If you are having trouble paying your mortgage, the Biden administration will expand certain programs to help you. Previously, those safeguards – including a temporary foreclosure stay and forbearance options – had expired in late March 2021.
But since we’re not done with the coronavirus crisis yet. Even though millions of people have been vaccinated and millions more are given every day, some homeowners still have mortgage problems.
Depending on your mortgage type and timing, you may be eligible for help until June 30, 2022. To get this help, you need to know how the programs work.
Who is eligible for mortgage assistance?
Only certain types of mortgages are covered by these programs. To qualify, you will need either a federal government sponsored or a federal government sponsored mortgage, which includes the following types of mortgage loan:
- HUD / FHA
- Fannie Mae
- Freddie Mac
Unfortunately, if your mortgage is held by a private lender, you are not eligible for assistance from these programs. This is similar to student loans. Only federal student loans can be automatically deferred, while it is up to each private lender to provide private student loan assistance at its discretion.
If you have a different type of mortgage then you should contact your lender to see what assistance they can offer you if you need help.
How does the Mortgage Forbearance and Foreclosure Moratorium Extension work?
The protective measures put in place by the previous government were due to expire in March. The Biden administration has renewed these programs and they currently consist of two major types of support:
If you fail to pay your mortgage and do not negotiate a temporary indulgence with your mortgage lender, your home will usually be foreclosed.
There is currently a moratorium on foreclosures on government-funded mortgages that will be extended to June 30, 2021 and will remove the risk of foreclosure during that time.
Foreclosure is a lengthy process and can take several months. If you go through foreclosure now, the proceedings will be suspended until the moratorium closes. If you are not yet in foreclosure but are not paying on your home loan and are not in forbearance, you will not be brought into foreclosure proceedings against you until June 30th.
If you’re just going through a temporary emergency and your work is picking up speed again (or if you’re able to get another job), forbearance is a handy option. This gives you a temporary hold in payments, hopefully until you can get back on your feet.
With this forbearance of COVID, things work a little differently and it’s important to understand the schedules. There are two types of Forbearance that you can qualify for:
Initial COVID Forbearance
This gives you a 180 day (i.e. six month) break in payment.
For HUD, FHA, VA, or USDA loans, you must apply for an Initial Forbearance on or before June 30, 2021. Otherwise, you will not be entitled to further COVID leniency extensions if you need them later.
For Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, loans have no time limit to apply for an initial COVID forbearance. However, if you would like to apply for an Forbearance Extension later, you must have applied for your initial forbearance by at least February 28, 2021. As with HUD, VA, USDA, and FHA loans, if you wait until June 30, 2021, you may be eligible for an initial COVID grace period but not an extension.
If you are still going through difficult times after the initial grace period has expired, you can apply for up to two three-month grace extensions in a row. This gives you up to six additional months of indulgence in total.
If you have already been in Forbearance, you are entitled to a maximum of 18 months in total. You could run into this deadline if your mortgage had been lenient earlier in the pandemic.
How to Request COVID Forbearance
It is also important to know that forbearance is there Not automatically. If it’s tough for you, you need to reach out to your lender to arrange forbearance. Otherwise you will be considered to be in default when you stop paying your mortgage.
And while this won’t result in you being banned due to the foreclosure moratorium (at least until June 30, 2021), it still does significant damage to your creditworthiness.
To be lenient, reach out to your lender and request an “Forbearance to COVID Hardship” request. You do not need to provide any documents or hardship evidence. There are also no fees or additional charges, although there is interest on your loan that is repaid later.
Keep in mind that you may qualify for a year of Forbearance (six months of initial COVID Forbearance plus a three month extension on two separate periods). You have until June 30, 2021 to apply for the COVID Initial Forbearance on any type of federal covered mortgage you have.
To apply for an Forbearance Extension, you must not have applied for this Initial Forbearance until February 28, 2021 (for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans) or June 30, 2021 (for VA, FHA, USDA or HUD loans) .
What happens when the forbearance ends?
Forbearance is a great way to keep your home and maintain your credit score if you are temporarily in financial trouble with COVID. But it is not a free pass for payments. You still need to repay the skipped payment from the leniency window. What this looks like when you restart payments can take several forms:
- Lump sum. This is NOT required for the federal government sponsored or federal guaranteed loans covered by this program. However, if you have the financial means, you can always repay these missed payments in a lump sum if you wish.
- Postponement. You may be able to tackle these additional payments easily by the end of your loan. For example, if you take a six month hiatus, you simply pay off your mortgage six more months before it is repaid.
- Repayment plan. If you can afford a slightly higher payment on your return, you may be presented with a repayment schedule. That way, you can pay a little more each month, so you can repay your loan by the date originally scheduled.
- Modification. If you took a permanent wage cut when you paid off your loan, your lender may be able to modify your loan so that your payments will be lower in the future.
It is up to your lender which of these options are offered to you. But rest assured, you won’t have to repay all missed payments in one lump sum.
Here is a quick rundown of the most common questions people have:
Biden expanded two protections for federally secured or nationwide guaranteed mortgages: a moratorium on foreclosures through June 30, 2021 and COVID forbearance options.
The new extensions only apply to state-secured or nationwide guaranteed mortgages. This includes mortgages from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as USDA, VA, FHA, and HUD loans.
For HUD, FHA, VA, and USDA loans, you have until June 30, 2021 to apply for your first COVID grace period, which will last six months. There is no deadline to apply for COVID Forbearance on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Loans. To qualify for the renewals, you must have applied for First Forbearance by February 28, 2021.
For HUD, VA, FHA, or USDA loans, you can apply for up to two three-month extensions as long as you have applied for your first COVID forbearance by June 30, 2021.
For loans from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, you can also apply for extensions of up to two or three months. You must have applied for your first COVID forbearance by February 28, 2021.
For covered mortgages, you can apply for forbearance for up to one year. If your loans are already in forbearance, you can only apply for a maximum of 18 months forbearance.
No; You need to request it from your lender. Unlike the federal student loan program, payments on your mortgage are not automatically paused.