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The FHA and HUD have announced new waivers for rules found in HUD 4000.1 that would, when there is not a global pandemic to deal with, require in-person transactions or other contact. There has also been an extension to the deadline  to request home loan forbearance.

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FHA Announces Additional Help for Borrowers Affected by COVID-19

February 11, 2021

FHA Announces Additional Help for Borrowers Affected by COVID-19
The FHA and HUD have announced new waivers for rules found in HUD 4000.1 that would, when there is not a global pandemic to deal with, require in-person transactions or other contact. The waivers allow mortgage services to continue, but “in a manner that allows for safe social distancing to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic” according to the FHA press release.

Waivers for In-Person Requirements and More

These waivers, announced on February 3, 2021, include the above-mentioned social distancing plus other measures for those who need loan help with Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (FHA HECM) loans also known as FHA Reverse Mortgages.

“President Biden has made it clear that protecting the health, safety, and homeownership security of the nation’s most vulnerable populations, including seniors, are urgent and immediate priorities,” said Acting HUD Secretary Matthew Ammon, who was quoted in the press release. 

Ammon also says, “The policy waivers issued today are another important step in addressing these priorities.”

Policy Waiver Details

The policy waivers are in effect until the end of 2021 and include the following:
 
  • Allowing alternative methods for servicers to conduct borrower interviews for FHA-insured forward and HECM mortgages “when performing early default interventions for borrowers in danger of foreclosure."
  • Waiving a $5,000 property charge “payment arrearages cap on recalculated repayment plans”, which lets loan servicers assist more HECM borrowers who are behind on their property charge payments.
  • Eliminating the requirement for servicers to obtain a signature on an occupancy certification from a HECM borrower.
All of this is part of a move to provide more decisive action for home owners who struggle to make mortgage payments because of the coronavirus pandemic. This is not the first time the FHA and HUD have acted to help borrowers; the FHA extended a moratorium on foreclosure and eviction action for borrowers with FHA-insured single family mortgages through March 31, 2021.

Extended Deadlines

There has also been an extension to the deadline for borrowers affected by COVID-19 to request home loan forbearance from their mortgage servicer--that deadline has been extended through March 31, 2021.

Keep Making Payments if You Can

Borrowers who have the ability to continue paying on their mortgage or refinance loan are encouraged to keep doing so, but if you need help and want a list of options, contact your loan servicer as soon as possible to ask what options might be best for your circumstances--you could be offered loan forbearance, a loan restructuring or refinance, or other options but the key is to get in touch--none of the FHA loan relief offered to you as a borrower is automatic and you must include the lender.

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