As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause unprecedented financial hardship, state Assemblywoman Nily Rozic is one of three lawmakers leading a bipartisan group of more than 50 New York state legislators urging U.S. Senate leaders to support the federal legislation to extend mortgage forbearance protections to every homeowner in the country.
The group penned a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer highlighting a mortgage forbearance bill sponsored by Rozic and Senators Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Island) and Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan).
The bill was passed by the state Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on June 17 as a model.
Under the law, those with mortgages through New York state-regulated financial institutions will receive forbearance for a period of up to 180 days, plus an additional six months if needed, and will have the option of postponing those payments until the end of the loan term or amortizing the deferred payments over the life of the loan.
The group said that while the New York state law will help keep tens of thousands of New Yorkers with state-regulated mortgages from losing their homes, a large majority of homeowners in New York and around the nation hold mortgages that are not issued or serviced by a financial institution regulated by the state in which they live.
According to Rozic, homeowners deserve the ability to make the soundest financial decisions.
“This legislation will give homeowners options to catch up on their payments without additional financial strain, fear of foreclosure actions, or damage to their credit. This change will go a long way to help many New Yorkers stay in their homes in the face of an economic recession,” Rozic said.
Kaminsky said protecting Long Island homeowners during this period of economic turmoil is essential.
“That’s why I worked with my colleagues to pass strong protections for homeowners into law, giving New Yorkers with state-backed loans the ability to defer their mortgage payments,” Kaminsky said.
Meanwhile, Kavanagh, chair of the New York State Senate Housing Committee, is urging U.S. Senate leaders to enact the provisions on the federal level and apply them to all home mortgages Congress has jurisdiction over, not just those that are backed by federal agencies, he said.
“Doing so will help relieve the financial stress that many homeowners are currently facing and contribute to a rapid recovery once this public health crisis passes,” Kavanagh said.
The group applauded actions already taken by the House of Representatives to address this crisis.
The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (H.R. 6800, or “the HEROES Act”), which the House recently passed, includes the provisions of the COVID-19 Mortgage Relief Act (H.R. 6741 – Clay). The bill would provide mechanisms similar to the state legislators called for, for every homeowner in America to both receive forbearance and to delay repayment of that forbearance well into the future, as now allowed by the New York state law.
The HEROES Act also prohibits any negative credit reporting resulting from the election of any forbearance option; and it ensures that homeowners will not be charged additional fees or penalties, or be forced to pay any more interest than they would have paid under their original loan agreement.
The group also acknowledged Senator Schumer’s work in ensuring that the CARES Act addressed New Yorkers’ needs, as well as his support of the provisions in the HEROES Act.
They also called upon Schumer and McConnell to work together with senators of their respective parties to ensure mortgage forbearance legislation is enacted as soon as possible.
“We ask, as a bipartisan group of state legislators, that you ensure that every homeowner experiencing hardship during this crisis is eligible for forbearance and has the tools necessary to remain in their homes without a lingering financial burden as the crisis abates and their forbearance period expires,” the group said. “We strongly urge you to work together with your respective Senate conferences and your colleagues in the House of Representatives to ensure that this legislation is enacted as soon as possible.”