Forbearance is not automatic. To request mortgage forbearance, you’ll need to reach out to your servicer. Use this information to help you prepare for that conversation.
5 steps to ask for mortgage forbearance due to the coronavirus
If the coronavirus has made it difficult to pay your mortgage, contact your mortgage servicer immediately. You may be eligible for forbearance, which temporarily pauses or reduces your monthly mortgage payments.
If you are facing financial hardships and need forbearance, you should ask for forbearance immediately.
Talk to your mortgage servicer
Your mortgage servicer is the company you send your mortgage payments to each month. Call your servicer at the number on your statement or check their website. Or, if you’re already behind and your servicer is calling you—pick up the phone.
Ask for forbearance
Tell your servicer you can’t make your monthly payment because of COVID-19 and ask them for help avoiding foreclosure.
If your loan is backed by HUD/FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac, you only need to explain that you have a COVID-related financial hardship, directly or indirectly related to the pandemic. Even for those loans not backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or the federal government, mortgage servicers are generally required to discuss relief options with you.
Ask these questions
These questions will help ensure that you get all the information you need about your requested mortgage relief. Check your servicer's website before you call to see if they have additional information, or if you can apply for forbearance online. Have your account number handy.
- What options are available to help temporarily reduce or suspend my payments?
- Can I access forbearance, loan modification, or other mortgage relief options?
- When will you waive the late fees on my mortgage account?
- What should I do at the end of my forbearance period? When should I contact or expect to hear from my servicer before my forbearance ends?
- What are my payment options when forbearance ends?
- If your loan is not federally backed or insured, or is not backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, ask: What restrictions and requirements will apply at the end of the forbearance period?
- Will you charge interest on my unpaid mortgage payments during forbearance?
- What are my rights if you don’t grant me forbearance, and I disagree with your decision?
Follow these steps after you enter forbearance
While your loan is in forbearance, it is important to monitor your loan and be ready to act when the end of the forbearance period nears. This advice applies to both COVID forbearance and other mortgage relief that you might receive.
- Stop or change auto-payments for your mortgage. If you are having your mortgage payment deducted automatically from your bank account, make sure you make any necessary adjustments to avoid fees or charges.
- Confirm your property taxes and insurance will be paid. Your property taxes and insurance should continue to be paid by your servicer if your mortgage has an escrow account, but you may want to confirm that with your servicer. If your mortgage does not have an escrow account, you will be responsible for paying property taxes and insurance payments. You are responsible for paying any HOA and condo fees during forbearance. When you leave forbearance, your escrow account may have a shortage, so discuss potential options with your servicer.
- Pay attention to your monthly mortgage statement. Continue monitoring your monthly mortgage statements to make sure you don’t see any errors.
- Keep an eye on your credit. It’s a good idea to routinely check your credit reports in order to make sure there are no errors or inaccuracies. You can check them weekly for free until December 31, 2022 at AnnualCreditReport.com . Servicers may report that your account is in forbearance. However, if you were otherwise current on your account and have received relief as defined by the CARES Act, your servicer or creditor is required to report your account as current. If you stop making mortgage payments without a forbearance agreement, the servicer will report this information to the credit reporting companies, and it can have a lasting negative impact on your credit history. If you find an error, however, you can dispute it.
Get more information about how to protect your credit during the coronavirus pandemic.
What to do next
Before your mortgage forbearance period ends, you will have to make arrangements to repay any missed payments. But if you already have a forbearance plan and need more time, you can request an extension.
Get expert help
Talk to a housing counselor
For help talking to your mortgage servicer or understanding your options, contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency in your area. Housing counselors can develop a tailored plan of action and help you work with your mortgage company, at no cost to you.
Talk to a lawyer
If you need a lawyer, there may be resources to assist you, and you may qualify for free legal services through legal aid. If you’re a servicemember, you should consult with your local Legal Assistance Office .
Submit a complaint
If you have a complaint with your mortgage or forbearance plan, tell us about your issue—we'll forward it to the company and work to get you a response, generally within 15 days.