April 3, 2020

The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Thursday the Federal Housing Administration will offer a tailored set of mortgage relief options to those with FHA-insured mortgages who are being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and who are unable to make their payments.

Mortgage servicers may extend deferred or reduced payment options to FHA borrowers facing financial hardship for six months, and also extend options beyond that to an additional six months of forbearance, if requested by eligible borrowers.

The FHA guidelines are part of the stimulus package that President Donald Trump signed into law March 27, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. That law requires banks to extend to borrowers with federally backed mortgages up to 12 months of forbearance if facing a coronavirus-related financial hardship.

“The last thing any of us wants is for Americans to lose their homes unnecessarily while we continue to fight this invisible enemy,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement. “If you’re struggling, immediate help is now available. The FHA will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure that the loss mitigation options that are offered for both forward and reverse borrowers are appropriately tailored for the present situation.”

The FHA also announced it is offering a new program that will allow borrowers who do take part in the forbearance to hold off on paying the full amount from their forbearance period until the mortgage is paid off. Its COVID-19 National Emergency Partial Claim is an option that can take effect when the forbearance period ends. The partial claim will help eligible homeowners who have been granted forbearance reinstate their loans by authorizing servicers to advance funds on behalf of homeowners. Borrowers who are given an interest-free subordinate mortgage will not have to pay it off until their first mortgage is paid off.

The FHA also announced changes to its reverse mortgage rules, allowing borrowers to delay making home equity payments for six months and possibly an additional six months as well if facing a coronavirus-related hardship.

Homeowners who are struggling to make their mortgage payments are urged to contact their mortgage servicer to discuss options.