Our highest priority is keeping Arizonans healthy, safe, and economically secure.

Arizonans: the fastest way to get assistance or info. from our office is to email casework@sinema.senate.gov.

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HOMEOWNERS AND RENTERS

Arizona families are facing increasing financial stress related to rent and mortgage payments as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The information below provides up-to-date guidance and resources for renters and homeowners so that all Arizonans can understand their options.

FOR HOMEOWNERS

Protections Under Federal Legislation and Agency Guidance

Federally backed mortgages are considered to be any single-family mortgage insured by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the country’s largest mortgage financiers), the Federal Housing Agency (FHA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and other agencies. Protection from foreclosure under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act expired on August 31, 2020. However, homeowners with federally backed mortgages may currently be protected under guidance from federal agencies.

Per the CARES Act, Mortgage lenders and servicers must offer forbearance for up to 180 days to borrowers impacted by the coronavirus. Forbearance is the legal and temporary postponement of mortgage payments. 

To tell if your mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae, click HERE. To determine if your mortgage is backed by Freddie Mac, click HERE. To tell if your mortgage is backed by another federal loan provider, please click HERE

Foreclosures in Arizona

Foreclosure processes differ by state. In Arizona, the process takes about 90 days. Arizona law does not have the right of redemption, meaning borrowers are not able to repurchase the property after a foreclosure sale by paying a specific sum of money within a limited period of time. Typically, to redeem after a foreclosure sale, the borrower must pay the bid price, plus interest and other allowable fees, to the person or entity that bought the property at the foreclosure sale. Arizona allows for deficiency judgments, a ruling made by a court against a borrower in default when the property sells for less than the loan amount due. Deficiency judgments are essentially liens placed on the borrower for further money. For more information on the typical foreclosure process in Arizona, click HERE

Mortgage Forbearance 

Forbearance does not mean payments are forgiven or erased. Homeowners are still required to repay any missed or reduced payments after the 180-day period (or 360-day period if requested). During the forbearance period, no fees, penalties, or interest are permitted beyond the amounts scheduled or calculated as if the borrower made all contractual payments on time and in full. Credit bureau reporting of past due payments by homeowners in a forbearance plan due to COVID-19 are also suspended. 

If you would like to take forbearance, contact your loan servicer as soon as possible. Homeowners can also call a local, HUD-approved housing counselor to discuss their situation by visiting HERE.

The Arizona Department of Housing assists underemployed and unemployed Arizonans struggling to make mortgage payments through the department’s Save Our Home AZ (SOHAZ) program. Assistance for qualified homeowners may include Principal Reduction Assistance, Monthly Mortgage Subsidy Assistance, and Second Lien Elimination Assistance. For more information on the program, click HERE.

Senator Sinema understands that mortgage forbearance is not a permanent solution and is working to ensure homeowners see continued relief as we combat the coronavirus pandemic. Senator Sinema is a cosponsor of multiple bills to extend rental assistance to struggling Americans, including S. 3685, the Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act.

FOR RENTERS

Protections Under Federal Legislation 

Protection from evictions under the CARES Act expired on July 24, 2020However, on September 1, 2020, the CDC issued an eviction moratorium until December 31, 2020. To qualify for this protection, tenants must: 

  • Have used their best efforts to obtain available government assistance for rent or housing;
  • Have been eligible to receive an Economic Impact Payment (stimulus check) under the CARES Act, or has an annual of no more than $99,000 for an individual, or $198,000 for a family
  • Be unable to pay the full rent due to substantial loss of income, wages, or hours, or because of extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses (unreimbursed medical expenses exceeding 7.5% of AGI for the year)
  • Be using their best efforts to make partial rent payments; and 
  • Have no other available housing options and if evicted, would need to move into a new residence shared by other people who live in close quarters, or would have to move into a homeless shelter. 

To read the full CDC order, click HERE.

On August 8, 2020, President Trump issued an executive directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and the Director of CDC Robert Redfield to consider if temporarily halting residential evictions would prevent the spread of COVID-19. This EO does not ban any evictions or dedicate any funding to help renters and homeowners.

Also, on August 28, 2020, HUD announced that tenants residing in the Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee program are protected from eviction until at least December 31, 2020. To read the letter from HUD, click HERE.

