HOUSTON – As the coronavirus pandemic has caused a great economical crisis, many workers have been laid-off or are not receiving pay during business closures.
Since mid-March, the Texas Workforce Commission has seen an 862% increase in applications for unemployment benefits.
Right now, thousands of recently unemployed Texans are worried about how long they’ll be able to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads during this uncertain time.
If that’s you or somebody you know, here’s what you need to know:
Government-backed mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have said that they will suspend all foreclosure sales and evictions of borrowers in single-family homes owned by their companies. They have also expanded their forbearance program, offering more borrowers relief for up to one year and suspending late charges and penalties. Together they guarantee about half of the U.S. home market.
Also, the federal government suspended foreclosures and evictions for mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration.
If you’re worried about missing a mortgage payment, contact your lender immediately. Numerous banks have said they are willing to work with distressed borrowers, including potentially suspending or reducing mortgage payments for a stretch.
According to Fannie Mae:
- Homeowners impacted by the pandemic are eligible for a mortgage forbearance plan to reduce or suspend their mortgage payments for up to 12 months
- Late fees will not incur for homeowners in a mortgage forbearance plan
- Credit bureau reporting of past-due payments are suspended for borrowers in a mortgage forbearance plan as a result of hardships experienced due to the pandemic
- After forbearance, a servicer must work with the homeowner on a permanent arrangement to help maintain or reduce monthly payment amounts as needed, including a loan modification
According to the Texas Apartment Association (TAA), the state supreme court has halted most evictions, including for non-payment of rent, until April 19.
TAA advises renters to communicate with their property manager if they find themselves unable to pay rent.
According to the association, they have encouraged rental property owners to waive late fees and set up a payment plan for residents impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
Refer to resources for renters from the TAA for more information.
Fannie and Freddie are also offering owners of multifamily properties forbearance relief on their mortgages, on condition they suspend all evictions of renters unable to pay because of the virus.