Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Covid 19: Tsunami of Evictions, Foreclosures and Bankruptcies

WE ARE about to see a tsunami of bankruptcies and foreclosures as the result of Covid 19 pandemic.

Over the past couple of months, the legal profession throughout the United States has been forecasting a tsunami of clients running to attorneys.  One of the consequences of the current pandemic is very simple.  People are out of work, either temporarily or permanently, at least with their most recent employer.  And of many of the people back to work, there hours have been cut, as employer's businesses, especially in the hospitality industry, is only at a small percentage of what it should be.  This is a result of the pandemic as a substantial portion of the population is staying at home.

Lately the government, both nationally and locally, has taken action to provide relief to debtors and renters, to the dismay of mortgagees and landlords, in putting a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.  So debtors out of work would not have to worry about being evicted or foreclosed on.  However, with a landlord not receiving rent, and being unable to evict a tenant, the landlord involuntarily gets behind on mortgage payments.

So, what is the result of the end of the moratorium on legal actions involving real property?  I predict we will see a mountain of foreclosures and bankruptcies like we have not seen in a long time.  The end of the moratorium will be the equivalent of opening the flood gates.  Numerous agencies will be hit hard, including those public and private agencies dealing with the homeless.

Of the limited avenues of relief available to debtors, the Federal Government has Title 11 of the United States Code available, more affectionately known as "Bankruptcy".  There are currently 4 chapters of bankruptcy under which an individual can file, known as a Chapter 7, 11, 12, and 13.  Each chapter is unique and serves several purposes.  While one can research these on their own, I recommend setting up a consultation with an local bankruptcy attorney to get advise concerning your particular situation, as the provisions of the bankruptcy code are complicated.  I also recommend setting an appointment sooner rather than later, as you may have trouble getting in to see someone if you wait too long.

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