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

(This page is updated regularly. Last update March 29, 2021.)

FOR HOMEOWNERS WITH REDUCED INCOME

If you are unable to pay your mortgage because of COVID-19 related circumstances or are currently facing foreclosure, notify your mortgage lender or servicer (the company where you send your monthly payments) as soon as possible to discuss your options.
                                                                                       
Homeowners experiencing difficulty paying their mortgage due to COVID-19 related circumstances may request a temporary suspension of loan payments, called “forbearance”.

Be aware that with a forbearance plan, you will still be required to make up the suspended payments at a later date. If you can afford to make partial payments, you must discuss this option with your mortgage servicer first because you may need to enter into an agreement for a new repayment plan.

Additionally, if you enter into a forbearance plan due to COVID-19, your account should accrue interest as if you had made all contractual payments on time and within the terms of the loan and should not accrue any additional fees, penalties, or interest beyond the amounts already scheduled or calculated.

If your mortgage loan is backed by one of the federal agencies or government-sponsored enterprises listed below, your lender or servicer should provide payment forbearance for an initial period of up to 180 days, with potentially one or more extensions, if you request such assistance. Mortgage forbearance for federally-backed loans is provided pursuant to the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and additional rules enacted by the agencies.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government-sponsored enterprises that hold nearly half of U.S. mortgages. Use the Fannie Mae lookup tool and the Freddie Mac lookup tool to check if either of these entities owns your loan.
NOTE: FHA, VA, and USDA have a deadline of June 30, 2021 to request an initial forbearance.

The CARES Act also includes credit reporting protections for borrowers. If you are current at the time you enter into a forbearance plan with a federally-backed mortgage, the mortgage servicer should continue reporting your loan status as “current” to the credit bureaus.

If you do not have a federally-backed loan, you may still request forbearance from your lender or loan servicer. Some companies are granting forbearances, even if the mortgage is not held by FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. However, there is no requirement that lenders grant your forbearance request if your loan is not federally-backed.

FOR HOMEOWNERS FACING FORECLOSURE

The initiation of new foreclosures is prohibited until May 4, 2021, pursuant to regulatory guidance issued by the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation under the authority of Governor Hogan’s executive order 20-12-17-02 (which amended and restated previous orders issued on April 3, 2020 and October 16, 2020). The order directs the Commissioner to temporarily suspend the “Notice of Intent to Foreclose” electronic system. This means that homeowners should not receive a document called a “Notice of Intent to Foreclose” from their mortgage lender or servicer between April 2020 and May 4, 2021. If you received a “Notice of Intent to Foreclose” during this time period, please notify us by email at DLFRComplaints-LABOR@maryland.gov or by phone at (410) 230-6077.

There is also a moratorium on existing foreclosures until June 30, 2021 for mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the FHA, VA, and USDA.

If your loan is not federally-backed and a foreclosure was initiated by a Notice of Intent to Foreclose prior to April 3, 2020, then the foreclosure case may proceed.

Be aware that foreclosure moratoriums do not release you from your debt obligations or otherwise dismiss a foreclosure case that was already in process. However, moratoriums may provide an opportunity to take advantage of mortgage relief programs to avoid foreclosure. Contact your lender or servicer to discuss your options.

CONTACT YOUR MORTGAGE LENDER OR SERVICER

To find out if you qualify for a COVID-19 mortgage relief program, contact your mortgage 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.

If you would like help understanding your options when faced with foreclosure or you need assistance communicating with your mortgage lender or servicer, call the Maryland HOPE hotline at 1-877-462-7555 for a referral to a nonprofit housing advocate.

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.

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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