Amid COVID-19, many homeowners are finding themselves unable to pay their mortgage
- Servicer call centers are currently overwhelmed; borrowers should try applying online through the servicer’s account portal.
- When making a request by phone or by letter, borrowers with a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 emergency should state that clearly.
- Find out how long the forbearance will last. If borrowers’ financial problems have not been resolved before the end of the forbearance, request an extension before the forbearance ends (borrowers are entitled to a total forbearance period of up to 360 days under the CARES Act).
- Find out how the borrower will be required to make up the payments at the end. Making a lump sum payment will be impossible for most borrowers; be prepared to request other arrangements.
- If the borrower has an escrow account, ask how escrowed items will be paid during the forbearance. The servicer should continue to pay them if the borrower has an escrow account. But otherwise, if the borrower cannot continue those payments, the borrower should contact each payee.
- Borrowers who do not have an escrow account should continue to pay their property taxes, insurance, HOA fees, and other home-related items, if possible.
- Borrowers who believe they have been improperly denied a forbearance or have other problems with their servicer should submit a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau using its complaint portal.
National Consumer Law Center
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