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As recent events have unfolded, new programs are being announced to help small business owners and ordinary consumers cope with financial hardship. The House just passed another enormous $484 billion coronavirus relief bill. The bill was immediately signed into law Friday morning. This was already in addition to the $2.2 trillion emergency stimulus package called the CARES Act which was hurriedly signed into law a few weeks ago. If you are a homeowner who is struggling to make mortgage payments, here is a summary of what the new laws entail and how they can help you.

CARES Act

This gigantic emergency package was passed in order to provide immediate relief to individuals, businesses, and the healthcare industry. In addition to the stimulus checks sent out to all Americans under a certain income level, this also includes an expansion of unemployment benefits and aid to businesses that have been negatively affected by the pandemic. For those with mortgages, the new law allows homeowners facing financial hardship the option to contact their lenders and receive deferred or reduced payment options for up to 180 days. If their loans are backed by the federal government, they will also be able to apply for an extension of an additional 180 days once the initial period has ended.

Mortgage Forbearance

This allows you to pause or possibly reduce your mortgage payments due to financial hardship. Keep in mind that this by no means erases what you owe. You will have to pay back what you delayed after a period of time, sometimes in a lump sum. The general rule of thumb here is that if you can pay your mortgage, pay your mortgage. However, this new guidance can have a tremendous benefit to those who need it in the short-term. If you choose to explore a forbearance of your mortgage, speak to your servicer to go over the options. Some servicers will allow you to add what you delayed to the back end of your mortgage term. And most of them have developed options that allow people to keep their homes without suffering any late fees or negative credit reporting.

Moratorium on foreclosures and evictions

Starting March 18, 2020, servicers of federally backed loans are forbidden from beginning the foreclosure process for at least 60 days. This law also suspends all evictions on renters living in properties with federally backed mortgages for 120 days, beginning on March 27, 2020. Landlords are prohibited from charging any fees or penalties for nonpayment of rent.

As this is a constantly evolving issue, we will be sure to publish future blog posts that will give you the information you need in order to make educated financial decisions for your business and your loved ones.

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