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Learn about mortgage relief options and protections

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A federal law put in place two protections for homeowners with federally or Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) backed mortgages (FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac). Learn more about these options and if they're right for your situation.

If you don’t have a federally or GSE-backed mortgage, you still may have relief options through your mortgage loan servicer or from your state. Find out who owns or services your mortgage.

Relief for all federally or GSE-backed mortgages

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and guidance from federal agencies and the GSEs, there are two protections for homeowners with federally or GSE-backed (Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac) or funded mortgages:

First, for federally backed loans, your lender or loan servicer may not foreclose on you until after February 28, 2021. For loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, they cannot foreclose until after January 31, 2021.

Second, if you experience financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, you have a right to request and obtain a forbearance for up to 180 days.

You also have the right to request and obtain an extension for up to another 180 days (for a total of up to 360 days). You must contact your loan servicer to request this forbearance. There will be no additional fees, penalties or additional interest (beyond scheduled amounts) added to your account. You do not need to submit additional documentation to qualify other than your claim to have a pandemic-related financial hardship. Some federally backed mortgages have a February 28, 2021 deadline for requesting an initial forbearance. If you are facing financial hardships, you should ask for forbearance immediately, so you don’t lose that right.

Mortgage forbearance

Forbearance is when your mortgage servicer or lender allows you to pause (suspend) or reduce your mortgage payments for a limited period of time while you regain your financial footing.

The CARES Act provides many homeowners with the right to have all mortgage payments completely paused for a period of time.

Seven things you should know about mortgage forbearance during the COVID-19 national emergency

Forbearance doesn’t mean your payments are forgiven or erased. You are still required to repay any missed or reduced payments in the future, which in most cases may be repaid over time. At the end of the forbearance, your servicer will contact you about how the missed payments will be repaid. There may be different programs available.

Make sure you understand how the forbearance will be repaid. There can be different forbearance programs or options, depending on the type of your loan.

For example, if you have a Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, or USDA loan, you won’t have to pay back the amount that was suspended all at once—unless you are able to do so.

If your income is restored before the end of your forbearance, reach out to your servicer and resume making payments as soon as you can so your future obligation is limited.

If you want to learn more

If forbearance is available to you, read our guide to help you make the best decision based on your situation.

Foreclosure moratoriums

Foreclosure is when the lender takes back the property after the homeowner fails to make required payments on a mortgage.

Foreclosure processes differ by state. Under federal law, a servicer generally cannot start the state foreclosure process until your loan is more than 120 days past due. There can be exceptions depending on your forbearance or loss mitigation program.

Foreclosure moratoriums suspend or stop foreclosure.

For federally backed loans, your lender or loan servicer may not foreclose on you until after February 28, 2021. For loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, they cannot foreclose on until after January 31, 2021.

Specifically , the CARES Act and the guidance from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, and USDA, prohibit lenders and servicers from beginning a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure against you, or from finalizing a foreclosure judgment or sale. This protection began on March 18, 2020.

Some states and local governments have temporarily stopped foreclosures. Check your state’s government website for details .

If you want to learn more

Your servicer can work with you to avoid foreclosure.

The Homeowner’s Guide to Success explains the federal law and what to do if you can’t pay your mortgage.

What to do next

You must determine who owns or backs your mortgage to see if one of these mortgage relief options may be available.

Find out which mortgage relief options and protections you may qualify for