On Friday, March 27, 2020, Congress passed H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).
As “Phase Three” of an extensive federal relief package, this legislation includes nearly $2 trillion in relief intended to mitigate the enormous economic effects of COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus) on the American economy and bolster the nation’s ability to fight the ongoing public health emergency.
The CARES Act is the culmination of two tumultuous weeks of political wrangling in Washington, D.C., where the Capitol Complex was shuttered except for members of Congress, Trump Administration officials and their staffs who have been hashing out the details of urgently needed legislation.
The CARES Act contains a number of provisions that will have significant impacts on the apartment industry:
We’re excited to tell you about an enhancement that we have asked our technology provider, Nationwide, to implement for you in our continuing effort to make our work for you more efficient, streamlined, and easy to understand.
In the past, we know that clients were occasionally challenged in trying to determine whether a case had been reviewed and approved by our attorneys or processed and submitted to Court for filing by our Team. Since our electronic invoicing has always been triggered by the processing of a case to send to the Court, whether or not an invoice for our work was “in the pipeline” was hard to know at any particular moment during the workday, like if a resident would come to the office to make payment and want to know their “full balance” right then and there. If our Team had just processed their case an hour earlier, you would have to call us to know that for sure, and then know that you would receive our invoice overnight that same night. If you didn’t call to find out, though, then you might take the resident’s payment only to have to “eat the cost” later when our invoice showed up in your Inbox the next morning.
Beginning tomorrow, though, all that will change for the better! Starting April 1, when you submit an eviction case to us, the case will be assigned a status of “New” until one of our attorneys has reviewed and approved it. Once that happens, when you login and view the case status, you will see it has been marked as “Approved.“ At that point, you will then know: (1) the attorneys’ fees portion of our Invoices have been attached to that case for billing (and can be required to be reimbursed by the tenant, when permitted by your state’s laws); and (2) that if you request the case be dismissed at that point, you will NOT be billed for any Court costs or service fees that would otherwise be due if the case had been fully processed.
After the case is “Approved”, though, the next status update occurs when our team processes the paperwork and submits it to the Court for filing, along with checks for the Court and the Sheriff. The case’s status will then show as “Processed” so that you know: (1) the case has been shipped to the Court to be filed; (2) the full amount of our usual Invoice will be created and sent to you electronically overnight, allowing you to seek reimbursement from the resident for the full amount of the Invoice you receive from us.
So starting tomorrow, in the rare instance that a resident makes payment and you mark the case to be Dismissed in-between the time the case was in “Approved” status but before moving to “Processed” status, you will only receive an invoice for our attorney fees, and nothing else! This will hopefully save you extra money and charges, and also hopefully some unneeded stress, by keeping you from having to try to seek reimbursement for invoices after you’ve already accepted payment. If you do not dismiss the case until after it has been processed, though, you will receive a full invoice just like you’re used to receiving.
The beauty of this is that by looking at your case status screen, you will know in almost real time whether the case has already been reviewed and approved but not yet processed (meaning you can save court costs if the case is dismissed at that moment), or if it has already been processed and sent off to Court for filing, allowing you to seek full reimbursement from the resident. [NOTE: we say “almost” real time because the attorneys are in there reviewing and approving at the same time as you, so be sure to refresh your Case Status screen to make sure you’re getting the most current information!]
So, from here forward, the “best practice” would be to politely ask a resident who has come in (or called in) to make payment to wait while you log into your account and check the status of their pending case. If it still says “New”, you can go ahead and click ‘Dismiss’ and let the resident know that there is no extra charge.
If the case shows as “Approved” but the resident is making full payment, again just click ‘Dismiss’ but be sure you’ve let the resident know that this is the reason they were required to pay some additional amounts (our attorneys’ fees) in reimbursement to you – those will come to you in an invoice from us that same night.
Finally, if the case shows as “Processed”, you will know you should expect to receive an invoice from our Firm that night in the total of our attorneys’ fees together with the Court and Sheriff fees, as well; if you’re seeking reimbursement from the tenant, then you can let them know the total amount needed, and then dismiss the case once you have received payment.
