COVID-19’s Impact on Foreclosures and Forbearance in Georgia.

Real Estate Law

In normal times (that would be before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic), home foreclosures in Georgia move very quickly.

The Foreclosure Process in Georgia.

Basically, there are 4 steps in Georgia’s foreclosure process:

  1. Service of the 30-day Notice of Intent to foreclose.
  2. Publication of the foreclosure sale.
  3. Reinstatement period – time (up to 5 days before the sale) in which the property owner has to pay all arrears, costs and fines etc. to reinstate the loan.
  4. Foreclosure sale.

Absent complications, a nonjudicial foreclosure sale in Georgia can often be completed in anywhere from 60 to 90 days.

That’s not much time under any circumstances.

Now, however, the coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic is causing people all over the country to default on their loans due to the shelter-in-place orders and job loss.

As a result, foreclosure procedures are being adjusted to address the situation.

State and local governments, as well as the federal government, are taking unprecedented steps in the face of the pandemic to limit evictions and foreclosures.

Temporary Measures to Limit Foreclosures.

Although the approach being taken across the country is not uniform, a federally-imposed moratorium on evictions and foreclosures was announced in March by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD said it would suspend evictions for 60 days to the end of April.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the entities that buy most home loans) also announced in March that it would be suspending evictions and foreclosures for a minimum of 60 days.

These suspensions, it must be stressed, are being taken at the federal, not the state, level. Each state in the nation is handling this in its own way.

And they are temporary.

The eviction suspensions are all generally tied to the shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders. Once those orders are lifted, the foreclosure moratoriums will disappear and homeowners will be required to resume their mortgage payments.

It is important, therefore, that you consult with counsel in your state to stay abreast of all changes and for more information.

Georgia and Foreclosures.

On March 20, 2020, the Magistrate Court and Fulton County Marshal announced the suspension of eviction hearings for the duration of the limited Judicial Emergency, declared by the Georgia Supreme Court (through to April 14, 2020). Unless extended, foreclosure hearings will be suspended to April 14, 2020.

Again, be aware that these measures are temporary and they not consistent across the state. Not all 159 counties in Georgia have suspension measures in place. So if you are facing foreclosure, please consult with experienced real estate counsel.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet. As we adjust to our “new normal,” it is important that we all work together to help each other.

Real Estate Attorneys in Georgia. 

For more than 30 years, the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein has focused on all aspects of real estate law and litigation. We are located in Cumming, Georgia, but we serve clients in and around Atlanta, Marietta, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Kennesaw, Forsyth County, and a number of other counties in Georgia. Call us at 770-888-7707, or contact us here, or send inquiries by e-mail to: lawofficesofmarkweinstein@gmail.com.

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