Coronavirus Pandemic
Mortgage Relief Programs

Updated Dec. 22, 2020. This page will be updated regularly, so check in often for new information.

Written by Crissinda Ponder | Edited by Deborah Kearns

Privacy Secured  |  Advertising Disclosures
 

Mortgage relief resources

If you’re having trouble paying your mortgage as a result of lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic, help is available. The federal government, individual states and lenders are offering mortgage relief programs and renter protections to help ease some of the financial burdens Americans are facing.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have created a joint webpage for homeowners and renters who are struggling financially because of the COVID-19 crisis. The site provides helpful resources, advice and links to national resources for anyone unable to pay their mortgage or rent.

Federal mortgage relief programs

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. The legislation is a $2 trillion economic relief bill that includes several consumer protections for Americans impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

On Dec. 21, 2020, Congress passed a coronavirus relief bill that includes an eviction moratorium extension through Jan. 31, 2021, for all renters. The original CARES Act eviction moratorium was set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020.

The bill also includes $25 billion in rental relief assistance “to help families and individuals pay their rent and utility bills and remain stably housed,” according to a statement from U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who chairs the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services.

While the rental assistance helps struggling renters who’ve lost a job or had their incomes reduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, it also helps landlords who are struggling to pay their property expenses. Property owners can apply for assistance to pay their mortgage bills and keep tenants housed safely, according to Waters’ statement. 

In other news, the FHA announced it will extend its foreclosure and eviction moratorium on the loans it backs through Feb. 28, 2021. This is the FHA’s fourth moratorium extension since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, the FHA is giving FHA borrowers until Feb. 28 to request a COVID-19 forbearance from their loan servicer, for a period of up to 12 months. Both extensions apply to FHA single-family mortgages.

CARES Act relief provisions

One key provision of the CARES Act allows struggling homeowners to delay their mortgage payments for up to 12 months with a mortgage forbearance agreement. A forbearance is when a lender or loan servicer allows you to pause or lower your mortgage payments for a period of time, however, the missed payments must be repaid later.

The mortgage relief outlined in the CARES Act applies to federally backed mortgages, including conventional loans owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as FHA, VA and USDA loans, according to the CFPB. Here are key provisions of the CARES Act:

  • The right to request mortgage forbearance for up to 180 days and one extension for an additional 180 days.
  • A freeze of additional fees and interest charges during the forbearance period. 
  • The suspension of negative credit reporting for borrowers who were current on payments before their forbearance.
  • The FHFA has extended the foreclosure and eviction moratorium on single-family homes for loans owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac through Jan. 31, 2021.

Payment deferral option

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government-sponsored enterprises that buy and sell most mortgages in the U.S., announced on May 13 a new repayment option for borrowers in forbearance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “COVID-19 payment deferral” option allows borrowers to resume their regular mortgage payments after their forbearance period ends, and add the delayed payments to the end of their loan term. Mortgage servicers of Fannie and Freddie-owned loans will begin offering this option July 1.

How to get help

Borrowers need to work with their lender or servicer to demonstrate that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to job loss, income reduction, illness or another hardship to qualify for mortgage relief.

While you may not be required to provide documentation, it’s still a good idea to gather supporting paperwork, such as:

  • A written notification of a layoff
  • Pay stubs confirming reduced hours
  • Medical bills
FYI: Lenders are experiencing high call volumes during the coronavirus pandemic. Visit your lender’s website to learn about current mortgage relief options and how to apply for help.

Additional details on federally backed mortgage relief options

Fannie Mae

Aside from the CARES Act protections, Fannie Mae normally offers these relief options for homeowners in financial distress:

  • The ability to suspend or reduce your monthly mortgage payments for up to one year in increments of up to six months.
  • No late fees during your forbearance period.
  • Repayment options after forbearance ends, such as a gradual repayment plan or a loan modification.
Freddie Mac

As the other GSE that fuels the mortgage market in the U.S., Freddie Mac offers relief protections for the loans it owns by:

  • Providing forbearance for up to one year.
  • Not charging late fees or other penalties.
  • Offering the option to either maintain previous mortgage payments or request a loan modification after the forbearance period ends.

NOTE: Borrowers who have mortgages owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac — and have made three consecutive, on-time payments after their forbearance period ends — are eligible to refinance their mortgage or qualify for a new one, the GSEs announced May 19. 

Those who continued to make mortgage payments while in forbearance are also eligible for a new or refinanced loan. This may be especially helpful for homeowners who want to take advantage of recent record-low mortgage rates.

FHA loans

Backed by the Federal Housing Administration, FHA loans have additional relief options, outside of what’s included in the CARES Act. For example, FHA lenders won’t require a lump-sum repayment of what’s owed after your forbearance period ends.

You may be able to get a “standalone partial claim” for the unpaid principal, which is a no-interest second mortgage that wouldn’t be due until your loan is paid off. You must have been less than 30 days behind on your mortgage as of March 1 to qualify, however. Other foreclosure prevention options can be found on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) website.

