New guide released for renters, homeowners struggling to make payments

Coronavirus
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HONOLULU (KHON2) — In light of the hardship connected to COVID-19, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz released new guidance to help renters and homeowners with government-guaranteed mortgages who may fall behind on monthly payments.

“Lots of Hawai‘i residents are struggling to make their mortgage or their rent, and these programs can help tens of thousands of people who need it,” said Senator Schatz. “Please call either your mortgage servicer, your landlord, or a housing counselor to see if you are eligible for either forbearance or protections against being evicted.”

Homeowners with mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 184a, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac are eligible for loan forbearance – a temporary postponement of mortgage payments – for up to one year without fees, penalties, or additional interest.

For renters in properties with federally-guaranteed loans or participating in federal housing programs, property owners are prohibited from filing for eviction against or charging any fees for unpaid rent and fees to a tenant until July 26, 2020.

More than 60 percent of all mortgages in Hawai‘i and across the country are backed by the federal government.

The full homeowners and renters resource guide can be found below and is available here.

HOMEOWNERS WITH MORTGAGES BACKED BY THE FHA, USDA, VA, HUD SECTION 184A, FANNIE MAE, OR FREDDIE MAC

Mortgage Payment Forbearance

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides relief for homeowners with government-guaranteed mortgages. Homeowners with mortgages backed by the FHA, USDA, VA, HUD Section 184a, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac are eligible for loan forbearance for up to one year without fees, penalties, or additional interest.

Homeowners who are facing a financial hardship, either directly or indirectly, from the coronavirus may receive the forbearance by submitting a request to their servicer stating they are experiencing a hardship related to the virus. The forbearance will be granted for 180 days and may be extended for up to another 180 days at the borrower’s request.

Homeowners in need of the forbearance should reach out to their mortgage servicers as soon as possible or contact a HUD approved housing counselor. Contact information for a homeowner’s mortgage servicer can be found in monthly mortgage statements or coupon book. The nearest housing counselor can be found at www.consumerfinance.gov/find-a-housing-counselor or by calling (800) 569-4287.

Foreclosure Relief

Homeowners with FHA, USDA, VA, or Section 184 or 184A mortgages, or mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who are facing foreclosure will also have relief from foreclosure or being forced to relocate as we address the COVID-19 pandemic. The foreclosure eviction moratorium is in effect until May 17, 2020.

Renters in properties with federally-guaranteed loans or participating in federal housing programs

RENTERS

Eviction Moratorium for Renters

Until July 26, 2020, property owners are prohibited from filing for eviction against or charging any fees for unpaid rent and fees to a tenant in properties with federally-guaranteed loans or participating in federal housing programs. Property owners must also issue a notice to tenants to vacate 30 days before an eviction and the notice to vacate cannot be issued during this 120-day period.

This protection covers properties that receive federal subsidies such as public housing, Section 8 assistance, USDA rural housing programs, and Low Income Housing Tax Credits, as well as properties that have a mortgage issued or guaranteed by a federal agency (including FHA and USDA) or Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Additionally, owners of multifamily buildings with federal loans in forbearance may not evict tenants for unpaid rent or charge late fees or penalties until the loan exits forbearance.

Renters seeking information on whether they are covered by the moratorium should contact Legal Aid Society of Hawai‘i or a HUD approved housing counselor. You can find the nearest housing counselor here or by calling (800) 569-4287.

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