The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Wednesday issued a series of "waivers of provisions" as part of its "Single-Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1," which will allow important mortgage servicing activities to continue "in a manner that allows for safe social distancing," according to a press release.
FHA explains that in-person servicer-borrower contact (that includes seniors with FHA-insured HECM reverse mortgages) generally is required in order for certain processes to continue.
"President Biden has made it clear that protecting the health, safety, and homeownership security of the nation’s most vulnerable populations, including seniors, are urgent and immediate priorities," said Acting HUD Secretary Matthew Ammon. "The policy waivers issued today are another important step in addressing these priorities."
According to HUD, the waivers issued today build upon previous waivers and put in place the following provisions through December 31, 2021:
- Allowing alternative methods for servicers to conduct borrower interviews for FHA-insured forward and HECM mortgages when performing early default interventions for borrowers in danger of foreclosure;
- Waiving the $5,000 property charge payment arrearages cap on recalculated repayment plans, allowing servicers to help more HECM borrowers who are behind on their property charge payments; and
- Eliminating the requirement for servicers to obtain a signature on an occupancy certification from a HECM borrower.
"The waivers issued today augment FHA’s actions last week to execute on President Biden’s day-one request to provide urgent and immediate support to the nation’s homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments due to COVID-19," FHA reported. "To execute the President’s request, FHA extended its foreclosure and eviction moratorium for borrowers with FHA-insured single-family mortgages through March 31, 2021. FHA also extended the deadline for borrowers financially impacted by COVID-19 to request a new forbearance from their mortgage servicer through March 31, 2021."
FHA encourages borrowers with FHA-insured mortgages who can make their mortgage payments to continue to do so. Borrowers with FHA-insured mortgages seeking additional information on available options should visit FHA’s COVID-19 Resources for Homeowners web page on FHA.gov. Other borrowers are encouraged to visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Coronavirus Mortgage and Housing Assistance web pages.