NAR.REALTOR | March 20, 2020
The following resources provide property owners with assistance during the COVID-19 crisis.
American Land Title Association (ALTA) has provided the following resources:
- County Record Office Closures(link is external): Real-time database of offices that are closing or reducing operations as a result of the coronavirus. Click on the link under County Office Closures.
- Title, Settlement Companies Develop Safe Closing Protocols(link is external)
- Visitor Health Screening Questionnaires: The NNA has developed health screening forms for the signing agent and borrower in order to protect all parties during a closing.
- Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plan(link is external): Having a business continuity plan is essential to keeping an operation going following any type of disaster or crisis.
- Common Issues Your Business May Encounter(link is external)
- Keep Your Workplace Safe(link is external)
- Keep Commercial Establishments Safe(link is external)
Bank Regulators have also instructed banks and servicers to be proactive in extending help to homeowners:
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)(link is external)
- Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)(link is external)
- Board of Governor of the Federal Reserve System (Fed)(link is external)
Banks have posted their own policies and ways for consumers to contact them for assistance:
- Bank of America(link is external)
- Capital One(link is external)
- Chase(link is external)
- Truist(link is external)
- U.S. Bank(link is external)
- Wells Fargo(link is external)
Servicers (those who collect the payments for investors/banks and interact with consumers) are providing information for how homebuyers can reach out for assistance:
Mortgage Insurers are also providing information on how servicers can help consumers:
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
Protect Your Credit: The CFPB is urging consumers to protect their credit(link is external) during this pandemic.
Protect Yourself Financially: The CFPB has a number of resources(link is external) focused on financial protection, both short and long term, such as paying bills, income loss, and scam targeting. Resources include contacts for housing and credit counselors, debt collectors, and state unemployment services.
- CFPB Director Kraninger Statement on Joint HUD-FHFA Announcement on Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium(link is external)
Department of Labor (DOL)
DOL has provided resources for employers and workers(link is external) in responding to COVID-19 and including the impact on wages and hours worked and protected leave (these resources are primarily for businesses and employers).
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Americans can continue to use and drink water from their tap as usual. EPA has provided important information about COVID-19(link is external) as it relates to drinking water and wastewater to provide clarity to the public. The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking-water supplies. Based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low.
Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
Immediate Foreclosure and Evictions Relief for Homeowners for the Next 60 Days
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has authorized the FHA to implement an immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium(link is external) for single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages for the next 60 days. Read the full press release(link is external).
FHA Q&A Form
FHA continues to run single family business operations. FHA has created a Q&A form available on their website to keep interested parties updated on their procedures during the COVID-19 crisis. Please refer to https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/housing/sfh(link is external) for the most current information.
Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)
FHFA has instructed Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and their servicers to be proactive in providing assistance to homeowners including forbearance. In addition, FHFA imposed a moratorium on eviction and foreclosures on mortgages backed by the GSEs:
- Statement from FHFA Director Mark Calabria on Coronavirus(link is external)
- Press Release: FHFA Suspends Foreclosures and Evictions for Enterprise-Backed Mortgages(link is external)
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have issued similar guidance:
- Homeowners who are adversely impacted by this national emergency may request mortgage assistance by contacting their mortgage servicer
- Foreclosure sales and evictions of borrowers are suspended for 60 days
- Homeowners impacted by this national emergency are eligible for a forbearance plan to reduce or suspend their mortgage payments for up to 12 months
- Credit bureau reporting of past due payments of borrowers in a forbearance plan as a result of hardships attributable to this national emergency is suspended
- Homeowners in a forbearance plan will not incur late fees
- After forbearance, a servicer must work with the borrower on a permanent plan to help maintain or reduce monthly payment amounts as necessary, including a loan modification
Fannie and Freddie have also created pages with additional information:
- Fannie Mae: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Help(link is external)
- Freddie Mac: Foreclosure & Alternatives – Who to Contact for Help(link is external)
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
The IRS has also created a Coronavirus Tax Relief section(link is external) on their website with updated information for taxpayers and businesses (these resources are for businesses and not specifically for consumers).
- Tax Time Guide to Guard Personal, Financial, and Tax Information Year-Round(link is external) (these resources are for businesses and not specifically for consumers).
- Income Tax FILING and PAYMENT Deadlines Extended: In light of COVID-19 crisis, the IRS on March 18 extended the income tax payment deadline(link is external) for individual returns (as well as all other entities) until July 15, 2020. Two days later, the IRS also extended the tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020. Additional forms do not need to be filed to qualify for these extensions.
Rural Development — U.S. Department of Agriculture (RD)
- The USDA has informed(link is external) lenders of a foreclosure and eviction moratorium for all USDA Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loans Program (SFHGLP) loans for a period of 60 days, in connection with the Presidentially declared COVID-19 National Emergency.
- RD will continue to provide loans and grants to rural communities across all of their programs.
- ReConnect applications will continue to be accepted with a March 31st deadline, and RD will then begin the review and award process.
- RD has granted authority to lenders that participate in their Single-Family Housing Guaranteed program so that these lenders can work with borrowers to ensure that homeowners will stay in their houses if they are having difficulty making payments.
- RD will issue guidance to their Single-Family Housing Direct borrowers to ensure they can also seek payment assistance if needed.
Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA has provided guidance and resources for businesses and employers(link is external) to respond to COVID-19, including information regarding the economic injury disaster loans, local assistance, and SBA products & resources (these resources are for businesses and not for consumers specifically).
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
The EIDL program supports small businesses facing temporary loss of revenue as well as working capital. They can be used to pay debts, including payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that cannot be paid due to a disaster. View the program summary and SBA Response to COVID-19(link is external) (PDF: 117 KB).
- The Department of Education announced(link is external) that it will allow forbearance on federally-backed student loans for sixty days beginning on March 13, 2020. Likewise, the Administration has also waived all interest(link is external) on student loans for this period. You must contact your loan servicer to being a forbearance.
- Servicers are sharing information(link is external) how borrowers can seek remedies.
VA Home Loan Program
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is providing information to keep Veterans and stakeholders safe(link is external) while continuing the mission of the VA Home Loan Program.
Click Here to view original article.