DFI’s Mortgage Assistance Team Continues Helping Distressed Homeowners

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The Mortgage Assistance Team continues to assist distressed homeowners by providing guidance and resources to callers with mortgage-related questions. Many of the questions received are related to applying for a forbearance, what happens after a forbearance ends, and information regarding foreclosure and eviction moratoriums.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES Act) was signed into law on March 27, 2020, and it applies to homeowners who have mortgages that are backed by the federal government or Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE), (FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac). The CARES Act prohibited mortgage servicers from beginning a foreclosure against a borrower, or from finalizing a foreclosure, until May 17, 2020. The CARES Act also created a right to forbearance for homeowners with applicable mortgages.

The foreclosure moratorium was extended until December 31, 2020, by guidelines issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, and USDA. For borrowers who entered into forbearance plans with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, and USDA loans, the borrowers will not be required to pay back the amount that was missed all at once and mortgage servicers should refer to the specific program’s issued guidelines for additional details.

For homeowners with or without federally-backed mortgages, there are some local programs that are providing mortgage relief funds on a first-come basis until funds run out. Unfortunately, many of these programs will not meet the demand for assistance, so it is important for homeowners to apply as early as possible. Homeowners should check with their local county and city websites for possible resources.

For landlords and tenants, Governor Inslee extended the eviction moratorium through December 31, 2020. The eviction moratorium protects tenants from eviction due to unpaid rent. The eviction moratorium does not mean rent is not owed. For tenants that are unable to pay their rent, Washington’s Eviction Rent Assistance Program is assisting eligible tenants. The tenant must apply for the funds, and the assistance is provided through local housing providers. Additional information and a list of Eviction Rent Assistance Program providers can be found on the Washington Department of Commerce website. Like many financial assistance programs, the Eviction Rent Assistance Program will not meet the demand for assistance, and landlords and tenants may be able to find additional assistance through local programs.

Homeowners who need assistance 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 the Washington Homeownership Hotline at 1-877-894-HOME for information and assistance.