On April 3, Maryland Governor Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr. issued “Executive Order No. 20-04-03-01, Amending and Restating the Order Dated March 16, 2020 Temporarily Prohibiting Evictions of Tenants Suffering Substantial Loss of Income Due to COVID-19, and Additionally Prohibiting Certain Repossessions, Stopping Initiation of Residential Mortgage Foreclosures, Prohibiting Commercial Evictions, and Allowing Suspension of Certain Lending Limits” (“Order No. 20-04-03-01”). Pursuant to Order No. 20-04-03-01, Gov. Hogan has ordered the Commissioner of Financial Regulation of the State of Maryland to suspend the operation of the Commissioner’s Notice of Intent to Foreclose Electronic System, which effectively prevents initiation of new residential foreclosures by stopping the Commissioner’s acceptance of notices of intent to foreclose.
Order No. 20-04-03-01 also suspends the effect of §§ 8-401 and 8-402.1 of the Real Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, regarding a landlord’s rights to seek possession of either residential or commercial real property for either nonpayment of rent (§ 8-401) or breach of lease (§ 8-402.1) in cases where the tenant can demonstrate to the court, “through documentation or other objectively verifiable means, that the tenant suffered a Substantial Loss of Income.” The Governor has defined “Substantial Loss of Income” as follows:
- with respect to an individual, a substantial loss of income resulting from [the coronavirus (“COVID-19”)] or the related proclamation of a state of emergency and catastrophic health emergency, including, without limitation, due to job loss, reduction in compensated hours of work, closure of place of employment, or the need to miss work to care for a home-bound school-age child; and
- with respect to an entity, a substantial loss of income resulting from COVID-19 or the related proclamation of a state of emergency and catastrophic health emergency, including, without limitation, due to lost or reduced business, required closure, or temporary or permanent loss of employees.
Order No. 20-04-03-01 also suspends various provisions of Maryland statutes permitting any creditor to use self-help to repossess any automobile, truck, or “Chattel Home” (defined as “personal property used as a person’s residence, including without limitation, mobile homes, trailers, and live-aboard boats”) until the Governor enters an order lifting the state of emergency.
Finally, Order No. 20-04-03-01 authorizes the Commissioner to suspend various lending limits otherwise applicable to state-chartered commercial banks and credit unions so long as the Commissioner finds that doing so would not reasonably be expected to impair the safety or soundness of such institutions.
Order No. 20-04-03-01 will remain in effect until the Governor issues a further order lifting the state of emergency proclaimed on March 5, and renewed on March 17. In summary, in Maryland, new residential foreclosures, many new residential and commercial real property evictions, and repossessions of automobiles, trucks, and Chattel Homes have been suspended or prohibited until the current COVID-19 state of emergency has been lifted. The Governor’s Order No. 20-04-03-01 can be found here.