Important Things To Know First
- If you can pay your mortgage, pay your mortgage.
- If you can’t pay mortgage, or can only pay a portion, contact your mortgage servicer immediately.
You may need to stay on the phone for a while before the servicer is able to take your call. Loan servicers are also impacted by the pandemic, so may be working with staffing and technology limitations.
- Homeownership counseling and assistance is available to Washington residents.
Homeowners in distress may call DFI’s toll-free number 1-877-RING-DFI (746-4334) to talk to a member of our team and to get assistance in how best to contact their mortgage servicer, and to learn more about their options. If you would like to talk to a housing counselor, call the Washington Homeownership Hotline at 1.877.894.HOME.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
The CARES Act puts in place two protections for homeowners with federally backed mortgages:
- Your lender or loan servicer may not foreclose on you for 60 days after March 18, 2020. Specifically, the CARES Act prohibits lenders and servicers from beginning a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure against you, or from finalizing a foreclosure judgment or sale, during this period of time. A right to forbearance for homeowners who are experiencing a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 emergency.
- If you experience financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, you have a right to request a forbearance for up to 180 days. You also have the right to request one extension for another up to 180 days. You must contact your loan servicer to request this forbearance. There will be no additional fees, penalties or additional interest (beyond scheduled amounts) added to your account. You do not need to submit additional documentation to qualify other than your claim to have a pandemic-related financial hardship.
If you do not have a federally backed mortgage, you still may have relief options through your mortgage servicer.
How to Request Forbearance or Other Mortgage Relief
Call your servicer, or review your servicer’s webpage for COVID-19 relief options and applications.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has created a guide to COVID-19 mortgage relief options(link is external).
- Homeowners in distress may call DFI’s toll-free number 1-877-746-4334 to talk to a member of our team and to get assistance in how best to contact their mortgage servicer, and to learn more about their options.
- Washington residents can also call Washington Homeownership Hotline at 1.877.894.HOME for more information and assistance.
Is My Mortgage Federally Backed?
To be eligible for protections under the CARES Act, your mortgage must be federally owned or otherwise backed by one of the federal agencies and entities. If you don’t know who owns or backs your mortgage, you can call your servicer.
Federal agencies and entities
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- USDA Direct
- USDA Guaranteed
- Federal Housing Administration (FHA) – includes reverse mortgages
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
- Fannie Mae
- Freddie Mac
If your mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac:
In addition to the foreclosure moratorium and forbearance, if you are granted forbearance to delay making your monthly payments during this temporary period:
- You won’t incur late fees
- You won’t have delinquencies reported to credit reporting companies
- Foreclosure and other legal proceedings will be suspended
You can find out if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac owns your loan by using their loan lookup tools below, or by contacting your mortgage loan servicer to ask who owns your loan.
- Fannie Mae Loan Lookup(link is external)
- Freddie Mac Loan Lookup(link is external)
- Fannie Mae COVID-19 Help(link is external)
- Freddie Mac Extending Help to Homeowners Impacted by COVID-19(link is external)
If your mortgage is backed by FHA:
In addition to the CARES Act special COVID-19 forbearance, FHA also implemented the COVID-19 National Emergency Partial Claim, an option to be used by servicers when the COVID-19 forbearance period ends. This partial claim will help eligible homeowners who have been granted special COVID-19 National Emergency forbearance to reinstate their loans by authorizing servicers to advance funds on behalf of homeowners. The partial claim will defer the repayment of those advances through an interest-free subordinate mortgage that the borrower does not have to pay off until their first mortgage is paid off.
Further, FHA instructed mortgage servicers to:
- Delay submitting Due and Payable requests for Home Equity Conversion Mortgages by six months, with an additional six-month delay available with HUD approval; and
- Extend any flexibility they may have under the Fair Credit Reporting Act relative to negative credit reporting actions.
What if My Mortgage is Not Federally Backed?
If you have a mortgage loan that is not backed by one of the federal agencies or entities listed above, contact your servicer. DFI and other state and federal financial regulators have encouraged financial institutions to work with borrowers who are or may be unable to meet their obligations because of the effects of COVID-19.
Call the Washington Homeownership Hotline at 1.877.894.HOME for more information and assistance.
- Consumer Guide on Mortgage Relief Options(link is external)
Guide from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Conference of State Bank Supervisors.
- What is Mortgage Forbearance?(link is external)
The CFPB provides consumers with a guide to what mortgage forbearance is, how to request it, and resources for additional assistance.
- CFPB Provides Consumers with Financial Guidance for COVID-19(link is external)
The CFPB is maintaining a website with steps you can take to help protect yourself or a loved one financially, both in the short and long term.
- DFI’s Homeownership Assistance
The DFI maintains a website as a one-stop resource center for homeownership and foreclosure information specifically for Washington residents.
- HUD-Approved Housing Counselors(link is external)
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-approved housing counselors can discuss options with you if you are having trouble paying your mortgage loan or reverse mortgage loan.
“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”