Updated: Apr 29, 2020
Thank you Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae for releasing the frequently asked questions. This applies to all loans that are Federally Backed, mortgages owned by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac.
What help is available for homeowners impacted by COVID-19? Homeowners unable to make their mortgage payments resulting from the impact of COVID-19 (regardless of whether they have contracted the virus) may be eligible for a mortgage forbearance plan to reduce or suspend their mortgage payments for up to 12 months. This assistance is available to homeowners with single family or condominium mortgages owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) regardless of whether their property is owner occupied, a second home, or an investment property.
What is a forbearance plan? A forbearance plan is an agreement between a homeowner and their mortgage servicer (the company they send their monthly mortgage payments to) that establishes an alternative payment schedule to reduce or suspend payments for a period of time. Importantly, mortgage forbearance plans do not reduce the principal amount owed on a mortgage, and interest continues to accrue for the duration of the plan. Homeowners who can afford to make partial payments should do so in order to lessen the amount due at the end of the forbearance.
Will the homeowner have to pay extra fees? While in forbearance, homeowners do not incur late fees or other penalties. However, the terms of the mortgage are unchanged, and arrangements will need to be made with the servicer to make up missed payments.
What happens at the end of the forbearance? At the end of the forbearance period, homeowners are still required to eventually fully repay the forbearance, but they will not have to repay it all at once unless they are able to do so. Servicer's will reach out to homeowners in forbearance about 30 days before the scheduled end of forbearance to determine which assistance program works best for the homeowner at that point – a repayment plan, loan modification, or an extension of the forbearance period if needed.
How do homeowners in need of assistance enter into a forbearance plan? Homeowners must contact their servicer to let them know they are impacted and having difficulty making their mortgage payment. Servicer's will review the homeowner’s situation to determine whether forbearance is appropriate. Homeowners do not need to provide extensive documentation to be placed in a forbearance plan.
When should a homeowner contact their mortgage servicer? Forbearance is for homeowners in need of assistance, so only those unable to make their mortgage payment should request it. The first step homeowners should take is to determine whether they are able to make their next mortgage payment. Those homeowners still able to pay their mortgage, should continue to do so. Homeowners unable to make their next mortgage payment due to a decline in income resulting from the impact of COVID-19, should call their servicer immediately upon making that determination.
Where can homeowners go for more information or to find out if their mortgage is owned by one of the Enterprises?
Homeowners can use Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac’s “loan lookup” tools on their respective websites – https://www.knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup for Fannie Mae or https://ww3.freddiemac.com/loanlookup/ for Freddie Mac.
Is there any assistance available for renters? Yes. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which became law on March 27, 2020, institutes a 120-day suspension on evictions for renters unable to pay rent in Federally-assisted properties, which includes single-family and multifamily properties with loans owned or securitized by the Enterprises.
Source: FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY • FHFA.gov