VA loans

Guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA loans have several mortgage relief programs in addition to CARES Act protections, including a repayment plan for those already behind or a loan modification. Visit the VA’s website for more info.

USDA loans

Insured by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA loans offer mortgage relief that aligns with the assistance outlined in the CARES Act. Homeowners can get payment forbearance for an initial 180 days and may request one extension up to 180 days, if needed. USDA lenders must offer a written repayment plan at the end of the forbearance period, which might include extending the loan term by the length of the forbearance period. Other relief options can be found online in the USDA handbook.

How to find your current loan servicer

Mortgages are often sold after closing, so the lender who provided you with the loan then may not be the same company that services the loan currently. If you have a conventional loan, here’s how to figure out who owns it.

Fannie Mae

You can use Fannie Mae’s online loan lookup tool or call 1-800-2FANNIE from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Visit Know Your Options to learn more about Fannie Mae’s foreclosure assistance programs.

Freddie Mac

You can search for your loan using Freddie Mac’s mortgage lookup tool, or 1-800-FREDDIE from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Visit Freddie Mac’s My Home for additional mortgage relief help.

What to do if you don’t have a federally backed mortgage
If your mortgage is not a government-insured loan or isn’t owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, contact your servicer directly to see what mortgage relief programs they may have in place. Review your latest mortgage statement to find your current servicer’s name and contact information.

Lender homeowner relief programs

Lenders across the country have started responding to the coronavirus outbreak by introducing homeowner relief programs. Here’s a list:

Ally Bank is offering its mortgage borrowers the option to defer their payments by up to 120 days with no late fees or adverse effects to their credit profiles. Interest will still accrue on the loan, though. Call Ally Bank at 866-401-4742 to inquire about its homeowner relief program.

Bank of America is working with mortgage and home equity borrowers on a case-by-case basis to defer payments and have them added to the end of their loan term. The bank won’t report late payments to credit bureaus for borrowers who have otherwise made timely payments. Call Bank of America at 800-669-6607 for mortgages and 800-934-5626 for home equity products.

Better.com is offering loan forbearance, waiving late and overdraft fees and suspending foreclosures for borrowers experiencing hardship due to the coronavirus outbreak. The company is also suspending credit reporting for borrowers in a forbearance plan consistent with Fannie Mae guidelines. Please call your sub-servicer, The Money Source (866-867-0330) or Loancare (800-274-6600), for more information.

BMO Harris is offering payment relief options for mortgages, home equity, loans and credit cards. Deferred payments will continue to accrue interest. To get assistance, fill out the financial relief request form online.

Charles Schwab Bank is allowing borrowers with a mortgage or home equity line of credit through Charles Schwab Bank and Quicken Loans to suspend their payments for up to 90 days, though interest will still accrue. Call 800-279-3005 for more information.

Chase is extending mortgage payments for 90 days and waiving fees. In addition to Chase mortgage assistance for payments, foreclosures and evictions have also been suspended for 60 days. Visit Chase’s mortgage assistance help page to get the process started, or call 800-848-9380 for help.

Citi has a “range of hardship programs” available for its mortgage customers. Call 855-839-6253 for more information.

Citizens Bank has suspended foreclosures for up to 60 days and waived late and overdraft fees for Citizens One home loan customers. If you cannot pay your Citizens Bank loan, the company is offering payment assistance for up to 90 days with no credit bureau impact. Mortgage payment assistance options include repayment plans, loan modifications, forbearances and refinances.

East West Bank is offering assistance to mortgage borrowers, which may include temporary payment relief. Visit the bank’s mortgage homeowners assistance page for more information.

Fifth Third Bank is offering payment forbearance for up to 180 days for mortgage and home equity customers. Interest will still accrue during the forbearance period. Foreclosure activity is also suspended for 60 days. Call 866-601-6391 to get the process started.

HSBC is offering payment deferrals, reductions and late fee waivers for mortgage and home equity loan borrowers. The bank is also suspending negative credit reporting. Call 855-806-4657 to get assistance.

Huntington National Bank is offering up to 90 days of payment deferral for all consumer loans, including mortgages, though interest will continue to accrue. Late fees and foreclosures are suspended through April 30 and May 31, respectively. Call 800-323-9865 or send a payment deferral request via email.

M&T Bank is providing mortgage and home equity repayment assistance. To apply, fill out the online assistance application.

New York Community Bank is offering 90-day mortgage payment forbearance. To apply, fill out and submit a borrower response package.

PNC Bank is allowing mortgage and home equity customers to postpone payments for up to 90 days with no late fees. Fill out a payment deferment hardship request form online or call 800-523-8654 (mortgage) and 888-762-2265 (home equity) to get the process started.

Quicken Loans is allowing customers to stop payments temporarily through mortgage forbearance, which won’t impact your credit if you have a conventional loan. Quicken Loans said it will work with customers to figure out the best path forward after the crisis is over and a borrower is ready to make payments again. To get help with your Quicken Loans mortgage payment, fill out an assistance application online.

