COVID-19 question of the day: “I can’t pay my mortgage due to COVID-19. Where can I get help?

Coronavirus

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — You can get your coronavirus question answered when you call WKRG News 5’s coronavirus hotline at 251-662-3055 and leave a message. We’ll answer a question each night on News 5 at 10.

This is the question for May 12:
“I’m behind on my house note due to the virus and not working and having to buy other things such as food, paper towels, things of that nature, and I was wondering if any of the, if ya’ll have any programs to address the mortgage companies that could help us as to what we need to do if we can’t pay our full mortgage note at this time. I greatly appreciate you taking these calls.”

If you’re having a difficult time paying your mortgage, or rent, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you need to first contact your mortgage company or landlord and explain your situation. Be honest with them and ask them what help they can offer you.

There are protections in place through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or “CARES” Act, for homeowners with mortgages that are federally or government-sponsored enterprise backed or funded by FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac. If you fall into that category, according to The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, your lender or loan servicer can not foreclose on you for 60 days after March 18, 2020– so you still have a little bit of time as of when this post was written.

Additionally, if you’re experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, you have a right to request a forbearance– a temporary postponement of mortgage payments– for up to 180 days, and the right to request an extension for up to another 180 days. You must contact your loan servicer to make this request.

“There are credit counseling agencies even in Mobile, they can Google it and go and talk to them. Of course, there is the opportunity right now for people to go into forbearance. If they choose to do that they really need to take into consideration the effect that that may have on them in the future,” said Stephanie Messinger, Senior Mortgage Lender with FirstBank.

Make sure you understand how the forbearance will be repaid. There can be different forbearance programs or options, depending on the type of your loan.

If you are a tenant living in federally subsidized housing or you’re renting from an owner who has a federally or GSE-backed mortgage, the CARES Act provides for a suspension on evictions.

Resources for mortgage relief:

CFPB: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/mortgage-and-housing-assistance/#options

FHFA: https://www.fhfa.gov/Homeownersbuyer/MortgageAssistance/Pages/Coronavirus-Assistance-Information.aspx

Fannie Mae loans: https://www.knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup

Freddie Mac loans: https://ww3.freddiemac.com/loanlookup/

Fannie Mae’s renter hotline: 1-877-542-9723

Freddie Mac’s renter hotline: 1-800-404-3097

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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