Foreclosures, Repossessions Restricted With New Executive Order

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R), at a news conference earlier this month, has had the State House to himself for the past several weeks. Photo by the Executive Office of the Governor.

Maryland Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) signed an executive order extending financial protections for homeowners and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday.

The new executive order prohibits mortgage lenders from initiating foreclosures, extends a prohibition on residential evictions during the state of emergency to include industrial and commercial properties as well, and stops repossessions of cars, trucks and mobile homes.

Last month, Hogan issued an executive order prohibiting the eviction of tenants during the state of emergency and restricting utilities and cable TV and internet provider service companies from cutting off essential services.

“We’re going to continue to do everything that we possibly can help get Marylanders through this to help them weather the storm and get back on their feet and to help them recover,” Hogan said Friday at a State House press conference.

The executive order comes as more Maryland businesses and workers face financial hardship as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. On Thursday, the state announced that more than 84,000 Marylanders had filed for unemployment in the week that ended March 28, a dramatic spike from fewer than 4,000 claims two weeks earlier.

As of Friday morning, there were at least 2,758 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Maryland, and 42 Marylanders had died from the virus.

“We’re also facing another huge battle against catastrophic economic collapse. And we are attempting to tackle both of these problems aggressively and simultaneously,” Hogan said.

In addition to the executive actions, Hogan said nearly 70 of Maryland’s largest financial institutions have agreed to provide additional flexibility to borrowers, including a 90-day period of forbearance or deferral for mortgage payments, during which no late fees will be charged and no negative information will be reported to the credit bureaus.

At the governor’s direction, all state agencies have suspended debt collection activities.

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Danielle E. Gaines
Danielle Gaines most recently worked for Bethesda Beat covering Montgomery County. Previously, she spent six years at The Frederick News-Post as the paper’s principal government and politics reporter for half that time, covering courts and legal affairs before that. She also reported for the now-defunct The Gazette of Politics and Business in Maryland and previously worked as a county government and education reporter at the Merced Sun-Star in California’s Central Valley.