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FHA Extends Foreclosure Protections to Victims of Maui Wildfires

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has extended its existing disaster-related foreclosure moratorium in Maui County, Hawaii, through May 6, 2024, for borrowers with FHA-insured single-family mortgages, including seniors with Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs).

This extension by the FHA, as outlined in Mortgagee Letter 2023-19, provides additional time for borrowers in the process of recovering from the unprecedented challenges of the catastrophic Maui wildfires to consult with mortgage servicers and housing counselors and to access federal, state, and local housing resources without also having to contend with the burden of an impending foreclosure action.

“When I visited Maui in September, I saw firsthand the damage inflicted by the devastating wildfires. The people of Maui are resilient, but they will need support for years to come to rebuild and recover,” said HUD Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman. “With today’s announcement, we are assuring homeowners in Maui that HUD is here to support them as they navigate next steps with their family.”

FHA implemented an automatic 90-day foreclosure moratorium that required mortgage servicers to halt the initiation or completion of all foreclosure actions in Maui County on August 10, 2023, when the disaster occurred. The moratorium was originally set to expire on November 8, 2023.

In addition to extending the foreclosure moratorium through May 6, 2024 in Mortgagee Letter 2023-19, FHA is also extending the deadline dates for servicers to perform certain legal actions related to foreclosure for an additional 180 days following the end of the foreclosure moratorium.

“We remain committed to doing everything we can to help the residents of Maui as they begin to rebuild their homes and lives,” said Federal Housing Commissioner Julia R. Gordon. “The last thing any FHA borrower there should have to worry about right now is foreclosure.”

In late August, HUD awarded $1.3 million to the state of Hawaii to support people experiencing homelessness–those living in an emergency shelter, transitional housing, or a place not meant for human habitation–and people at risk of homelessness through HUD’s Rapid Unsheltered Survivor Housing (RUSH) program. The funding was awarded to assist communities in Maui in the wake of recent wildfires.

According to NPR, authorities in Hawaii have adjusted the number of deaths from the Maui wildfires down to at least 97 people, as officials previously said they believed at least 115 people had died in the fire. Further testing showed they had multiple DNA samples from some of the victims. The number of those who were missing fell from 41 to 31, Maui Police Chief John Pelletier said.

Estimates from CoreLogic found that more than 3,100 residential homes with an excess of $1.3 billion in total reconstruction cost value within preliminary wildfire perimeters were damaged.

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.

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