Federal & State Protections

Here’s what you need to know about the state and federal protections for renters and homeowners, in response to COVID-19.

Federal Guidelines:
 

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Later this year, Virginia will launch the Virginia Mortgage Relief Program, which will provide homeowners with assistance to prevent and/or ease mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures and displacement of homeowners experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic. Financial hardship could include an increase in living expenses, child care, change in household size, job loss or reduction in income, etc. The Commonwealth of Virginia expects to receive approximately $250 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds through the U.S. Department of Treasury. These funds are intended to support homeowners facing housing instability resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Virginia Homeowners will be able to request assistance when the program launches in early fall 2021.

>  Learn and read about the Department of Treasury Homeowner Assistance Fund Plan (Virginia Mortgage Relief Program), as submitted to Treasury for approval. [English PDF]  [Spanish PDF]

> Consolidated Term Sheet [English PDF]​  [Spanish PDF]

Foreclosure and eviction moratorium for federally backed mortgage loans: The foreclosure and eviction moratorium has been extended until September 30, 2021 for federally backed mortgage loans (FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac).

Help for Renters: If you're having trouble making rent payments as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, you're not alone. Fortunately, federal, state and local governments are taking action to offer relief. Learn more

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The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) provided numerous temporary protections for homeowners and renters. Below is a recap of the CARES Act.

 

  • Mortgage Relief: Protection for homeowners with federally backed mortgages.
     

  • Forbearance: If you experience financial hardship due to the coronavirus public health crisis, you have a right to request a forbearance for up to 180 days. The right to request forbearance currently runs through September 30, 2021.  Depending on when you originally request forbearance, you may also have the right to request one extension for up to another 180 days, as well as up to two additional three-month extensions beyond that. You must contact your loan servicer to request this forbearance. There will be no other fees, penalties or additional interest (beyond scheduled amounts) added to your account.


If you don’t have a federally backed mortgage, such as an FHA loan, you still may have relief options through your mortgage servicer or from your state. Current Virginia law requires a court to grant a 30-day stay of foreclosure proceedings when a homeowner can demonstrate to the court that the failure to pay was due to COVID-19; this provision will remain in effect through the end of September 2021, 90 days after the state of emergency expires (the state of emergency expired 6/30/2021).

  • Renter Relief: Current Virginia law requires a court to grant a 60-day continuance of eviction proceedings when a tenant can demonstrate to the court that the failure to pay was due to COVID-19; this provision will remain in effect through the end of September 2021, 90 days after the state of emergency expires. The CARES Act also requires landlords to provide a 30-day notice to tenants prior to eviction. The CARES Act covers properties supported by HUD, USDA, and Treasury (Low Income Housing Tax Credit), and properties with federally backed mortgages (e.g., FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac).

* Federal Guidelines credited to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

State Guidelines:

Current law requires landlords and tenants to cooperate with each other in matters regarding nonpayment of rent and applying for rental assistance based on income eligibility and availability of rental assistance funds. If you feel like this isn’t happening, you should contact an attorney to learn more about your legal rights.​

  • House Bill 1420 caps late fees for rent payments at 10 percent of the periodic rent or 10 percent of the remaining balance due, whichever is lesser. This will help prevent cascading late fees, allowing charges only on the amount due.
     

  • House Bill 340 delays rental evictions or mortgage foreclosures for individuals who are not currently covered under state or local protections or through the federal CARES Act. Under this new law, a tenant may receive a 60-day continuance of an eviction proceeding if they appear in court and provide written evidence they are not receiving payments or wages due to the state of emergency declared by the Governor. A homeowner may receive a 30-day stay of foreclosure proceedings if they appear in court and provide written evidence that they are not receiving payments or wages due to the state of emergency declared by the Governor. These protections will remain in effect through the end of September 2021, 90 days after the state of emergency expires.
     

  • Support for Impacted Businesses: Small businesses and nonprofit organizations throughout the Commonwealth affected by the COVID-19 public health crisis can now apply for low-interest federal disaster loans of up to $500,000 from the SBA to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other expenses. To submit a loan application through the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
     

  • Faster Unemployment Benefits: Governor Northam has directed the Commissioner of the Virginia Employment Commission to waive the one-week waiting period to ensure workers receive benefits as soon as possible.
     

  • Fewer Restrictions: For individuals receiving unemployment insurance, Governor Northam has directed the Virginia Employment Commission to give affected workers special consideration on deadlines, mandatory re-employment appointments, and work search requirements.
     

  • Enhanced Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits: Workers may now be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if:

    • Their employer must temporarily slow or cease operations due to COVID-19.

    • They have been issued a notice to self-quarantine by a medical or public health official and are not receiving paid sick or medical leave from their employer.

    • They must stay home to care for an ill family member and are not receiving paid family medical leave from their employer.

* State Guidelines credited to the Governor's Office of Virginia​