BALTIMORE — The Maryland Department of Labor’s Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation has announced that the moratorium on new residential foreclosures has been extended through March 3.
The moratorium, originally established by the governor’s executive order issued April 3, and extended through subsequent executive orders and regulatory guidance, was due to expire Feb. 28, according to a news release.
“I commend the Hogan administration and our Office of Financial Regulation for continuing to support and protect Maryland’s homeowners by further extending the moratorium on new residential foreclosures through the end of March,” said Labor Secretary Tiffany P. Robinson. “Homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments due to economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will have additional time to connect with their mortgage lender to find solutions and take advantage of the many financial relief programs available.”
Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation Antonio P. Salazar has issued new regulatory guidance to mortgage lenders, loan servicers and collection agencies stating that the statewide reporting system for certain foreclosure notices will remain closed through March 31.
While the reporting system is closed, lenders are prohibited from sending a “notice of intent to foreclose” to homeowners, the release states. This notice is the first step for initiating most residential foreclosures in Maryland.
“After an analysis of multiple factors related to the COVID-19 health crisis, we made the decision to continue the prohibition on new foreclosures by keeping the statewide reporting system closed,” Salazar said. “My office is monitoring factors such as the economic conditions within the State, trends within the residential mortgage market, and the status of the virus and associated governmental and public health responses, to determine if additional guidance extending the foreclosure moratorium will be necessary to help protect Maryland homeowners impacted by the pandemic.”
Homeowners who are facing foreclosure or at risk of defaulting on their mortgage should contact the company where they send their monthly payments to request assistance, the release states.
Companies are offering loan forbearance and other temporary payment relief to homeowners who are experiencing economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Homeowners also can call the Maryland HOPE hotline at 1-877-462-7555 for a referral to a nonprofit housing advocate. Additional information and resources about mortgage relief and foreclosure prevention can be found by visiting the department’s website.
For more information, visit www.labor.maryland.gov/finance.