Here are some answers if you or a loved one are worried about not being able to make rent or the mortgage during COVID-19.
COVID-19 is causing huge hits to our economy. Social distancing results in current and painful economic losses. But the Skagit economy would be devastated if we don’t stop COVID-19. More people would become sick and die. We must pay now or pay a lot more later. We need to stay home and stay healthy. But what if you or a loved one is worried about not being able to make rent or the mortgage? What if you faced housing problems even before COVID hit?
There is help for people who are struggling. If you do not have enough money in savings to cover your mortgage or rent, contact your lender or property owner immediately. Lenders and property owners may work with you to waive late fees, set up a repayment plan, or make another plan.
Renters and Eviction
At this time, renters do not need to worry about being evicted for not paying rent. On March 18, Governor Jay Inslee announced a 30-day stop on evictions. Skagit County Superior Court also issued an order suspending all eviction hearings until at least April 24, 2020.
What does this mean for you? It means property owners can’t issue “Pay or Vacate” notices if you can’t pay rent during this period. Also, the Sheriff’s Office will not enforce eviction orders because you can’t pay. You still might be evicted for crimes committed on the property, causing a nuisance to the community, or public health issues. If you are a renter and have concerns about being evicted, you can call the CLEAR (Coordinated Legal Education, Advice and Referral) Hotline operated by NW Justice Project at 1-888-201-1014.
There is help for people whose mortgages that are federally backed or insured. Mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days. FHA-insured single-family mortgages are also included. For help, call your mortgage servicer, which is the company listed on your mortgage statement. Options include:
- Payment relief for up to 12 months
- Waiving late fees
- Suspending reports to credit agencies
- Loan modifications
Interested in more information? The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions has a page with all the up-to-date information – click here to reach it. The website also includes info about help on:
- Paying your utility bill
- Student loans
- Other resources
New resources are likely to become available, so keep checking in on the website.
Unfortunately, scammers look for chances to take advantage of us during emergencies. Be careful of emails, texts, or social media posts that may be selling fake products or promise quick financial fixes for a fee.
Want to Help?
If you are in a position to help others in dire housing situations, considering donating to: