If you are one of the many families that was affected by Hurricane Irma in Florida, you may have heard that there may be mortgage relief available for those hardest hit.
Some home owners in Florida may be able to defer payments on their mortgages by applying for forbearance from their lender. This may be necessary for those whose homes are severely damaged. A forbearance period may also be necessary because some people are currently not able to work due to the hurricane damages.
Borrowers who feel that they should be able to delay payments on their mortgage should contact their lender and make a request for forbearance. Some Florida mortgage lenders may allow those affected by Hurricane Irma to delay their payments by up to 12 months. In the meantime, home owners may be able to use the money intended for their mortgage payments to help to repair their homes damaged by hurricane floods and winds.
At the end of this forbearance period, the home owner does not typically have to pay any late fees.
There are no delinquencies reported to credit agencies, and missed payments do not need to all be made at once.
Forbearance can be a good option for home owners because it allows them to save money. They can often make repairs on their home faster with the money they save from the mortgage payments than if they just waited for the insurance money to come through.
Find Government Loan Assistance for Florida Homeowners Hit by Irma
Mortgage industry experts say that if the lender does approve a forbearance, it is likely that the skipped payments will be added to the end of the loan term.
Home owners in Florida who get a forbearance and receive insurance checks later, can put this money aside to make up those mortgage payments later.
Some lenders in south Florida also are offering short term financing options for hurricane damage repairs, home equity lines of credit and other financing programs to support home owners who need to make repairs.
Below is more information for help for home owners in Florida affected by Hurricane Irma. Get more info Texas home loan relief for Hurricane Harvey victims.
Freddie Mac-Backed Mortgages
If your mortgage is owned by Freddie Mac, you should call your mortgage company immediately to see what mortgage relief options are available in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
In areas of major disasters, including Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, where a federal Individual Assistance program has been authorized, borrowers with a Freddie Mac mortgage may be able to:
- Stop mortgage payments for up to 12 months
- Waive all assessments of penalties and stop late fees
- Stop the reporting of mortgage loan delinquencies to credit bureaus
Fannie Mae Backed Mortgages
Similar to Freddie Mac, people with Fannie Mae home loans may be able to temporarily stop paying their monthly mortgage payments. Fannie Mae states that this can be done in three-month intervals for up to 12 months.
In regard to Hurricane Irma, Fannie Mae states that at the end of the payment break, there will be:
- No late fees
- No delinquencies reported to the major credit bureaus
- No need to catch up with all of your missed payments at one time
Homeowners should contact their mortgage-servicer as soon as possible for assistance. In addition, homeowners can reach out to Fannie Mae directly by calling 1-800-2FANNIE. For more information, visit www.knowyouroptions.com/relief.
USDA Relief for Irwin Victims
- Emergency Watershed Protection Program
- Environmental Quality Incentives Program
- USDA disaster assistance
US Housing and Urban Development Programs
After President Trump declared parts of Florida a disaster area after Hurricane Irma, HUD announced that it would offer the following options for home owners in Florida:
- Immediate foreclosure relief: HUD is offering a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and forbearance on foreclosures for mortgages that are backed by the Federal Housing Administration or FHA. There are 280,000 or so home owners in affected parts of Florida with FHA loans.
- Mortgage insurance is available: HUD provides FHA insurance to victims of disasters who have lost their homes and are faced with rebuilding or buying another home. Borrowers from FHA mortgage lenders may be able to get 100% financing and closing costs.
- Insurance is available for mortgages and rehab: HUD’s program allows those who lost their home in the hurricane or aftermath to finance the purchase of another home, as well as the repairs needed – all in one mortgage. This program also allows the home owner who has a damaged home to finance the repairs of their existing home
The Bottom Line on Home Loan Relief for Irma Victims
The bottom line for people who have suffered damages from Hurricane Irma in Florida is that there is mortgage assistance available for home owners. It is important to contact your mortgage lender or servicer as soon as possible so that you can get approved for a forbearance period on your home loan. Remember that you need to contact your lender directly to get permission to delay payments on your mortgage. If you don’t, late fees will pile up on your mortgage account and you will have your credit negatively affected.
All of the major federal mortgage guarantee entities in the US – Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA – are doing a lot to help Florida home owners to get through this serious natural disaster. You just need to reach out to them today to get help.
References: Mortgage Help. (2017, Sept. 18). Retrieved from http://www.sun-sentinel.com/real-estate/fl-bz-hurricane-irma-mortgage-help-20170918-story.html and USDA Assistance from https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2017/09/12/usda-recovery-efforts-hurricane-irma and Fannie Mae Relief http://fanniemae.com/portal/media/corporate-news/2017/hurricane-irma-assistance-relief-6599.html