Government Agencies Suspend Foreclosures and Evictions. What Does it Mean?

Mar 18 2020

Note: This post was updated on Aug. 4, 2021 to reflect recent developments.

At the start of COVID-19, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced a foreclosure and eviction moratorium for at least 60 days on all government-backed single-family mortgages.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also announced that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) issued an “immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single-family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages.”

Included in these groups were borrowers with US Department of Agriculture (USDA) single-family housing Direct and Guaranteed mortgages and those with loans from the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

Update: The foreclosure moratoriums described in this post expired on July 31, 2021.

What does this mean for you?

You still need to pay your mortgage (if you can).  

If you are worried about or cannot make your mortgage payments, the good news is that the moratorium is making it possible for you to stay in your home amidst the Coronavirus crisis. Foreclosures and evictions have been suspended until the end of April.

If you’re currently in foreclosure, your home cannot be sold at a foreclosure auction during the moratorium. Mortgage companies are also prevented from taking foreclosure action during this time.

You may wonder who the enterprise-backed 60-day moratorium affects.

An enterprise-backed single-family mortgage simply means Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac owns your mortgage.

An enterprise, or government-sponsored enterprise (GSE), is a financial service corporation created by Congress to enhance the flow of credit into the housing market. If your single-family mortgage is owned by either enterprise, you have additional time to make an action plan.

You can find out if your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac at the links below:

What is your first step?

If you’re worried about falling behind on your mortgage payment due to loss of income you can call your mortgage company to talk through your mortgage relief options.

Your mortgage company (or servicer) is responsible for collecting day-to-day loan payments and managing escrow accounts, but they also have a loss mitigation department that can serve to identify options to help catch up with your payments.

You can find the number on your mortgage bill. 

What are your options for catching up?

If you’ve been impacted by COVID-19, a forbearance plan may be an option offered by your mortgage servicer to reduce or suspend your mortgage payment for a period of time.

After the forbearance ends, you’ll need to work with your servicer to get caught up on the missed payments. Generally, this is done through a reinstatement in which you pay the past due balance in full, a repayment plan to pay your regular payment plus an agreed-upon additional amount until you are caught up, or a loan modification which adds the past due amount into your loan balance.

Work closely with your servicer after the forbearance ends to prevent foreclosure.

In a jam? Our Handy Guide to Housing Counselors explains how to find free one-on-one advice.

Find more info and updates at our resource hub for help with all things related to homebuying and owning.

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