While the Gulf Coast escaped the threat of two
simultaneous hurricane hits, the remaining storm, Hurricane Laura, looks like
an historically dangerous one. It, and the wildfires ravaging California, has
prompted Freddie Mac to restate its disaster relief policies.
Homeowners can request forbearance of their mortgage
payments if they are affected by a presidentially- declared Major Disaster and
live in an area where individual assistance programs are available. Those areas
will be posted on the FEMA website.
Forbearance is available for up to 12 months. Homeowners
affected by the disasters who are already in a COVID-19 related forbearance
plan and any who are newly in need of assistance should contact their servicers
as soon as possible.
In addition, foreclosures are suspended for up to 12
months and servicers are instructed to waive penalties or late fees where
homeowners are impacted by an eligible disaster.
“The immediate priority is for
residents to get safely out of harm’s way,” said Bill Maguire, Freddie Mac’s
Vice President of Single-Family Servicing Management. “Once out of harm’s way,
we strongly encourage homeowners whose homes or places of employment are
impacted to call their mortgage servicer-the company they send their monthly
mortgage payments to- so they can learn about available relief options. Working
with our servicers, we stand ready to ensure mortgage relief is made available
to homeowners affected by these natural disasters.“
We expect that Fannie Mae will announce
a similar disaster assistance policy soon.