Mortgage Relief Program Offers Support for Residents
Program Allows Forbearance of Mortgage Payments for Up to One Year
During this difficult time many of our residents may be struggling to meet their financial obligations. As such, below is key information about the newly approved Mortgage Relief Program that allows you to forebear your mortgage payments for up to 12 months.
To assist residents in understanding this program and how to participate, the City will be hosting four FREE webinars on the following dates and times:
- Saturday, May 16, 2020 - 10:00 a.m.
- Monday, May 18, 2020 - 2:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - 10:00 a.m.
- Friday, May 22, 2020 - 2:30 p.m.
No RSVP is required. Limit to 100 participants per webinar. Click the date above for details on how to join the webinar. For questions related to these webinars, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the CARES ACT?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump on March 27th, 2020. The bill provided $2.2 trillion of stimulus funding for the economy. This law recognizes the importance of home ownership to American families and allows for up to one year of mortgage assistance through “forbearance” for all federal government backed loans. This includes a six-month forbearance with an option for another six-month extensions.
While most home loans in the last ten years are government backed, this means there are some that this bill does not apply to.
How does a mortgage forbearance work?
With a forbearance, no additional fees, penalties, or additional interest (beyond scheduled amounts) will be added to your account. Also, you do not need to submit additional documentation to qualify other than your claim to have a pandemic-related financial hardship.
During the forbearance, you will not make a principal and interest payment. Please note, you should continue to make payments that go to insurance and property tax. Interest on your loan will continue to accrue and will be added to the mortgage principal.
At the end of the forbearance, your payments will be a little higher for the balance of the loan to “make up” for the forbearance period.
How do I apply for it?
To apply for a forbearance, you must first determine whether your loan is government backed. (If you already know your loan is not federally backed, see below.)
Here are four examples of federal government backed mortgage programs:
- Fannie Mac (FNMA) – You can check your loan here.
- Freddie Mac (FHLMC) – You can check your loan here.
- FHA (Federal Housing Administration)
- VA (Veterans Administration)
Once you have determined you have a federal government backed loan, you then must determine if you have been economically harmed because of COVID-19 and/or the economic shutdown?
Some examples of this include:
- Became infected with COVID-19 and you missed work
- A family member was infected with COVID-19 and you missed work to care for them
- Job loss (layoff)
- Job loss (furlough)
- Income otherwise down (Reduction in hours, reduction in pay or less revenue for business owners)
After determining that your loan is federal government backed and you have been economically harmed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, follow these steps:
- Contact your mortgage servicer (those you make your payments to) by phone. Ask them for a COVID-19 Economic Impact Forbearance for six months. (You will be able to extend for additional six months if you are still impacted for a total of one year)
- Ask your mortgage servicer for their business address (this is likely where you send your payments to) Write them a certified letter requesting a forbearance. Remember to keep a copy for your own records!
- If you have an email address for your mortgage company, you should also send an email/copy of your forbearance request letter.
- Follow-up with your mortgage servicer and demand they grant your request your request in writing, whether it be an email or a letter.
What if I do not have a federal government backed mortgage?
If you cannot confirm you have a federally backed mortgage, contact your lender and ask them to confirm it for you. Ask them to provide this answer in writing, whether it be in an email or a letter.
If it is determined you do not have a federally backed mortgage, you can still ask your lender for a forbearance! While they can turn this offer down, they may be willing to work with you.
REMEMBER, IF YOU DO HAVE A GOVERNMENT BACKED MORTGAGE AND ARE IMPACTED ECONOMICALLY BY THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, THEY MUST GRANT YOU A FORBEARANCE IF YOU REQUEST ONE.