DS News

DS News January 2021

DSNews delivers stories, ideas, links, companies, people, events, and videos impacting the mortgage default servicing industry.

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Page 49 of 99

48 Legal Industry Update STATE FOCUS By:Michelle Garcia Gilbert Second, nearly 16.5 million renter households have at least one worker in an industry impacted by the pandemic, namely food service, entertainment, and tourism. Nearly 50 million people live in a renter household that experienced immediate job or income losses. CURRENT MORATORIA As of late November 2020, a total of twenty-four states, including four territories and the District of Columbia, have some type of eviction order in place, extending a moratorium on evictions or providing relief to tenants in eviction. 32 A de facto moratoria caused by court closings and limited re- openings helped slow eviction proceedings. 33 Other states rely upon the order issued on September 4, 2020, set to expire December 31, 2020, by the Centers for Disease Control that prohibits landlords/owners from evicting a tenant based upon public health concerns in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. e CDC order included a declaration form to be completed by tenants in an effort to avoid eviction by affirming under penalty that they have been financially impacted, and if evicted, would likely become homeless. 34 CALL TO ACTION Consumer housing groups urgently call for rental relief action as we head into 2021, and they offer up numerous studies and data showing the dire and threatening environment for tenants, the majority of whom rely somewhat inadequately on the CDC order. 35 It is noted that the CDC order does not necessarily prevent the sending of an eviction notice, or filing of an eviction case, or even the actual lockout, which is often dependent on the application by various state judges. 36 As an aside, there are not nearly as many studies completed on the pandemic's impact on landlords, and researchers at Iowa State University launched a study focused on landlords as of September 16, 2020. 37 In deference to this publication, many scholarly articles on the impact of the pandemic on default servicing industry have been and continue to be highlighted, though uncertainty exists about what will be the ultimate impact on tenants and on the overall country in relation to impacted tenants and landlords. Of the 44 million rental units in the U.S., about half are owned by individual investors, who are less likely to sustain continued loss of rental income compared to the other half of business entity investors. 38 WHAT COMES NEXT ere appears to be some basis in fact about a pending avalanche of evictions. At this time, most states lack eviction moratoria and housing assistance measures according to the COVID-19 Housing Policy Scorecard created by the Eviction Lab at Princeton University. Courts across the country have resumed eviction hearings, and the Eviction Lab tracks in current time the number of evictions nationally.39 For example, as of November 28, 2020, in the 27 cities tracked by the Lab, 151,165 evictions have been filed, showing an upward trend since March 15, 2020. Global advisory firm Stout Risius Ross, LLC, estimates that 11.6 million evictions could be filed in the U.S. in the next four months.40 Compare that to the 61 million evictions filed between 2000 and 2016, an average of 3.6 million evictions annually. 41 Another Congressional stimulus bill looms on the horizon, along with a rise in COVID-19 cases and a pending vaccine that won't be fully dispatched until the summer of 2021. So, it looks like at least another six months of financial strain for the rental market. Michelle Garcia Gilbert is President and CEO of Gilbert Garcia Group, P.A. She handles a wide variety of legal matters for the firm and has substantial litigation experience in both default and non-default cases, including jury and non-jury trials, motion practice, and appellate oral argument, throughout the state of Florida. She has managed the firm's expansion into probate, estate planning, business transactional, and corporate law. She practiced real estate and business law since 1989, specializing in default servicing legal work, including litigated foreclosures, real estate closings, evictions, and commercial litigation. Nearly 16.5 million renter households have at least one worker in an industry impacted by the pandemic, namely food service, entertainment, and tourism.

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