Thursday, April 30, 2020 / by Jeremy Feldman
Federal housing agencies and government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak with multiple relief programs for homeowners experiencing hardship due to illness and job loss.
60-Days Forbearance on Home Mortgages Owned or Backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac
Many U.S. home loans are owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Homeowners can determine if your loan is connected with Fannie Mae here.here. Please check here to check if your mortgage is affiliated with Freddie Mac.
CARES Act Provide Relief for Eligible Homeowners
The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act provides two protections for homeowners:
- Payment forbearance for homeowners impacted by the COVID-19 emergency. Forbearance periods up to 12 months may be approved based on individual hardship.
- Foreclosure and other legal actions are stopped for 60-days.
Forbearance may require a lump sum payment of deferred payments after the forbearance period or deferred payments may be added to the back of a mortgage, but fees may not be added to the loan balance.
Mortgage servicers may provide modification of loan terms to assist homeowners impacted by COVID-19. Modification terms can include:
- Reduction of mortgage interest rate
- Extension of the loan repayment term.
- Capitalization of unpaid principal and/ or interest to principal balance; this means adding unpaid amounts to the mortgage balance.
Contact your mortgage servicing company as soon as you know you will miss a mortgage payment or payments Relief programs usually require documentation verifying financial hardship. Mortgage servicers are experiencing high volumes of calls; you may need to call multiple times for assistance.
Mortgage Assistance for Non-Government Owned Loans
If you have a conventional mortgage that is not owned or backed by a government agency, please call your loan servicing company and ask about mortgage relief provisions. If your loan is covered by private mortgage insurance (PMI), ask your loan servicer if that company can help with relief options.
State and local agencies may offer housing relief options to homeowners and renters. Certified credit counseling agencies can also help with determining budgeting needs and local resources in addition to working with unsecured creditors toward reducing payments on credit card debt and personal loans.