The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) issued a series of waivers of provisions in its “Single Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1” that would normally require in-person contact between mortgage servicers and borrowers, including seniors with FHA-insured Home Equity Conversion (HECM) reverse mortgages. These waivers allow important mortgage servicing activities to continue, but in a manner that allows for safe social distancing to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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. “The policy waivers issued today are another important step in addressing these priorities.”
Specifically, the waivers issued build upon previous waivers and put in place the following provisions through Dec. 31, 2021:
– 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 the $5,000 property charge payment arrearages cap on recalculated repayment plans, allowing servicers to help 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
The waivers issued augment FHA’s actions last week to execute on President Biden’s “Day One” request to provide urgent and immediate support to the nation’s homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments due to COVID-19. To execute the President’s “Day One” request, FHA extended its foreclosure and eviction moratorium for borrowers with FHA-insured single-family mortgages through March 31, 2021. FHA also extended the deadline for borrowers financially impacted by COVID-19 to request a new forbearance from their mortgage servicer through March 31, 2021.
FHA encourages borrowers with FHA-insured mortgages who can make their mortgage payments to continue to do so. Borrowers with FHA-insured mortgages seeking additional information on available options should visit FHA’s COVID-19 Resources for Homeowners web page on FHA.gov. Other borrowers are encouraged to visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Coronavirus Mortgage and Housing Assistance web pages.