Protections Under Arizona Law 

On March 24, Governor Ducey issued an executive order delaying the enforcement of eviction actions for residential renters impacted by COVID-19. The order applies to renters who are quarantining due to COVID-19 or are facing economic hardship as a result of the outbreak. It will remain in effect for 120 days. Read the executive order HERE. On July 16, 2020, Governor Ducey extended the eviction moratorium for Arizonans till October 31, 2020. This new executive order took effect on July 24, 2020. 

To qualify for this protection, tenants must notify their landlord or property owner in paper form, email, or text. We strongly recommend tenants use a form provided by the government. You can find the form HERE. The Arizona Judicial Branch recommends tenants keep copies of their notification to their landlord to show to law enforcement, should an officer come to your residence, or to show the court, if needed. After August 21, 2020 renters will need to provide their landlord or property owner a copy of their completed pending application for rental assistance through a state, city, county or nonprofit program. Read the executive order HERE

If you rent from a private company or landlord, a repayment agreement may help you avoid eviction once the moratorium is over.

Please note that the governor’s executive order only deals with the postponement of eviction orders. Landlords can still initiate an eviction action and a justice court may grant the eviction and issue a writ of restitution. The writ of restitution is part of the eviction process in Arizona that allows a law enforcement officer to physically lock a tenant out of the property after an eviction action. Despite the issuance of a writ of restitution, your landlord should NOT lock you out while the governor’s executive order (EO) is in place. Under the EO, law enforcement may not enforce lockouts of covered tenants. After the EO expires, law enforcement may serve the writ and remove you from your property.

If your landlord or law enforcement has violated this EO and locked you out of your property, Community Legal Services of Arizona (CLSAZ) recommends you file an Emergency Motion to Reconsider. CLSAZ may be able to assist with an Emergency Motion. You can contact them at 602-258-3434 or visit their webpage on housing law HERE. If you live in Phoenix, have been affected by COVID-19, and fear you may be evicted, be sued for eviction, or have a judgment for eviction against you, you can contact the City of Phoenix Tenants Eviction Assistance Program (TEAP) at 602-385-8880

There are exceptions to the EO. Landlords may proceed with eviction processes if a judge determines that it is necessary "in the interest of justice'' or if a tenant has broken other components of their lease agreement beyond late rent. For more information on potential exceptions, please click HERE

Rental Assistance 

The Arizona Department of Housing is currently offering assistance to Arizonans struggling to make rent payments through the Department’s Rental Eviction Assistance Program. On March 24, 2020, Governor Ducey allocated $5 million in new funding to the program. Applications for assistance are available online HERE

Since the program began on March 30, 2020, there have been adjustments regarding documentation during the application process. If you have already started an application with the Arizona Department of Housing, please visit HERE for important updates.  

Our office is aware that the Arizona Department of Housing has struggled to disperse rental assistance in a timely manner. On July 16, 2020, Governor Ducey announced an additional $650,000 in funding to Community Action Agencies for additional staff to process rental assistance.

Interested applicants who do not have computer access can locate the phone number of their county Community Action Agency HERE. We encourage all rental residents to contact their rental owner or manager as soon as possible if there’s a need for rental assistance or an adjusted payment plan.

Interested applicants who do not have computer access can locate the phone number of their county Community Action Agency HERE. We encourage all rental residents to contact their rental owner or manager as soon as possible if there’s a need for rental assistance or an adjusted payment plan.

The City of Phoenix offers one-on-one counseling and housing resources through its Human Services Department Landlord and Tenant Program. To request a telephone appointment, please call (602) 262-7210 or email landlord.tenant.hsd@phoenix.gov. To learn more about this program, click HERE

The CARES Act provided HUD with an additional $17.4 billion in funding for rent assistance, housing vouchers, public housing, and housing for the elderly during the COVID pandemic. Senator Sinema is a cosponsor of multiple bills to extend rental assistance to struggling Americans, including S. 4177, the Emergency Housing Assistance for Older Adults Act, and S. 3685, the Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act.

