HUD: FHA Strengthens Mortgage Relief Options to Help Homeowners Impacted by Major Disasters

When disasters strike, homeowners can fall behind in their mortgage payments as they struggle to recover from a major disaster. To help homeowners impacted by major disasters, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) today announced it is expanding its foreclosure prevention options to allow borrowers in Presidentially Declared Major Disaster Areas (PDMDAs) with delinquent FHA-insured mortgages to bring their mortgages current without increasing their interest rates or principal and interest payments.

Read FHA’s Mortgagee Letter to mortgage servicers.

“Today we take another important step to help families with FHA-insured mortgages recover from the impact of a major disaster and to avoid foreclosure,” said Federal Housing Commissioner Brian Montgomery. “The changes we’re making to our policy will help individuals and families with an FHA-insured mortgage to cure their delinquencies while protecting our insurance fund in the process.”

Last year, FHA introduced the Disaster Standalone Partial Claim option to help struggling homeowners impacted by 2017 natural disasters to resume their pre-disaster mortgage payments without payment increases. Effectively immediately, FHA’s “Disaster Standalone Partial Claim” will now be a standard mortgage relief option available for all victims of natural disasters in all PDMDAs. FHA’s Disaster Standalone Partial Claim option provides these homeowners with an opportunity to be evaluated for a permanent loss mitigation solution. This option is a solution for many homeowners seeking to cure arrearages and resume making payments without modifying their loan and re-amortizing the loan term.

The Disaster Standalone Partial Claim option covers missed mortgage payments up to 30 percent of Unpaid Principal Balance (UPB) through an interest-free subordinate lien on the mortgage, payable only when the borrower sells the home or refinances their mortgage. In addition, this option requires no trial period or balloon payment. FHA’s Disaster Standalone Partial Claim also streamlines income documentation and other requirements to expedite relief to homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage while recovering from disasters.

Homeowners with an FHA-insured mortgage may qualify for the updated Disaster Standalone Partial Claim if they meet the following conditions:

  • They live or work within the geographic boundaries of a Presidentially declared disaster area;
  • Their ability to make mortgage payments is directly or substantially affected by the disaster;
  • Their mortgage was current or less than 30 days past due prior to the date of the Presidentially declared major disaster; and
  • They have not already been approved for a forbearance or other loss mitigation option(s).

FHA also has several other options to help disaster victims recover, including:

  • Forbearance and loan modification options – HUD offers different forbearance and loan modification options for homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages affected by disasters. Homeowners having trouble making regular payments should contact their loan servicer as soon as possible for more information;
  • FHA-insured Mortgage for Disaster Victims – HUD’s Section 203(h) program provides an FHA insured mortgage loan to disaster victims who have lost their homes and are facing the daunting task of rebuilding or buying another home. Disaster victims must work with a participating FHA-approved lender in order to be considered for 100 percent financing, including closing costs; and
  • FHA-insured Mortgage for home rehabilitation – HUD’s Section 203(k) loan program enables those who have lost their homes to refinance a home or finance the purchase of a home along with its repair costs by using a single mortgage.

Lastly, FHA shares information with FEMA and affected states on housing providers that may have available units in disaster-impacted counties. Some available units may be provided by HUD funded or subsidized Public Housing Agencies or Multi-Family owners. The Department will also connect FEMA and affected states to subject matter experts to provide information on HUD programs.

Read about these and other HUD programs designed to assist disaster victims.

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