Updated April 6, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our world upside down. While we are self-quarantining and learning about epidemiology and modes of virus transmissions, we are also watching the economy and financial markets reach a point that no one could have predicted. While owning a home “free and clear” is at an all-time high, over 60% of home owners still have a mortgage. In addition, according to the Pew Research Center, more U.S. households are renting than at any point in 50 years. Here are some recent developments in mortgage and rental payment assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Federal Assistance from the Federal Government
The federal government is acting quickly by providing assistance to borrowers who are unable to make their mortgage payments. The assistance is available to people regardless of whether they have contracted the virus and will lower or suspend mortgage payments for those who have lost income due to the outbreak.
It is anticipated that this assistance via the CARES act will be available immediately and for up to 12 months. Depending on their situation, homeowners impacted by the pandemic should be eligible to have their mortgage payments reduced or suspended for up to 1 year. And the best news is that your credit will not suffer. The federal CARES act gives borrowers the right to ask for forebearance by attesting that they have been impacted by the coronavirus. No specific documentation is required. Mortgage servicers can approve forebearance periods for 90 days at a time. At the end of the forebearance term, there will be several repayment options including repaying as a lump sum, spreading the payments out over time, refinancing, or adding the missed amount to the end of the loan. If the borrower reaches the end of the 90 period and needs additional time, they can extend the forebearance period in 90 day increments up to 1 year. Contact your lender directly to discuss with them the best options for your specific situation.
Assistance from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Fannie Mae is offering their customers options in situations where there is a job loss, a reduction in work hours, illness, or other issues. The focus of the plan is to reduce reporting people to credit bureaus for late or missed payments. In addition, foreclosure sales and evictions of borrowers are suspended for 60 days.
You may not know who owns your mortgage. Homeowners can find out If they have a Fannie Mae-owned mortgage by visiting www.KnowYourOptions.com/loanlookup. Current customers can reach out to Fannie Mae directly by calling 1-800-2FANNIE (1-800-232-6643). Their current response plan can be found on their website, www.knowyouroptions.com/covid19assistance.
Freddie Mac is offering similar options and flexibility including mortgage forbearance, waiving penalties and late fees, halting all foreclosure sales and evictions and suspending reporting to credit bureaus of delinquency related to forbearance,
Visit Freddie Mac’s consumer page on My Home by Freddie Mac® to learn more about their mortgage relief options to help homeowners.
Assistance from other lenders
Other major lenders are working on similar plans. All mortgage lenders are communicating their plans via their websites or through direct communications with their clients.
Ally Bank – https://www.ally.com/coronavirus-response
Ent Credit Union – https://ent.com/coronavirus
It is important to keep in mind that the currently offered programs are for temporary assistance only and in no way means you should stop paying your mortgage. There will be repayment offered by each company as this assistance is not a forgiveness of debt. In all cases it is critical for homeowners to communicate directly with their mortgage company as to what options and flexibility is offered to their specific situation. Give them a call or email, and exercise some patience because they are handling a lot of inquiries during this time.
Rental Assistance Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Current renters may be eligible for similar assistance programs, although the exact details have not been formulated or announced. Many municipalities are halting evictions for people who can’t pay rent. For more information and the most current updates, consult the City of Colorado Springs Response page at: https://coloradosprings.gov/covidcityresponse.
Rental Assistance Agencies Offering Assistance in the Pikes Peak Region
Mercy’s Gate (719) 277-7470, https://mercysgatecs.org/direct-services/housing-program/
Holy Cross Lutheran Church (719) 596-4386, https://www.holycrosscs.org/contact/
Ecumenical Social Ministries (719) 636-1916, https://www.ecusocmin.org/
Community Action Agency (719) 358-8396
Westside Cares (719) 389-0759, https://westsidecares.org/what-we-do/financial-assistance/
Reach Pikes Peak (Eastern COS Only) (719) 347-2976, http://www.reachpikespeak.org/programs/#.XnkXQZNKjOQ
Colorado Springs Housing and Community Development Division(719) 632-7349, https://coloradosprings.gov/community-development
Tri-Lakes Cares (719) 481-4864, https://tri-lakescares.org/client-services/financial-assistance/
Walt Fortman Community (719) 382-8515
Pikes Peak Community Action Agency (719) 358-8396
Silver Key (Ages 60+) (719) 884-2300, https://www.silverkey.org/services/senior-assistance/
Home Front Cares (Current/Former Military) (719) 434-1501, https://www.thehomefrontcares.org/about-us/our-programs
Community Resource Hotline Call 211 or go online to 211.org
Springs Homes presents this information to keep our clients informed and in no way implies individual eligibility or specific financial advice. Additionally, Springs Homes does not condone not making mortgage or rent payments. We recommend seeking professional advice on your specific situation from your mortgage lender or licensed financial advisor.