Coronavirus mortgage relief may be available if you are facing financial difficulties due to the virus.
The coronavirus has made it hard for millions of people to make ends meet, including making their mortgage payments. Fortunately, there is coronavirus mortgage relief available if you have a federally-backed mortgage. In other words, if you have a Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, USDA, or VA loan, you may be eligible for mortgage relief thanks to the CARES Act.
What the CARES Act Says
The CARES Act or Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities Act does two things:
- Stops foreclosures for the time being
- Gives homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments due to COVID-19 a break
The foreclosure moratorium prohibits lenders from foreclosing on your home for 60 days starting March 18, 2020.
The CARES Act also states that if you are facing financial difficulties due to COVID-19, you can ask for forbearance for up to 180 days. If you are still experiencing financial difficulty after the 180 days, you may request an additional 180-day forbearance.
A forbearance is not something automatic – you must request it, and you must state that you were affected by the coronavirus specifically in order to qualify.
How to Get Help
First, you need to know if you have a federally-backed mortgage. You can look at your mortgage documents to see if you have an FHA, USDA, or VA loan. If you don’t, you’ll need to use the online lookup tool to determine whether you have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan.
Requesting Coronavirus Mortgage Relief
If you have a federally-backed loan, the next step is to get in touch with your loan servicer. This is the company that you send your mortgage payments to each month. If you don’t know who it is, look at your latest mortgage statement and take the following steps:
- Check your loan servicer’s website – Most loan companies have a list of the documents or information you need to get mortgage relief. Save yourself some time and look online first so that you have the information you need when you call. Prepare to be on hold for a while when you do call.
- Call your loan servicer – Once you have the information you need handy, call your loan servicer and explain why you can’t make your payments and how long you think the problem may last.
Your loan servicer will then go over your options with you which should include forbearance, but may also include modification or other payment arrangement options, as the help does vary by lender.
The most important thing you can do during this time is get in touch with your loan servicer.
Coronavirus mortgage relief isn’t automatic – you have to request it and prove that you need it. Some lenders require paper documentation, while others don’t – find out what your lender requires and provide the information as quickly as possible to stop your payments from being reported late and fees accruing during this time.