Rental Assistance for Maricopa County Residents  

  • Maricopa County households experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 Pandemic may be eligible for COVID Crisis Rental Assistance (CCRA) through the Human Services Department’s Community Services Division. Households can receive up to three (3) rental assistance payments for past due or owed rent for the months of March 2020 - December 2020. As long as there is funding available, this service will operate through mid-December 2020 and will make retroactive payments to March 2020 for eligible applicant households. CCRA is also available to Maricopa County households living outside the cities of Mesa and Phoenix. If you live in Mesa or Phoenix, please click on the links below to learn about rental assistance programs in your area: 
  • For residents living outside the cities of Mesa and Phoenix, assistance is provided through eleven (11) local Community Action Program (CAP) offices located throughout the County. To apply for CCRA, follow the step-by-step instructions HERE.

FOR LANDLORDS

On July 16, 2020, Governor Ducey issued an executive order providing $5 million to launch the Foreclosure Prevention Program. This program will provide financial assistance to individuals who rely on income from tenants to help them avoid foreclosure.

UTILITY BILLS 

It is critical that Arizonians continue to receive essential services during the COVID-19 emergency. Arizona electric, water, and gas utility companies have announced measures to ensure our communities continue to receive the services they need. If you are or anticipate having trouble paying utility bills, you should notify the utility provider as soon as possible. Many Arizona utilities are suspending shuts offs and waiving late fees, as described below:  

Federal Assistance

  • The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist families with energy costs. The CARES Act included $900 million to help lower-income households heat and cool their homes. You can locate your local low-income energy office for help applying for LIHEAP assistance HERE.

Utility Policies  

  • The Arizona Public Service (APS), Salt River Project (SRP), Tucson Electric Power (TEP), and six electric cooperatives serving rural communities have all agreed to keep power on for customers during the remainder of the pandemic regardless of an inability to pay. These organizations have also agreed to withhold penalties, late fees, or interest during this time and work with their customers to provide flexible options for payment. APS’s statement is available HERE, SRP’s statement is available HERE, and TEP’s statement is available HERE.
  • SRP will resume late payment fees on August 1 and start disconnections for nonpayment on October 1. SRP will continue offering payment support and will work with customers on an individual basis to develop payment plans. SRP Customer Service representatives are available 24/7 at (602) 236-8888 in English and (602) 236-1111 in Spanish.
  • EPCOR Water and Arizona Water Company, which serve many rural parts of the state, have announced they will suspend residential disconnections and waive late fees.
  • Southwest Gas, which serves Phoenix and parts of southern Arizona, has pledged to suspend natural gas disconnections due to non-payments. Information on their pledge can be found HERE.

The Home Energy Assistance Fund (HEAF) helps low-income Arizona families and households pay heating, cooling, and appliance repair costs. You can determine if you qualify for HEAF assistance HERE.

Utility Assistance for Maricopa County Residents

Maricopa County residents seeking assistance with current utility deposits or payments may qualify for assistance from the Services Department’s Community Services Division (CSD). CSD also coordinates the delivery of utility assistance to Maricopa County residents living outside the cities of Glendale, Mesa, and Phoenix. 

If you live in Glendale, Mesa, or Phoenix, please click on the links below to learn about utility assistance programs in your area:

For residents living outside the cities of Glendale, Mesa, and Phoenix, assistance is provided through Community Action Program (CAP) offices located throughout the County. To apply for utility assistance, follow the step-by-step instructions listed HERE.

OTHER RESOURCES

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has established a dedicated webpage with relevant updates and resources available HERE.

If you are at risk of becoming homeless or need of emergency shelter, please contact our office at casework@sinema.senate.gov. For a list of homeless assistance providers by county, please click HERE. For seniors facing or experiencing homelessness, please visit the Justa Center’s website HERE

The City of Phoenix Family Services Centers provide emergency financial assistance for rent and utilities to low-income households, including prioritized support for seniors, persons with disabilities, and families with young children. Eviction prevention services following a five-day notice are also available. To request an appointment, call (602) 534-AIDE (2433). To learn more about this program, please click HERE.

The Foundation for Senior Living and Wildfire (formerly Arizona Community Action Association) are partnering to help Phoenix residents of all ages who need assistance with their rent or mortgage and utility bills. This programming will be offered through December 30, 2020. Please call the Foundation for Senior Living Care Design Program at 602-285-0505 ext. 180 or email carebydesign@fsl.org to discuss qualifications and eligibility requirements for financial assistance. 

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Federal coronavirus-response legislation: click HERE.

Specific actions Kyrsten is taking on behalf of Arizona: click HERE.

Visit our main resources page: sinema.senate.gov/corona.