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Coronavirus/COVID-19: Mortgage Relief and Foreclosure Prevention - Financial Regulation

(This page is updated regularly. Last update June 23, 2020.)

If you are unable to pay your mortgage because of COVID-19 related circumstances or are currently facing foreclosure, notify your lender or servicer (the company where you send your monthly payments) as soon as possible to discuss your options.

FOR HOMEOWNERS WITH REDUCED INCOME

Homeowners with reduced income may qualify for mortgage relief. The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides assistance to some mortgage borrowers experiencing financial hardships directly or indirectly related to COVID-19.

The CARES Act includes authority for financial institutions to provide you with temporary mortgage suspension (“forbearance”) on federally-backed mortgage loans, should your mortgage qualify and should you need such assistance. Be aware that with a forbearance plan, you will still be required to make up the suspended payments either at the conclusion of the forbearance or a later date. If you can afford to make partial payments, discuss this option with your mortgage company first (you will need to enter into an agreement for a new repayment plan).

The CARES Act also includes credit reporting protections for borrowers. If you are current at the time you enter into forbearance or other repayment plan, the mortgage company should continue reporting your loan status as “current” to the credit bureaus.

You may be eligible for mortgage assistance through the CARES Act if:

  1. You can no longer afford the mortgage payment on your home due to a reduction in household income from COVID-19 related circumstances. This includes owners of single-family residential rental properties if they are unable to collect rent from tenants because of COVID-19, and as a result can no longer afford the mortgage payment on their rental property.

    AND

  2. Your mortgage loan is owned or otherwise backed by one of these federal agencies or entities:

    According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, approximately half of U.S. mortgages are owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Use the Fannie Mae lookup tool and the Freddie Mac lookup tool to check if either of these entities owns your loan.

If your mortgage is NOT federally-backed, you still have options. Many of Maryland’s banks, credit unions, mortgage lenders and servicers are providing additional flexibility for eligible borrowers, including payment deferrals, waiving late fees, and refraining from reporting certain negative information to credit bureaus. See the Maryland Department of Labor’s press release on financial relief initiatives dated April 3, 2020.

CONTACT YOUR MORTGAGE LENDER OR SERVICER

To find out if you qualify for a COVID-19 mortgage relief program, contact your lender or servicer (the company where you send your monthly payments). Lenders and servicers cannot automatically apply one of these programs to your mortgage – they must hear from you!

See your most recent monthly statement for your mortgage lender or servicer’s contact information. If you do not have your statement, use the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System to search for the company by name.

For easy-to-access lists of banks and credit unions in Maryland, including links to websites and contact information, see:

Be aware that many mortgage lenders and servicers are operating on a limited capacity, following COVID-19 emergency procedures in order to comply with states’ directives enforcing social distancing. Please be patient and consider calling during non-peak hours. Have your relevant documentation ready before you call, including your most recent loan statement and the amount of your reduced income or unemployment benefits.

FOR HOMEOWNERS FACING FORECLOSURE

Emergency orders are in place at the state level to protect homeowners facing foreclosure. Unless otherwise noted, these orders remain in effect until the COVID-19 public health emergency has ended:

  • No initiation of residential foreclosures, pursuant to Governor Hogan’s executive order effective April 3, 2020
  • Residential foreclosures and evictions in-process are stayed (stopped from moving forward in the courts) until July 25, 2020, pursuant to an administrative order issued by the Chief Judge for the Maryland Court of Appeals.

Be aware that these orders do not release you from your debt obligations or otherwise dismiss a foreclosure case that was already in process. However, the orders may provide an opportunity to take advantage of special mortgage relief programs to avoid foreclosure. Review the previous sections and contact your lender or servicer to discuss your options.

For a complete list of COVID-19 executive orders issued by Governor Hogan, visit COVID-19 Pandemic: Orders and Guidance.

MORE RESOURCES

If you have an inquiry or complaint about a mortgage lender or servicer under the supervision of the Office, please contact us by email at DLFRComplaints-LABOR@maryland.gov or by phone at 410-230-6077.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website has an informative section on mortgage and housing assistance during the coronavirus national emergency.

For more information about the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage relief programs, see the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s COVID-19 Information and Resources page.

Visit our Maryland Homeowners Facing Foreclosure page for an explanation of the foreclosure process and tips for avoiding loan modification fraud and other foreclosure scams.

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s website has foreclosure prevention information, including how to access FREE help from state-approved nonprofit housing counseling agencies. Call the Maryland HOPE hotline at 1-877-462-7555 for a referral.

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