In mid-March, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result of this public health crisis, schools were closed and millions of businesses were shut down.
If a business wasn’t designated an “essential” business, it was directed to close its doors and have employees work from home. Since not all businesses are equipped to run as employees work from home, for example, gyms, health clubs, and retail businesses, millions of American workers lost their jobs.
In January, MarketWatch published an article about how a shocking number of Americans are living check to check. Referring to a game trending under #WithMyNexPayCheckIWill” on Twitter, the author of the article, Nicole Lyn Pesce wrote: “Many people noted that their income would be just enough to cover their bills and basic necessities until the next paycheck comes along.” Pesce called the Twitter responses “bleak,” with “still be broke” as the general consensus. We have to agree and it’s something we’ve seen in our office over and over again.
Lawmakers Respond to Unemployment Crisis
If Americans were already living paycheck to paycheck before the coronavirus pandemic, one can only imagine how bad it is now for those who don’t have a savings to dip into. Fortunately, California lawmakers are aware of the concern and took swift action to prevent people from losing their homes and becoming homeless.
On April 6, 2020, California’s Judicial Council issued emergency orders that barred lenders from foreclosing on defaulted mortgages. They also barred landlords from evicting tenants, with the exception of cases where health or safety are at risk.
“The council’s new rules apply for 90 days after California’s state of emergency is lifted, unless they’re altered by the council. The new rules mean borrowers and tenants do not have to respond to legal demands for payments during this period, and the rights to fight foreclosures and evictions are extended past the council’s freeze period,” according to The Orange County Register.
What if I Still Can’t Pay?
While the state’s freeze on foreclosures is welcomed by financially-strapped homeowners, it’s a Band-Aid. When the hold is lifted, debtors will still be on the hook for their mortgages. For those who remain unemployed after the freeze is lifted or for those who still struggle to make their payments, bankruptcy may be a long-term solution. If you find yourself in this situation, we encourage you to contact Nguyen Law Group to explore your legal options.