. Parties are advised to call ahead to schedule the filing of time sensitive documents. Jackson County: Court only open for legally required in-person services. Josephine County: Court only open for legally required in-person services. Lincoln County: Trials are cancelled and won’t be rescheduled until at least 5/1/20. Marion County: Court only open for legally required in-person services; limited phone hours. Multnomah County: Phone lines closed, filing windows open. All eviction proceedings are suspended until at least April 30, 2020, or later. The Multnomah County Sheriff’s office is not allowed to enforce any evictions while the State of Oregon is in a state of emergency. Further, a moratorium is in effect for any residential evictions where the tenant can establish they fell behind in payments due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and they will be allowed six months to cure any deficiency in their payments before they can be evicted. Morrow/Umatilla County: Hermiston location is closed—must contact Pendleton location. Polk County: Hours of operation: Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m./1:00–3:00 p.m. Sherman County: Hours of operation: by appointment only. Tillamook County: Limited public counter hours Monday-Friday, 1:00-2:00 p.m.; phone lines remain open. Wasco County: Hours of operation: Monday-Wednesday-Friday 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.; call ahead to schedule filing of time sensitive documents. Washington County: Phone lines are open Monday–Friday, 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. For all Forcible Entry and Detailer cases, the first appearance required in those cases is continued without a motion until April 30, 2020, and all trials scheduled are continued without a motion. Landlords can file a motion for an order requiring the tenant to pay rent while the case is pending. Wheeler County Hours of operation: by appt only. Yamhill County: Hours of operation: Monday–Friday, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m./1:00–3:00 p.m. UPDATE: All court locations closed to the public only, but available by telephone. All court locations closed to the public only, but available by telephone. E-filing continues—conventional filings must go in specified dropboxes rather than the filing window. Civil trials, criminal trials, and in-court appearances scheduled before 4/26 are continued. Telephonic hearings are still being held. Standing Order 2020-7 re telephonic appearances is in effect for 90 days. Amended CJO 20-006 circulated 03/27/20. CJ working to extend/suspend timelines currently set by statute or rule. Category 3 essential hearings conducted remotely. FED—Petitioners allowed to file complaints and court will issue summons, but first appearances won’t be scheduled until at least 6/1/20. No party shall be required to appear at the date on the summons and the time allowed to file an answer will be extended. The court will allow time for an answer to be filed before scheduling the appearance date. Landlords wishing to collect rents pending trial must file a motion for the court to enter an order. All in-person hearings/trials postponed and nothing new will be scheduled during level 3 status. Requests for telephonic appearances for certain civil motions are waived. UPDATE: All civil trials scheduled before July 6 are being reset.

UPDATE: Stern & Eisenberg | Philadelphia County | January 28, 2021

As the number Sheriff Sales in Philadelphia County have amassed during the COVID Moratorium, the Sheriff of Philadelphia County has decided to split the sheriff sales currently scheduled for 02/21/2021 into two separate dates. The Philadelphia Sheriff Sales currently scheduled for 02/02/2021 have been postponed to May 4, 2021 or June 1, 2021 per the Administrative Order. 

UPDATE: Stern & Eisenberg | Delaware County | January 7, 2021

The Pennsylvania Delaware County Sheriff Sales presently scheduled for January 5th, February 19th and March 19 have been postponed to April 16, 2021. The full Order can be reviewed here

UPDATE: Stern & Eisenberg | Philadelphia County | December 28, 2020

Sales scheduled for January 5, 2021 are postponed to April 6, 2021. Plaintiffs/Lenders must file a preacipe prior to February 19, 2021, along with a notice to all occupants, which must also be served on the Sheriff and the Defendants to reserve the April 6, 2021 Sale date. Additionally, a new preacipe must be filed requesting the Writ be returned by the Sheriff to the office of Judicial Records in which case a new writ of execution must be filed and served as provided by rules of court. The full Order can be reviewed here.
All previously shared updates regarding foreclosure, bankruptcy, eviction and any of our other practice areas impacted by COVID-19 can be reviewed by visiting the Stern & Eisenberg COVID Alert’s page on our website here.

The state has ordered all non-essential businesses to close for the foreseeable future. Only pertinent companies are allowed to be open: grocery stores, gas stations. Courts have cancelled all hearings at this time. All foreclosure sales scheduled for April 6 cancelled and rescheduled for June 8. Dauphin County is adjourning foreclosure sales from April 16 to June 11. UPDATE: Westmoreland sales are being adjourned from May 4 to June 1.

WV court shutdown extended to May 1.

Update: Multi-State Foreclosure Laws & Regulations

One of our partners, Hello Solutions, compiled the latest state foreclosure law changes so you don’t have to. See the most recent changes below, presented by members of the Hello Solutions attorney network, and visit the COVID-19 multi-state update page anytime for more information. We’re adding more states, and updating information regularly, so please stay tuned.