Temporary Mortgage Relief Due to Coronavirus Pandemic
If you’ve been affected financially by the coronavirus pandemic and you own a single-family home with a federally backed or FHA-insured mortgage, you can request mortgage forbearance, a pause in making mortgage payments.
Learn the steps to take and questions to ask if you need mortgage forbearance from your lender.
Deadlines for Federally Backed Mortgage Foreclosures
Lenders and loan servicers may not foreclose on federally backed loans until after February 28, 2021.
Lenders cannot foreclose on loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac until after January 31, 2021.
What Your Loan Servicer Must Do If You Request Forbearance
If you're having trouble making payments on your federally backed mortgage because of the coronavirus pandemic, contact your loan servicer before February 28, 2021 if you have a federally backed loan. Your loan servicer must:
Defer or reduce your payments for 180 days if you contact them to make arrangements
Give you another 180 days of mortgage relief at your request
Offer options for how you can make up the deferred or reduced payments. They will discuss these options with you at the end of your forbearance period.
Find Your Loan Servicer
If you don't know whether your mortgage is federally backed, see a list of federal agencies that provide or insure mortgages. You can also check the Fannie Mae loan lookup and the Freddie Mac loan lookup to see if either one owns or backs your mortgage. Together, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac own nearly half of all mortgages in the U.S.
Foreclosure is a situation in which a homeowner is unable to make mortgage payments as required, which allows the lender to seize the property, evict the homeowner and sell the home, as stipulated in the mortgage contract.
Step One: Communicate With Your Lender
As soon as you realize that you are going to have trouble making your mortgage payments, contact your lender and tell them about your financial difficulties. This gives them the opportunity to work with you to create a plan. Do not stop paying your bills, and do not wait until you cannot make payments before you act. Though you may feel scared or embarrassed, immediately begin working with your lender to avoid foreclosure on your home. Learn more about how to talk to your lender about trouble making payments.
Step Two: Work With the MHA Program
You can get help through the Making Home Affordable (MHA) program, which provides free counselors for advice and assistance with keeping you in your home or getting out safely. Visit the MHA website to read about the options and what you’ll need to prepare.
MHA has a hotline you can call anytime: 1-888-995-HOPE (1-888-995-4673) and TTY users should call 1-877-304-9709. You can also find a counselor in your area.
Your state's housing agency might have a foreclosure avoidance program as well.
If you have an FHA loan, call the FHA National Servicing Center at 1-877-622-8525.
Beware of mortgage relief scams. One sign of a scam is when they ask for a fee in advance. Learn how to spot housing scams and report housing scams.
Scammers may offer to "help" you make your mortgage payments, but they’re just trying to take your money. Find out how to detect, report, and protect yourself against these scams.
These scam operators find potential victims in several ways:
- Advertising (on radio, online, and in local publications)
- Distributing flyers
- Contacting people whose homes appear in the foreclosure notices in a local newspaper
- Targeting specific religious or ethnic groups
- Making promises to help you keep or sell your home, for a fee
Report Foreclosure Scams
How to Protect Yourself from Foreclosure Scams
Get reliable foreclosure help and counseling through the government's Making Home Affordable program. Or find a government certified housing counselor near you. Read more about foreclosure scams and find phone numbers to call for help.
Learn about your legitimate government-approved mortgage and foreclosure help options. Also be aware of these tricks that scammers use:
- Don’t fall for rent-to-buy schemes or other mortgage fraud schemes.
- Don’t send mortgage payments to any company that is not your loan servicer.
- Don’t sign any documents without having them reviewed by a lawyer or independent expert.
- Don’t stop making mortgage payments.
- Don’t forget that real help from the government is always free.
- Don’t give anyone your personal information, Social Security number, or bank information. Only share this information if you've confirmed that the company is legitimate.
Refinancing your mortgage allows you to pay off your existing mortgage and take out a new mortgage on new terms. You may want to refinance your mortgage to take advantage of lower interest rates, to change your type of mortgage, or for other reasons.
These resources will help you learn more about refinancing your mortgage:
Making Home Affordable Program
- The Making Home Affordable Program offered opportunities to modify or refinance your mortgages, but as of December 30, 2016, no new requests for assistance under any MHA program will be accepted.
- However, the MHA program still offers free counseling and help for homeowners who are having difficulty communicating with mortgage companies or lenders about their needs for mortgage relief. Learn more about counseling or call 888-995-HOPE (4673).
- The Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA) is an alternative solution for homeowners who are interested in a short sale or deed-in-lieu to avoid foreclosure.
Mortgage Company Transferring Your Loan to Another Company
Federal Reserve rules require mortgage companies to notify homeowners when their loans are transferred to another company. The company that takes over your loan must send you a notice within 30 days of acquiring it. Even with a new loan owner, the company that "services" or handles your loan might not change and you might continue to send your payments to the same address. If that loan servicer changes, you will receive a separate notice.
For more information about servicing companies, read the Federal Trade Commission's publication "Mortgage Servicing: Making Sure Your Payments Count."
Do you have a question?
Ask a real person any government-related question for free. They'll get you the answer or let you know where to find it.
January 8, 2021