Homeowners Facing Hardship Get Mortgage Payment Leeway

March 26, 2020

Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac unveiled a payment deferral option for homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments, regardless of whether the reason is related to COVID-19. Homeowners could be eligible to defer two months of their mortgage payments until the end of their mortgage, depending on their circumstance.

The GSEs had intended to announce a payment deferral program later this year, but the agencies decided to roll out the program now due to the coronavirus outbreak. The payment deferral program is available to borrowers who have faced a short-term hardship that has caused them to miss one or two months of mortgage payments.

If borrowers resolve that hardship within those two months, they will be eligible to defer the two months of missed payments to the end of their loan, without having to modify their loan.

“This innovative relief solution addresses a unique hardship situation—homeowners who have resolved a short-term hardship,” Freddie Mac said in a statement about the new program. “It aims to serve those homeowners with a more affordable workout that’s between a repayment plan and a modification. This is a broad offering that is aligned with Fannie Mae … to assist more struggling homeowners.”

In recent days, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, also has announced forbearance options for up to 12 months and mortgage relief to those facing a hardship due to the coronavirus national emergency. The FHFA has also suspended all foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days. The aid applies to homeowners who have a loan backed by Fannie or Freddie.