COVID-19; Homeowners with federally backed loans can skip mortgage payments for up to a year, regardless of what their banks say"

"The federal CARES Act for the COVID-19 pandemic gives borrowers of federally backed loans the right to contact their mortgage loan servicer and demand what’s called forbearance, skipping their mortgage payments, simply by attesting that the coronavirus crisis has resulted in financial hardship.

No documentation of the hardship is required.

About 70 percent of home loans in the United States — about 33.4 million — are actually owned by an agency backed or controlled by the federal government, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

For Fannie Mae, go to knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup

For Freddie Mac, go to ww3.freddiemac.com/loanlookup

Mortgage servicers, however, are allowed to approve forbearance periods for 90 days at a time. Before those 90 days are over, customers need to reach out again if they need another 90 days, and so on, up to a year, said Raphael Williams, spokesman for the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, guarantors of nearly half of all U.S. loans.

At the end of that forbearance period, when you are ready to resume making monthly payments, servicers of federally backed loans must give customers several repayment options, including add the entire missed amount to the end of the loan, extending the loan by the number of missed months.

The CARES Act doesn’t specify how mortgage servicers should handle the escrowed portion — property taxes and insurance — of mortgage payments."


Hat Tip Joe Coleman

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