The agencies sent letters to landlords and mortgage servicers, saying they’ve identified illegal treatment of military families and “will hold them accountable”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued two joint letters regarding legal housing protections for military families. While military families enjoy the same legal protections and privileges afforded all homeowners and tenants, they also have additional protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which is enforceable by the DOJ and servicemembers themselves.
CFPB and DOJ sent one letter to landlords and other housing providers regarding protections for military tenants. A second letter went to mortgage servicers regarding military borrowers exiting COVID-19 mortgage forbearance programs.
The letter to landlords reminds them of the housing protections for military tenants, some of whom had to relocate or make other changes in their housing arrangements in response to a crisis.
The letter to mortgage servicers comes from complaints submitted by military families and veterans on a range of potential mortgage servicing violations, including inaccurate credit reporting, misleading communications to borrowers, and required lump sum payments for reinstating their mortgage loans. CFPB says it’s reviewing those complaints for compliance under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and other applicable laws.
“The illegal foreclosures of military families in the last crisis was one of the financial industry’s worst failures,” says CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “The CFPB will be closely watching mortgage servicers and will hold them accountable for illegal tactics perpetrated against military families.”
“While servicemembers carry the great burdens of this nation, they should not have to worry that their sacrifices will result in economic harm to their families,” adds Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke. “Mortgage servicers and landlords must ensure that they are in full compliance with federal laws intended to protect servicemembers and their families during military service.”
Servicemembers have several legal protections under SCRA designed to enable them to devote their entire energy to the national defense. These include, for example, a prohibition on foreclosing on certain servicemembers’ mortgages without court orders, the ability for military families to terminate residential leases early and without penalty, upon receipt of military orders, and a prohibition on evicting military families from their homes without court orders.
In addition, under the CARES Act and Regulation X, servicemembers and veterans have the same protections available to all mortgage borrowers.
CFPB and DOJ posted their letters online:
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