RHODE ISLAND HOMEOWNERS
We understand that these are stressful times for homeowners who may be experiencing loss of income and other financial impacts related to the COVID-19 health crisis. RIHousing is working hard to ensure that Rhode Island homeowners have the resources and information they need. Visit our general COVID-19 information here.
CARES Act Mortgage Forbearance:
What You Need to Know
- Mortgage and Housing Assistance during COVID-19
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Guide to coronavirus mortgage relief options
Consumer Finance Protection Bureau
- HomesRI Homeowner FAQs
- HomesRI Hoja Informativa para los Dueños de Casa
- HomesRI Utility Fact Sheet (ENG/SP)
- Assistance in Making Your Mortgage Payments
BEWARE OF SCAMS
For homeowners who have not experienced a loss of income and are able to make their mortgage payments, it is important that you continue to do so. However, many homeowners may be facing hardships that make that impossible. The first step for homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments should be to reach out to their mortgage servicer to discuss available options.
Deadline for FHA Mortgage Forbearance Requests
If you have an FHA mortgage and you are experiencing a financial hardship that negatively impacts your ability to make on-time mortgage payments due to the COVID-19 National Emergency and would like to request a mortgage forbearance, you must do so no later than December 31, 2020 at 3:00 PM. If you do not make your request by this deadline, you may still be eligible for other FHA loss mitigation options. These options will require you to provide written documentation of your hardship.
If you are a RIHousing mortgage customer and you are interested in applying for a mortgage forbearance due to a COVID-19 related hardship, please submit your request to firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com. In your request you must affirm that you are suffering a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 National Emergency. Your request must be received by December 31, 2020 at 3:00 PM. If you are unsure if your mortgage is FHA insured, please contact RIHousing at 401-457-1180 or 1-800-854-1180.
Things to ask your mortgage servicer:
Ask your mortgage servicer how you will be required to pay back the amount owed after the forbearance period ends. You may have the option to:
- Pay back the amount owed in one lump sum
- Extend the term of your mortgage loan so that deferred payments are added at the end of your mortgage
- Make higher monthly payments for a period of time to pay back the deferred amount
If your mortgage servicer has not yet developed mortgage assistance programs specific to COVID-19, remain in contact with your loan servicer as they may develop them in the coming days/weeks.
A new federal law, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, puts in place two protections for homeowners with federally backed mortgages:
- A foreclosure moratorium until December 31, 2020
- A right to forbearance for homeowners who are experiencing a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 emergency.
If you don’t have a federally backed mortgage, you still may have relief options through your mortgage servicer or from your state.
Hardest Hit Fund Rhode Island (HHFRI)
HHFRI is now accepting applications for the COVID-19 Mortgage Payment Assistance Unemployment Program. The program helps Rhode Island homeowners who experienced unemployment or underemployment due to the COVID-19 health crisis and are struggling to make their mortgage payments.
When to contact the RIHousing HelpCenter:
RIHousing’s HelpCenter is a HUD-approved counseling agency that provides free foreclosure prevention counseling services to all Rhode Island homeowners.
If you have already contacted your mortgage servicer but have been denied a forbearance for your mortgage, contact the HelpCenter.
To get started, complete and submit the Financial Information Package.
If you need assistance with completing the Financial Information Package, please contact the HelpCenter at 401-457-1130.
RIHousing provides mediation services pursuant to RI General Laws §34-27-3.2 and 230-RICR-40-10-4. The Mortgage Foreclosure and Sale Act gives homeowners who are delinquent on their mortgage the right to a mediation conference with their mortgage lenders to facilitate a resolution to avoid foreclosure. This service is free of charge to homeowners.
If you have received a mediation notice from your lender and wish to take advantage of the mediation process, please reach out. While we are no longer holding in-person meetings, staff are available via email and/or telephone as needed. Mediation conferences and foreclosure counseling are now held via phone.
Frequently Asked Questions – Forbearance
What is a forbearance?
A forbearance is a temporary pause or reduction of mortgage payments for a specified period of time. This short-term payment relief provides customers with assistance right away.
Do customers need to repay the mortgage payments from the forbearance period?
Yes. Forbearance doesn’t erase what a customer owes; customers will need to repay any missed or reduced payments in the future.
Will a customer’s credit be affected if they receive a forbearance due to COVID-19?
A forbearance related to COVID-19 will not have a negative impact on a customer’s credit.
If a customer receives a forbearance due to COVID-19, here’s what they should know:
- If current on mortgage payments as of January 31, 2020, credit will not be affected by the forbearance – your lender should report the loan as current.
- If a customer was not current on mortgage payments as of January 31, 2020, the customer will still have credit protection from the forbearance. Your lender should not report payments that are paused during forbearance as late. However, payments that were reported as late prior to January 31 will still show up as “late” on the customer’s credit report.
Does everyone that applies receive a forbearance?
The recently passed CARES Act protects borrowers with federally backed mortgages who became delinquent after 2/1/2020 due to a COVID-relates hardship resulting in a loss of income. Only mortgage holders who meet these criteria are eligible for a mortgage forbearance.
Although only homeowners with federally-backed mortgages are covered under the CARES Act, some lenders are making the choice to provide relief to homeowners that are not covered.
Homeowners should contact their mortgage servicer to find out if other help is available.
What should customers who are still working but with reduced work hours do if unable to make their full mortgage payment?
Customers have the option of receiving a mortgage forbearance while continuing to pay whatever amount they can during the forbearance period. This will make the amount owed at the end of forbearance more manageable.
Your mortgage servicer can discuss this option more fully.
Frequently Asked Questions – Post-Forbearance
What happens after the forbearance period ends?
Unless a customer receives further relief, once the forbearance period ends, they will need to resume their regular mortgage payment schedule and repay any missed or reduced payments from the forbearance period.
At the end of the forbearance period, what options are there for customers to pay the past due amount?
There are several options to pay the past due amount:
- For those that can afford to, the simplest thing to do is make a lump sum payment and pay off the amount owed from the forbearance.
- Apply for a repayment plan. If approved, the customer will pay a portion of the past due amount each month in addition to the regular mortgage payment.
- Apply for a loan modification. By modifying the loan, the balance from the forbearance period is added back into the mortgage.
Mortgage customers should discuss these options with their servicer to better understand available options.
What happens at the end of the forbearance period if a customer still cannot make mortgage payments?
Under the CARES Act, mortgage customers may request to extend their forbearance period for an additional 180 days.