FILE – In this Jan. 28, 2021 file photo, President Joe Biden signs a series of executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Biden campaigned on raising the national minimum wage to $15 per hour and attached a proposal doing just that to the $1.9 trillion coronavirus pandemic relief bill. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP/WETM) — President Joe Biden is extending a ban on housing foreclosures to June 30 to help homeowners struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

The moratorium on foreclosures of federally guaranteed mortgages had been set to expire on March 31. On his first day in office, Biden had extended the moratorium from Jan. 31. Census Bureau figures show that almost 12% of homeowners with mortgages were late on their payments.

“There’s over 57 billion dollars in rent owed to landlords today,” said Matthew Lyman, President of Ideal Legal Support Services, LLC. “The mortgage forbearances are all nice and all that, but we know in the real estate industry, a foreclosure doesn’t happen like that. It can take months to 2 or 3 years. But in the end, we still have to pay those interests, late fees, penalties, and all of that.”

Lyman told 18 News, landlords were okay with the eviction order back in March of 2020, but said landlords, now, are not happy. He said landlords have seen tenants still employed and go on vacation trips while avoiding paying rent.

“We’re done with it, we’re fed up with it,” Lyman said. “We need to get back our property because we’re going to lose it.”

The White House says the coordinated actions announced Tuesday by the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs and Agriculture also will extend to June 30 the enrollment window for borrowers who want to request mortgage payment forbearance — a pause or reduction in payments — and will provide up to six additional months of forbearance for borrowers who entered forbearance on or before June 30 of last year.

The White House says more than 10 million homeowners are behind on mortgage payments and Biden’s actions are to help keep people in their homes amid “a housing affordability crisis” triggered by the pandemic. It says “homeowners will receive urgently needed relief as we face this unprecedented national emergency.”

Biden’s administration says extending forbearance policies “will provide critical support to homeowners of color, who make up a disproportionate share of borrowers” having trouble paying their loans because of hardships related to the pandemic.

Lyman said this forbearance does not put a stop to taxes and other expenditures.

“You may have a mortgage forbearance, but that taxes are still due and the maintenance is still due” Lyman said. “Where are the landlords getting the money to pay that? By getting a third or fourth job while their tenants are not paying the rent even though they can.”

The actions announced Tuesday don’t address a federal moratorium through March 31 on evictions of tenants who’ve fallen behind on rent.

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