Cuomo suspends foreclosures and mortgage payments

Eligibility will be assessed based on financial hardship

Governor Andrew Cuomo (Cuomo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images; iStock)
Governor Andrew Cuomo (Cuomo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images; iStock)

Editor Note, March 20, 2020, 2:48 p.m.: In a memo issued several hours after Cuomo announced the move during a live broadcast press conference, the Department of Financial Services said it would “urge” lenders to suspend mortgage payments and foreclosures. A spokesperson for the agency later confirmed that the guidance was not mandatory.

Mortgage payments and foreclosures in New York will be suspended for a 90-day period in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a press conference from Albany, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a number of steps to dampen the financial impact of the public health crisis. Mortgage payments will be deferred based on financial hardship, and foreclosures will be suspended or postponed for three months. There will be a grace period for loan modification, no negative reporting to credit bureaus and no late or online payment fees during the period.

Cuomo called the decision a “bold but necessary” action that would provide a “real-life economic benefit, and be a stress reliever for many families.”

“If you are not working, or working only part-time, we will have banks and financial institutions waive mortgage payments for 90 days,” Cuomo said.

He clarified, “We’re not exempting people from the mortgage payments. We’re just adjusting the mortgage to include those payments on the back end.”

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The measures will be reassessed at the end of the 90-day period, Cuomo said.

Cuomo did not provide specifics on the applicability and eligibility requirements for the suspension during the brief press conference.

Tenant groups and real estate industry leaders earlier called for a suspension of foreclosures, and evictions were halted by a state administrative judge earlier this week. The move stemmed from concerns that, if renters ceased to pay, landlords would not be able to make payments to their lenders.

President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that the Department of Housing and Urban Development will suspend all of its foreclosures and evictions through April in response to the pandemic.

The moratorium would also apply to mortgages insured by the department’s Federal Housing Administration, or around 8.1 million households. Measures were not announced for multifamily housing that is financed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Read more of our coverage on housing policy amid the global health crisis