Are You Eligible for Mortgage Assistance?
If your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and you’re a victim of the most recent spate of wildfires, relief is in sight: You may be eligible for mortgage assistance.
Help From Fannie and Freddie
According to Fannie Mae’s Senior Vice President Carlos Perez, borrowers who have been impacted by the wildfires are eligible for “forbearance.” This means they can stop making mortgage payments for up to 12 months, without incurring late fees or having the delinquency reported to credit bureaus.
“Fannie Mae and our lending and servicing partners are focused on ensuring mortgage assistance is available during this challenging time,” Perez said. “[W]e encourage homeowners impacted by the fires to contact their mortgage servicer for assistance as soon as possible.”
Homeowners with a Fannie Mae-owned loan whose property is in a FEMA-declared zone are eligible for free assistance from the Disaster Response Network. If the home was not damaged, but the borrower’s employment/income was negatively affected, they are still eligible for the program.
To see if Fannie Mae owns your home loan, and to access contact information for the Disaster Response Network, visit the Loan Lookup tool.
Freddie Mac borrowers who live or work in regions that have been declared by the president to be Major Disaster Areas, and who have access to FEMA assistance programs, are eligible for Freddie’s disaster relief options. A list of these areas can be found on the FEMA’s website.
As with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac mortgage relief options for affected borrowers in eligible disaster areas include:
- Suspending foreclosures by providing forbearance for up to 12 months;
- Waiving assessments of penalties or late fees against borrowers with disaster-damaged homes; and
- Not reporting forbearance or delinquencies caused by the disaster to the nation’s credit bureaus.
But even in areas where FEMA has yet to make individual assistance available, borrowers still have assistance options. In these areas, Freddie’s mortgage servicers are encouraged to utilize short-term forbearance programs for those affected by the fires.
Relief options are also available for homeowners with loans insured by HUD or VA:
HUD. For further information about your FHA-insured mortgage, contact the National Servicing Center at 877-622-8525. For other questions, contact the FHA Resource Center at 800-CALL-FHA (5342). For a list of HUD-approved housing counselors, go to: www.hud.gov or call 800-569-4287.
Veterans who have questions regarding their home loans should contact VA’s home loan program toll-free number, 877-827-3702, to speak with a Loan Technician.
Veterans whose homes have ever been modified with VA Specially Adapted Housing grant funds, should also contact VA at 877-827-3702 to speak with our staff. Depending on the situation, additional grant funds may be available to help repair a disaster-damaged home.
For more specific disaster-related information, click here.
Featured Image: U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel Phelps, Public Domain