The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) today announced expanded mortgage relief to FHA-insured homeowners who live or work in areas impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria as well as California wildfires and subsequent flooding and mudslides. FHA is instructing mortgage servicers to offer additional options to eligible disaster victims in Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, California, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, allowing them to remain in their homes while reducing losses that would otherwise negatively impact FHA’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund.
FHA is introducing a new “Disaster Standalone Partial Claim” option to help struggling borrowers to resume their pre-disaster mortgage payments without payment shock. This new option covers up to 12-months of missed mortgage payments via an interest-free second loan on the mortgage, payable only when the borrower sells the home or refinances their mortgage. In addition, this new option requires no trial period or balloon payment and allows borrowers to keep their existing low interest rate and loan term as well as their existing monthly mortgage payment.
The expanded loss mitigation will also streamline income documentation and other requirements to expedite relief to homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage while recovering from last year’s disasters.
“It’s clear that FHA homeowners in these areas need more help to get back on their feet as they recover from these storms,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “Today, we offer immediate relief to these borrowers which will allow them to resume their mortgage payments without crippling payment shock and fees while protecting our insurance fund in the process.”
FHA’s new partial claim option is available to certain borrowers who live and work in Presidentially Declared Major Disaster Areas and who became delinquent on their mortgage payments because of last year’s disasters, and whose initial mortgage forbearance periods are ending. Other requirements include:
- Borrowers were current on their mortgage payments at the date of the disaster;
- Borrower’s income is equal to or more than their pre-disaster income; and
- Property is owner-occupied.
Disaster-impacted borrowers who do not meet the eligibility requirements of this partial claim option may be eligible for a loan modification under the FHA-HAMP option.