CFPB and DOJ Send Joint Letters to Landlords and Mortgage Servicers About Servicemembers’ and Veterans’ Rights

Recently, the CFPB and DOJ jointly issued two letters reminding landlords and mortgage servicers about legal housing protections for military families under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).  The first letter was sent to landlords and property management companies regarding protection for military tenants.  The second letter was sent to mortgage servicers regarding military borrowers and the COVID-19 mortgage forbearance programs.

The first letter reminded landlords that military families are afforded additional housing protections under the SCRA.  The additional housing protections listed in the letter include, among others, the right to terminate a lease early after entering military service or receiving certain orders and the requirement of landlords to first obtain a court order before evicting a servicemember or their dependents from a residential home during a period of military service.

The second letter reminded mortgage servicers about legal protections for military borrowers under the SCRA, the CARES Act, Regulation X, and Regulation Z, as thousands of servicemembers and veteran homeowners will be exiting COVID-19 hardship mortgage forbearances.  The additional protections described in the second letter include, among others, the right to a forbearance for up to 180 days, and an extension for an additional 180 days for homeowners with federally backed mortgages; and the requirement that creditors must obtain a court order prior to closing on a mortgage during a period of military service and for one year following military service.  

In its press release, the CFPB stated that the letter to mortgage servicers was prompted by complaints from military families and veterans on a range of potential mortgage servicing violations.