Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Struggling with mortgage? Deadline to apply for help 12/31/20

The federal CARES Act creates some help for people who are struggling to pay their mortgages because of COVID-related issues. The deadline to request the help is 12/31/2020.

Who is eligible? People who have federally-backed mortgages (like FHA, USDA, VA mortgages, for example) who are having trouble making the payments because of the pandemic.

What if my mortgage isn't federally backed? Many private mortgage lenders are offering pandemic-related relief, too. 

What kind of relief is available? A forebearance, meaning a temporary reduction or pause in your obligation to make your mortgage payments for up to 180 days with a possible extension of another 180 days.

Do I have to prove my financial hardship? No. If you qualify for the CARES Act relief the mortgage servicer can not legally require you to produce evidence of your financial hardship.

What happens after the forebearance period, if I get one? You'll still be required to pay back the missed mortgage payments, but you can not be required to pay it in a lump sum if you qualify for the CARES Act relief. You'll have a repayment plan, so that is something you and the mortgage servicer should work out before your forebearance is up.

Do I have to pay application fees or other fees to get the relief? No. Under the CARES Act you can not be charged fees for the relief. If anyone asks you to pay upfront fees to get the relief it is likely a scam, report it to consumer protection authorities like the Federal Trade Commission https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/ and be careful.

The deadline for this relief is just a couple weeks away! If you are struggling to meet your mortgage payments, or you are already behind, you can call your mortgage servicer to ask about what relief you might be eligible for. You might get the break you need.

For more information see https://www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/mortgage-and-housing-assistance/mortgage-forbearance-during-covid-19-what-know-what-do/ and http://cfpb.gov/housing

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