Governor Reynolds Suspends All Foreclosures
As part of the State of Iowa’s continuing effort to fight the spread of COVID-19, Governor Reynolds on March 22nd issued a proclamation to, among other things, suspend the commencement of foreclosure proceedings, or the prosecution of ongoing foreclosure proceedings, on residential, commercial, and agricultural real property located in the State of Iowa.
This proclamation will remain in effect until April 16, 2020. However, the Governor has reserved the right to extend the proclamation or terminate the proclamation prior to that date.
While the Iowa Supreme Court thus far has not issued guidance interpreting this proclamation, lenders should consider refraining from filing foreclosure actions while the proclamation is in effect. Similarly, lenders should expect any current foreclosure proceedings will be placed on hold until the proclamation is terminated.
For all properties that are currently scheduled for sheriff’s sale, lenders will have the option to postpone the sale for up to sixty (60) days pursuant to Iowa Code § 626.81. Alternatively, lenders may cancel the sale and reschedule at later date and time once the proclamation has been lifted.
The Governor has also directed the Iowa Division of Banking and the Iowa Division of Credit Unions to engage with lenders to identify tools, means, or methods that could be used to relieve Iowans of the threat of foreclosure.
While the proclamation does suspend foreclosures, it does not prohibit lenders from engaging in workout measures with borrowers, such as negotiating and entering into forbearance agreements. In addition, given the economic uncertainty, lenders should begin to conduct a careful analysis of their loan documentation to ensure their collateral position is as written.
A copy of the proclamation can be found on the Governor’s website.
Christopher K. Loftus
Disclaimer: This information is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended, nor should it be construed or relied on, as legal advice. Please consult your attorney if specific legal information is desired.