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By Charlestien Harris

As a HUD Certified housing Counselor, I try to stay informed on current issues that could directly affect numerous consumers facing mounting debt and other issues related to housing and finances.  Last month, the Federal Housing Finance Agency extended the foreclosure moratorium for home loans guaranteed against default by big mortgage finance firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac through the end of January.  

On December 21, 2020, HUD’s Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced it is extending the foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single family FHA-insured mortgages for an additional two months, through February 28, 2021. HUD-FHA is also extending through February, the deadline for single family borrowers with FHA-insured mortgages to request an initial COVID-19 forbearance from their mortgage servicer to defer or reduce their mortgage payments for up to six months, which can be extended for an additional six months. 

In addition, HUD-FHA also extended multiple temporary provisions for lenders and servicers to allow them to continue doing HUD-FHA business despite social distancing considerations.  HUD releases updated information through Mortgagee Letters. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issues FHA Mortgagee Letters to inform lenders about Federal Housing Administration (FHA) operations, policies, procedures, and changes.  You can view HUD’s FHA Mortgagee Letters by accessing HUD’s website at www.hud.gov/program_offices/administration/hudclips/letters/mortgagee.   

Once on the website, the letters are numerically coded by document with the most recent letter issued and have the main issue addressed in the letter titled in a chart format.  The ML 2020-43 is the letter that is referenced for this article and blog.  The purpose of the Mortgagee Letter (ML) is to inform mortgagees of an extension to the foreclosure and eviction moratorium originally issued in previous letters ML 2020-04, extended in MLs 2020-13 and 2020-19, and further extended in ML 2020-27 for borrowers with FHA-insured Single-Family mortgages covered under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

The extension of the moratorium announced in this ML is effective immediately upon the expiration of the moratorium announced in ML 2020-27 for all FHA-insured mortgages except for FHA-insured mortgages secured by vacant or abandoned properties.  These policy updates in this ML are temporary and will not be incorporated into the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Single Family Housing Policy Handbook.  This is because these are temporary solutions especially created for the current pandemic conditions.  

The HUD extensions are just the latest efforts by government housing officials to help homeowners. Theses extension will allow FHA-insured homeowners economically impacted by COVID-19 to focus on financial recovery.  As a consumer, you can also find a HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agency at www.hud.gov. HUD certified housing counselors have access to the most recent letters and directives issued by HUD officials.  

Southern Bancorp Community Partners is a HUD-approved housing counseling agency and is listed on the HUD website. Our counselors are currently located in Arkansas and Mississippi.  If you have questions or would like to speak with one of us you can reach any of us below via phone or email.  

Charlestien Harris at 662-624-5776 or email: Charlestien.harris@southernpartners.org  

Vida Fielder at 870-816-1126 or email: Vida.Fielder@banksouthern.com

Mindy Maupin at 870-483-6333 or email: Mindy.Maupin@banksouthern.com

Jessica Jorge-Graulau at 501-625-3000 or email: Jessica.jorgegraulau@southernpartners.org Eboni Sanders at 501-850-8984 or email: eboni.sanders@southernpartners.org  

Until next week, stay financially fit!