And if you ever have any questions about the amount of our fees or the Court and Sheriff charges, our breakdown of fees is on our website under the “How Much Does This Cost” button and also in our welcome packets to new clients. As always, we hope you enjoy our new enhancements to your client experience with us, and thank you for your trust and continued business.
We wanted to send you an update about the current status of eviction filings in South Carolina. This morning, the South Carolina Supreme Court issued a new Order, which required that all evictions filings, writs, and hearings be discontinued for now, until the Court issues a future Order allowing them to resume. Starting today, we will no longer be able to submit new eviction cases to the Courts, nor to process and submit new Writs.
While we do not have a definite date when the Courts will be open for submission of new eviction cases again, we will be preparing every case you submit to us through Nationwide in the interim days, so that they are all ready to be filed as soon as we get the go ahead from the Courts. We encourage you to continue to submit your evictions as you normally would in Nationwide so that we will have your files ready to go and submit as soon as is permitted.
Here are a few important things we ask you to keep in mind:
Please do not charge attorneys fees or court costs to any tenant’s ledger until you receive an invoice from us – there may be a lag time before we are able to file, so please do not charge legal fees until you receive an invoice from us.
Should we experience a delay beyond a couple weeks in which we are unable to file, please be patient; it may take extra time for us to review and process your case, but we will file all cases we have received with the Courts as soon as permitted, which is why we would encourage filing as normal so avoid any delay time when that time comes.
We will not charge you any fees until we process and submit your case (or Writ) to the Court – so you will not receive an invoice until we are actually able to file your case with the Court.
If you should upload a case for March that has yet to be filed, please remember to upload a ledger that includes April’s rent should we not be able to file until April.
We remain hopeful (as we’re sure you do, as well) that we will be allowed to start filing again in April; however, in full disclosure, the Court has not specified a date that filings will re-commence, so the timing could be 30, or more, days out, we just don’t know. But we will, of course, keep you updated the very day we get new information for you.
We thank you for your continued support during these difficult times and we will continue to go above and beyond to serve you.
News regarding COVID-19 and Evictions seems to change daily and it can sometimes cause confusion. We want to make sure that you have the latest news and hope to explain it a little further.
Following President Trump’s announcement today about halting evictions, HUD Secretary Carson issued an official release clarifying the details. HUD Secretary Ben Carson has authorized the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to implement an immediate eviction moratorium but this specifically is focused on single-family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages. The text of the press release can be found here.
Following our email to you on Friday discussing a Memorandum from the SC Supreme Court’s Chief Justice, we just received this updated Order from the Chief Justice and wanted to pass it along to you as soon as possible today. As you will see, the Supreme Court has ordered the State’s Courts to continue all pending hearings in eviction cases until a date on or after May 1.
The court will send out new dates to all interested parties after they are assigned and our team will update the online system.
For any current cases where we are already working with a tenant or opposing counsel, we’ll continue to try and reach a resolution for you; but otherwise, our team will let you know as soon as we have received word of the new date for each case.
Our information is that the Court has advised the various Courts of the State to continue to remain open and to continue to accept new filings, so for new cases that become necessary this month, please feel free to continue your usual case submission protocols and timelines; our staff is ready to review and process new cases for you promptly, so that they can be filed as soon as possible and thereby secure a “place in line” for whenever actual hearings are permitted to resume.
We thank you for your trust and continued business and we will continue to keep you updated as relevant information becomes available to us.
Following our email to you on Friday discussing an Order from the NC Supreme Court’s Chief Justice, we received last night this updated Order from the Chief Justice and wanted to pass it along to you as soon as possible today.
The Chief Justice clarified yesterday that all small claims hearings across the state will be continued to future dates, sometime in the coming weeks. No date certain for these is known at this point, however. For any current cases where we are already working with a tenant or opposing counsel, we’ll continue to try and reach a resolution for you; but otherwise, our team will let you know as soon as we have received word of the new date for each case.
For new cases that become necessary this month, feel free to continue your usual case submission protocols and timelines; our staff is ready to review and process new cases for you promptly, so that they can be filed as soon as possible and thereby secure a “place in line” for whenever actual hearings are permitted to resume.
We thank you for your trust and continued business.