Local Governments Scrambling to Protect Residents as Moratoriums End; N.M. Announces Phased Restart to Garnishments

Local governments began scrambling yesterday to try and implement protections for consumers who might be facing eviction or foreclosure as moratoriums that were put into place at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic are now expiring. The protections that are being put into place in some areas are affecting collectors and debt buyers, who need to be aware of these changes to avoid violating any local regulations or laws.

In New Mexico, for example, the state Supreme Court announced a phased restart for creditors that have obtained judgments against individuals with unpaid debts based on when the judgment was obtained. The plan will allow for all writs and garnishments to be fully collectible by Feb. 1, 2022. Creditors will be able to file new applications for writs or garnishments while the courts begin to allow for them to occur. Applications that were pending when the state suspended garnishments last year are no longer valid and creditors will have to file new applications, the court said.

For judgments that were entered in cases in or before 2016, creditors can begin filing writ applications on September 1. For judgments filed in cases on or before Dec. 31, 2018, creditors can begin filing writ applications on October 1. For judgments filed on or before Dec. 31, 2019, the resumption date is November 1, and for judgments filed on or before Dec. 31, 2020, the resumption date is Jan. 1, 2022.

Meanwhile, in DeKalb County, Georgia, a Superior Court judge signed an order that bans evictions in the county for 60 days. About 1,700 eviction orders were pending before the court and scheduled to be executed when the federal moratorium expired on July 31.

“This emergency order is a godsend,” DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond said in a statement. “Without this local extension to the CDC moratorium, thousands of DeKalb residents faced the stark reality of having their belongings set out on the street in the midst of surging COVID-19 infection rates.”

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