Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

NAACP pushes new foreclosure moratorium

The state NAACP chapter is encouraging legislators to pass a bill to create a six-month moratorium on foreclosures in the state.

Carmen Johnson

Carmen Johnson, housing chairwoman of the Maryland NAACP, says of foreclosures in the state: ‘If they are illegal, they need to be stopped.’ (Photo courtesy of Carmen Johnson)

Carmen Johnson, housing chairwoman of the Maryland State Conference, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said the organization is seeking a moratorium because many of the foreclosures are happening illegally.

“If they’re legal, by all means let them go through. But if they are illegal, they need to be stopped,” Johnson said.

The organization is trying to build support for moratorium legislation, which was introduced by Del. Aisha N. Braveboy and Sen. C. Anthony Muse in their respective chambers, and plans to hold a rally in Annapolis on Monday.

Maryland previously enacted a six-month foreclosure moratorium that was lifted in 2012 after reforms to the state’s foreclosure process. The foreclosures that were held during the previous moratorium contributed to increased foreclosure rate in Maryland during the past year and a half because it takes on average 575 days from the first missed payment to a foreclosure sale.

Last month, Maryland had the third-highest foreclosure rate in the nation with one foreclosure for every 543 homes, according to real estate information firm RealtyTrac.

Kathleen Murphy, president and CEO of the Maryland Bankers Association, said another moratorium would have a chilling effect on lending.

“It would create a significant slowdown in the ability for us to continue to stabilize this market and move forward,” Murphy said.

Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, also said he believes another moratorium would be bad for the housing market.

“We’ve seen the pattern really over the last four years has been there’s been a lot of confusion in the Maryland housing market because of the foreclosure situation,” Blomquist said.

Murphy also took offense at the suggestion that foreclosures are happening illegally.

“There are sweeping foreclosure laws in the state of Maryland, extensive laws that protect the homeowners that lenders must abide by. So I really do take exception to the view that there are illegal foreclosures that are happening,” she said.