Federal, state governments move quickly to stabilize housing through COVID-19 crisis

TENANTS WILL NOT be evicted under an immediate stay on evictions in Rhode Island through April 17. / PBN FILE PHOTO/MARY MACDONALD

PROVIDENCE – Even before the historic $2 trillion stimulus package was announced by federal lawmakers Wednesday, many Rhode Island families and businesses who have had job losses and other financial impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic gained some protections relating to their homes or workplaces.

In Rhode Island, the closure of the state court system (for all but emergency reasons) has effectively put a stay on any actions to evict residential or commercial tenants, according to state officials.

Last week, Gov. Gina M. Raimondo announced that state courts would not process any residential or commercial evictions for the next 30 days. Payment and filing deadlines have also been extended past April 17, according to a state spokesman. Raimondo, as part of her daily news briefings, sought to reassure tenants that they would not be made homeless due to sudden job losses resulting from state-ordered business closures.

Other actions have been taken in recent days by federal authorities.

- Advertisement -

They include:

Multifamily owners who have mortgages through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac can get a deferral for up to a year, per the Federal Housing Finance Authority, as long as they do not evict tenants.

And homeowners who have mortgages through the Federal Housing Administration, which represents a large portion of the market, will have the ability to defer mortgage payments for up to 60 days, under a federal decision.

The moves happened quickly after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared a national and statewide emergency.

Mary MacDonald is a writer for the PBN. Contact her at macdonald@pbn.com.

Purchase NowWant to share this story? Click Here to purchase a link that allows anyone to read it on any device whether or not they are a subscriber.