Bendett & McHugh,P.C.

Maine state COVID-19 update provided by Bendett & McHugh, P.C.

Posted: 10/20/20

Maine is currently under a State of Emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Maine Governor Janet Mills has extended the Maine COVID-19 State of Emergency through October 29, 2020.

Foreclosure:

While the Governor has not expressly issued any order prohibiting foreclosures during the State of Emergency, Governor Mills wrote open letters urging (but not requiring) mortgagees in Maine to refrain from initiating or prosecuting residential foreclosures, and specifically to refrain from sending Notices of Default.  Additionally, the Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection, a division of the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, issued guidance that “Strongly urges that servicers of non-federally-backed mortgages adhere to a foreclosure moratorium, and refrain from mailing “right to cure” notices to Maine residents, so long as the current federal moratorium or successive moratoria remain in effect.”

These communications from the State highlight its preferences as to how servicers should proceed at this time.  In this regard, it is important to note that the Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection directly regulates mortgage servicers and collection activities in Maine, and will receive notification of each Notice of Default sent as it oversees the State’s mandatory Notice of Default registration process.

The State courts are open, and are accepting and acting on filings at this time.  In addition, after halting foreclosure trials and mediations for approximately 5 months, beginning 8/4/20 the courts resumed scheduling civil proceedings generally, although the courts inform us they will not be scheduling foreclosure trials and mediations for dates prior to 11/9/20.  Note also that new rules have been put in place that generally permit telephonic and video attendance by counsel, parties, and witnesses in state court proceedings. 

 

Federal Foreclosure:

The United States District Court for the District of Maine has issued an order allowing foreclosing plaintiffs to proceed to judgment without a hearing where the defendants are in default.  To proceed without a hearing, the plaintiff must submit the necessary documentary evidence to show that it is entitled to foreclosure, and the plaintiff must agree to waive any claims to a deficiency judgment.  The plaintiff must also obtain consent to proceed on the papers from any non-borrower parties in interest that have appeared in the action. 

Eviction:

While eviction actions can generally proceed, effective for the duration of the Maine COVID-19  State of Emergency, the minimum tenant notification periods for termination of tenancies have been enlarged as follows: (1) a property owner must provide an at-will tenant with at least 45 days prior notice of termination, up from 30 days prior notice; and (2) a property owner must provide a tenant with at least 30 days prior notice of termination for nonpayment of rent, up from 7 days prior notice.

For any questions regarding Maine updates, please reach out to Santo Longo at slongo@bmpc-law.com or 207-358-5202.

Post by – Bendett & McHugh,P.C.

Bendett & McHugh,P.C.

Maine state COVID-19 update provided by Bendett & McHugh, P.C.

Posted: 08/7/20

Foreclosure:

The State courts are open, and are accepting and acting on filings at this time.  In addition, after halting foreclosure trials and mediations for approximately 5 months, beginning 8/4/20 the courts have resumed scheduling foreclosure proceedings, including trials and mediations.  Note also that new rules have been put in place that permit telephonic and video attendance by counsel, parties, and witnesses in state court proceedings.

Eviction:

As of 8/4/20 and following an approximately 5 month hiatus, Maine courts are now processing and scheduling eviction actions.  In addition, the temporary stay on the issuance and enforcement of Writs of Possession necessary to effectuate evictions has now been lifted.  Also, effective for the duration of the Maine COVID-19 State of Emergency, the minimum tenant notification periods for termination of tenancies have been enlarged as follows: (1) a property owner must provide an at-will tenant with at least 45 days prior notice of termination, up from 30 days prior notice; and (2) a property owner must provide a tenant with at least 30 days prior notice of termination for nonpayment of rent, up from 7 days prior notice.

For any questions regarding Maine updates, please reach out to Santo Longo at slongo@bmpc-law.com or 207-358-5202.

Post by – Bendett & McHugh,P.C.

Bendett & McHugh,P.C.

Maine state COVID-19 update provided by Bendett & McHugh, P.C.

Posted: 07/16/20

Maine is currently under a State of Emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Maine Governor Janet Mills has extended the State of Emergency to August 9, 2020. 

Foreclosure:

While the Governor has not expressly issued any order prohibiting foreclosures during the State of Emergency, Governor Mills wrote open letters urging (but not requiring) mortgage servicers in Maine to refrain from initiating or prosecuting residential foreclosures, and specifically to refrain from sending Notices of Default.  Additionally, the Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection, a division of the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, issued guidance that “Strongly urges that servicers of non-federally-backed mortgages adhere to a foreclosure moratorium, and refrain from mailing “right to cure” notices to Maine residents, so long as the current federal moratorium or successive moratoria remain in effect.”

These communications from the State highlight its preferences as to how servicer’s should proceed at this time.  In this regard, it is important to note that the Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection directly regulates mortgage servicers and collection activities in Maine, and will receive notification of each Notice of Default sent as it oversees the State’s mandatory Notice of Default registration process.

By Order of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court issued 5/27/20, the Maine trial courts will not be scheduling or hearing foreclosure cases until 8/4/20.  As a result, there will be no foreclosure hearings or trials until after 8/4/20.    

Federal Foreclosure:

The United States District Court for the District of Maine, has issued a template order for use any foreclosure case pending in Federal Court in which defaults have entered against the Defendants.  This order will allow any foreclosing plaintiff to proceed to judgment in Federal District Court in Maine without a hearing where the defendants are in default.  The order does require plaintiff to submit all documentary evidence to show that it is entitled to foreclosure and to waive any claims to a deficiency judgment.  The Plaintiff must also agree to proceed against any non-borrowing party in interest without a hearing based on the documents provided.  The granting of this order will allow foreclosure judgments in Maine to be entered without the need for in-person testimony, in Federal Court only. 

Servicers should consider both their preference to proceed with federal foreclosures with the state preference of the Governor and Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection outlined above.

Eviction:

Maine Governor Janet Mills issued an Executive Order suspending the issuance and service of writs of possession in various circumstances, including those issued pursuant to 14 MRSA § 6321 which governs the residential foreclosure process.  Landlords and their agents can apply for judicial relief in limited circumstances.

For any questions regarding Maine updates, please reach out to Santo Longo at slongo@bmpc-law.com or 207-358-5202.

Post by – Bendett & McHugh,P.C.