Creditors Approach to the COVID Crisis FAQ
(COVID Crisis) – Policies are changing every day, please contact us to discuss solutions that may suit you
- Can I skip my rent payment during COVID crisis: This will be up to your landlord. Often times, the landlord has to continue to pay the mortgage. So, the landlord will still look for rent payments. Recently, the federal agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac offered to freeze mortgage payments for owners of multifamily properties if they agree to stop evictions during the COVID crisis. This should slow down the eviction process for loans guaranteed by the government. Be careful, most landlords do not have loans with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and this applies only to apartment complexes. If your landlord is threatening eviction, please contact us to discuss solutions.
- Can I skip my mortgage payment: When the Southeast was devastated by hurricanes, mortgage companies offered to “defer” payments for 90 days. This was not a forgiveness of the payment but required borrowers to come up with the deferred payments over a period of time. Sometimes allowing one year to make up the payments. Just be aware that you will be required to make up the deferment of payments after this COVID crisis passes. Check your lender’s webpage to see what assistance it is providing. If you find yourself too far behind on your mortgage wee you do not think you can catch up, contact us to discuss solutions.
- What about my car payments: Each car lender will take its own approach. Some creditors have already started to allow payments to be deferred for 120 days. They are not charging late fees but interest will continue to accrue. You will have to let them know you are deferring the payments. Do not merely skip payments without requesting to defer. If you are in fear of losing your car, contact us to discuss solutions before your car gets repossessed.
- What about credit card payments: There are no programs in place at this time, but it would not be surprising if credit card companies waived late fees. While late fees may be waived, interest may continue to accrue resulting in a higher amount due than if you made payments. In the meantime, minimum required payments should attempt to be made until things get back to normal. Check the creditor’s webpage for more information. If your credit card debt is unmanageable, contact us to discuss solutions.
- I’m already in chapter 13 bankruptcy, do I have to make my plan payments: Consult your attorney on this question. The Senate passed a bill on March 26, 2020, that permitted confirmed cases to be extended for a period of 84 months. Additionally, the Trustee for Broward and Palm Beach counties recently announced that the Trustee will not file motions to dismiss cases that are behind. Talk to your attorney, if you have one, about how you can modify your plan payments.
- I’m already in foreclosure, what is going to happen: Some courts have suspended foreclosure sales until May 1, 2020. Any sales that were scheduled to take place before that date will need to be rescheduled. Likewise, the courts are not hearing any matters that require testimony. Motions will still be heard telephonically but trials are suspended indefinitely. Consequently, orders setting sales will not be entered unless a motion for summary judgment is granted. If you want to discuss solutions to save your home, contact us as soon as possible.
- Should I use my retirement to pay debts: This is a personal decision that must be weighed strategically. If you are struggling to pay food, power, and living expenses, retirement savings should be considered. If you are seeking to use those funds to pay debts, you should give it a lot of thought. In Florida, those funds are protected and not reachable by creditors.
If the COVID Crisis has affected you or your business and your current or future ability to pay debts, and you would like to discuss how bankruptcy could help you, please contact our office. We are available for teleconferences.