Even for legal and default servicing professionals, today's expanse of federally and locally imposed eviction moratoria can seem daunting and perplexing.
As part of the company's complimentary client training series, Stern & Eisenberg Attorneys at Law, along with Legal League 100, a professional association of financial services law firms, presented a webinar entitled, "Navigating the Eviction Moratorium Process During a Time of COVID-19."
Steven Eisenberg, Stern & Eisenberg’s CEO facilitated the session led by Evictions Managing Paralegal Jillian Canfrini. The hosts presented timely information on evictions, cost-effective strategies, alternatives, landlord protections, and issues that would cause delays.
"I know one of the big buzzwords right now is 'moratorium,'" Canfrini said. "We want to give you some other options and ways to proceed with your evictions because we know, as landlords, this has been somewhat of a hardship. So we try to think of innovative ways to [navigate] this."
The lawyers outlined the various types of federal and regionally mandated eviction bans including deadlines, expirations, and extensions. Canfrini also pointed out that owners can proceed with conventional loan evictions in some states — Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, for example. Moratoria also do not apply to vacant or abandoned properties, Eisenberg and Canfrini reminded listeners.
The moratoria, in general, "do not mean you are at a complete standstill," Canfrini told participants before outlining certain strategies that may be extended at any time during the eviction process.
These options, Canfrini explained, might include so-called "cash for key relocation assistance" — an agreed-upon vacate date and monetary amount in exchange for vacating the premises. In this case, the property is to be left in broom-swept condition which saves additional costs on vendors such as movers and storage facilities, she explained.
Another option is "use and occupancy," or a monthly fee paid by the former mortgagors to reside at the property.
Canfrini also pointed out that "occupancy type is critical when determining how to go about an eviction and what protections actually apply."
Different approaches may be required when dealing with a former owner versus a "squatter," for example.
The counselors lay it all out, complete with slides and useful information about the services they provide.