Guam residents who haven’t paid their rent because they lost income during the coronavirus pandemic should have their overdue payments reversed, says Sen. Clynt Ridgell, who introduced a bill that would reverse the payments rent to landlords and also suspend mortgage payments to lenders.
Renters and mortgagors would approach the Guam Banking and Insurance Commission for relief under the “Pandemic Rent and Mortgage Relief Program.” Bill 355-35 is co-sponsored by five lawmakers, including Speaker Tina Muna Barnes.
Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has banned residents from being evicted during the public health crisis, but Ridgell said there could be “mass evictions” when the emergency declaration expires and residents will owe their landlords months of rent arrears.
Payment agreements would be maintained
The proposed relief package would allow mortgagors to suspend their mortgage payments and tenants to cancel their rent payments, an amount equal to the income they have lost due to the public health emergency.
Those receiving relief would be required to continue their existing payment arrangements after the public health emergency ends, without being required to pay rent or a higher mortgage amount.
Lenders would be required to extend the term of mortgages, without penalty.
The proposed change would be added to Guam’s existing mortgage law. This law allows the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance to revoke licenses or seek civil penalties against violators.
‘No penalties, no late fees, no bad credit’
“Landlords are also struggling to pay their mortgages because many of their tenants cannot afford to pay their rent,” Ridgell said of the mortgage suspension. “No penalties, no late fees, no bad credit and no foreclosures.”
“Essentially what we’re saying with this bill is that it’s as if the months of lockdown haven’t happened. It’s a pause in mortgage payments. Then when the urgency of public health is over, you can resume normal monthly payments at the same monthly amount you were paying before the pandemic,” Ridgell said. “It’s like you decide to stop paying your loan for a few months, but when you start to pay, there are no late fees, no penalties, no payment plans to make up for missed months, and no effect on your credit score.”
This article originally appeared on Pacific Daily News: ‘No penalties, no late fees, no bad credit’: Lawmakers propose local relief for tenants and mortgagors