Regions Bank is providing mortgage payment relief for 90 days. Call 800-748-9498 or visit the bank’s mortgage payment assistance page for more information.

TD Bank is offering deferred payments and late fee waivers for mortgage and home equity customers. Call 800-742-2651 for more information on the bank’s homeowner relief program.

Truist, the newly-formed bank from the BB&T and SunTrust merger, is offering mortgage payment forbearance for a minimum of 90 days. Former BB&T customers should call 800-827-3722 and former SunTrust customers should call 800-443-1032 for assistance.

Union Bank is offering an initial three-month payment forbearance plan for its mortgage and home equity line of credit customers. Late fees and delinquency reporting to the credit bureaus are also suspended. Visit the bank’s forbearance page for more details.

Webster Bank is offering payment deferrals for mortgage and home equity customers and placing a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures, as of March 17. Call 800-325-2424 for assistance.

Wells Fargo is offering an initial three-month payment suspension for mortgage and home equity customers. For more information, visit wellsfargo.com/mortgageassist.

How to get help with your rent

If you’re renting from a landlord who has a federally backed mortgage or multifamily loan, the CARES Act has halted evictions, according to the CFPB. You can’t be evicted for missing rent payments if your income has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control’s eviction moratorium for renters has been extended through Jan. 31, 2021. Additionally, foreclosures and evictions for FHA loans are halted through Feb. 28, 2021. For loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, foreclosures and evictions are suspended through Jan. 31, 2021. However, after this period ends, your landlord can’t force you to leave the rental property until they’ve given you a 30-day notice to vacate.

If your landlord doesn’t have a mortgage that’s protected by the CARES Act or subsequent legislation, check with your state for details of available relief measures. Many states have suspended foreclosures and evictions for nonpayment of rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Be mindful that your landlord may still be able to evict you for violating other terms of your contract. Check your state government’s or legal housing aid office’s website for more guidance. For additional resources, visit HUD’s rental assistance website.

Additional mortgage relief options for homeowners

Whether you’re having trouble now or may face difficulties later, keep these additional mortgage relief programs in mind.
  • Housing counseling

    You can reach out to a HUD-approved housing counselor for extra help managing your mortgage and avoiding foreclosure. Foreclosure prevention assistance is provided for free; you should never pay for this service.

  • Modification

    You might be able to apply for a mortgage modification with your current lender. This homeowner relief program might involve extending your loan term or temporarily lowering your mortgage rate.

  • High LTV refinance

    A high loan-to-value (LTV) refinance caters to underwater homeowners who owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth. Fannie Mae’s high LTV refinance option and Freddie Mac’s Enhanced Relief Refinance allow borrowers to replace their existing mortgage with one that has more favorable terms.

Beware of mortgage relief scams

Scammers can prey on those seeking help during times of turmoil. Be vigilant about avoiding mortgage relief scams. A scam could involve one of the following scenarios:

  • Charging high upfront fees for “mortgage relief” services.
  • Asking you to sign over the title to your home.
  • Asking you to sign paperwork you don’t understand.
  • Promising to offer you a loan modification.
  • Promising payments in exchange for your credit card and other personal information.
  • Requesting that you make payments to someone other than your lender or servicer.
  • Telling you to stop making mortgage payments altogether.

Contact your servicer for help directly, or get free help through a HUD-approved housing counselor near you. If you believe you’re the target of a mortgage relief scam, call 855-411-2372 or file a complaint online through the CFPB’s website.

Mortgage relief FAQs

If it’s the first day of the month and you haven’t yet made your mortgage payment, you still have some wiggle room. Most lenders give borrowers a 15-day grace period before they assess a late fee. Once you’ve been late for 30 days, that information can be reported to the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. There’s still time for you to catch up before your lender starts the foreclosure process. In most cases, the timeline is 120 days, but that can vary based on your state’s foreclosure laws.

A mortgage forbearance is the temporary reduction or suspension of your mortgage payments over a specific time period. A mortgage modification changes the original terms of your loan, which might involve extending your repayment term or lowering your mortgage rate. Both forbearance and modification are typically used for borrowers experiencing a temporary hardship.

The payments you missed while participating in a forbearance plan must eventually be repaid. Your options might include:

• Reinstatement, or a lump sum payment once your forbearance ends.

• Repayment plan, which allows you to repay the amount owed in installments added to your monthly mortgage payment.

• Modification, which is defined above.

That depends on your servicer’s homeowner relief programs. However, if you have a federally backed mortgage, such as a conventional loan owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or an FHA, USDA or VA loan, you can request one forbearance extension for up to 180 days.

Maybe. If you’re financially stable, working with a lender that has remote closing capabilities and the terms of your mortgage refinance offer make sense for your financial goals, then a refinance could work for you. Shop around with multiple lenders first to ensure you’re getting the best deal.