Helping those harmed financially by COVID-19

Mortgage and housing assistance

If you're concerned about how to pay your mortgage or rent, we have information on what to do now, and what your options are for mortgage and rental relief.

 

 

 

 

Managing your finances

We can help you protect and manage your finances if you are facing financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic.

Student loans

Student loan borrowers now have more benefits to consider when planning for the potential financial impact from coronavirus.

 

 

 

 

Avoiding scams

Scammers are taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to con people into giving up their money.

Requesting a mortgage forbearance

 

CARES Act relief for all federally or GSE-backed mortgages

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, there are two protections for homeowners with federally or GSE-backed or funded mortgages:

  • First, your lender or loan servicer may not foreclose on you for 60 days after March 18, 2020. Specifically, the CARES Act prohibits lenders and servicers from beginning a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure against you, or from finalizing a foreclosure judgment or sale, during this period of time.

  • Second, if you experience financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, you have a right to request a forbearance for up to 180 days. You also have the right to request an extension for up to another 180 days. You must contact your loan servicer to request this forbearance. There will be no additional fees, penalties or additional interest (beyond scheduled amounts) added to your account. You do not need to submit additional documentation to qualify other than your claim to have a pandemic-related financial hardship.

Mortgage forbearance

Forbearance is when your mortgage servicer or lender allows you to pause (suspend), or reduce your mortgage payments for a limited period of time while you regain your financial footing.

The CARES Act provides many homeowners with the right to have all mortgage payments completely paused for a period of time.

Forbearance doesn’t mean your payments are forgiven or erased. You are still required to repay any missed or reduced payments in the future, which in most cases may be repaid over time. At the end of the forbearance, your servicer will contact you about how the missed payments will be repaid. There may be different programs available.

Make sure you understand how the forbearance will be repaid.

What to do after you receive forbearance

While you’re in the forbearance period, or working under another mortgage relief option, there are a number of things to do to continue to protect yourself.

 

What to do immediately

This advice applies to both a CARES Act forbearance and other mortgage relief that you might receive.

  • Keep written documentation on hand. You want to make sure that you have this documentation available in case there are any errors on your monthly mortgage statements to ensure that your statement reflects the assistance provided.

  • Pay attention to your monthly mortgage statement. Continue monitoring your monthly mortgage statements to make sure you don’t see any errors.

  • Stop or change auto-payments for your mortgage. If you are having your mortgage payment deducted automatically from your bank account, make sure you make any necessary adjustment to avoid any fees or charges.

  • Keep an eye on your credit. It’s a good idea to routinely check your credit reports in order to make sure there are no errors or inaccuracies. If you were otherwise current on your account and have received an accommodation, your account should be reported as current. If you stop making mortgage payments without a forbearance agreement, the servicer will report this information to the credit reporting companies, and it can have a lasting negative impact on your credit history. If an error has been made, however, you can work to dispute it.
    Get more information about protecting your credit during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Once your income is restored, contact your servicer and resume your payments. With forbearance, you still owe the payments that you missed, but fewer missed payments mean you’ll owe less down the road.

  • If you still face financial hardship, you can request a forbearance extension. Under the CARES Act, if you have a federally or GSE-backed mortgage, you also can request an extension of the forbearance for up to an additional 180 days.

  • If you’re continuing to receive some income that turns out to be more than you need for your bills and expenses (including anything you keep paying on your mortgage), consider putting the extra money away so you can use it to pay off what’s needed later. If you can save any money now, it’ll be helpful when payments are due later.

  • Your property taxes and insurance should continue to be paid if your mortgage has an escrow account, but you may want to confirm with your servicer. If your mortgage does not have an escrow account, you will be responsible for these payments as well as HOA and condo fees during forbearance.

 

How to repay your forbearance

Before your forbearance period ends, you will have to make arrangements with your servicer to repay any amount suspended or paused.

Remember, under the CARES Act, if you have a federally or GSE-backed mortgage, you also can request an extension of the forbearance for up to an additional 180 days.

The method of repayment varies depending on your loan and the options offered. Not all borrowers will be eligible for all options. Ask your servicer how these programs work and what you can expect in terms of repaying these amounts.

 

Protections for renters

If you’re having trouble making rent payments or facing eviction as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, you are not alone. 

 

If you are renting from an owner who has a federally insured or Government Sponsored Entity (GSE)-backed mortgage, live in federally subsidized housing or get a federally subsidized grant or voucher, you cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent between March 27 and July 24, 2020 due to the CARES Act.

Many state and local governments have also paused evictions because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Under the CARES Act, additional restrictions may apply for a property with a federally or GSE-backed mortgage. Landlords who receive forbearance relief under the CARES Act cannot evict their tenant(s) or charge late payment fees or penalties while they are receiving forbearance relief.

After their forbearance ends, they must give you a 30-day notice to vacate and let the notice expire before making you leave.

 

What this means for you

Even if the CARES Act eviction moratorium applies to you, rent payments are still due on the usual date. So, if you can pay your rent, you should continue to do so to avoid the potential of future eviction.

If you have had a decrease in income or change in circumstances that will make it difficult to pay your rent on time, contact your landlord right away.

If you live in federally-subsidized housing and your income has fallen, contact your housing authority to talk about income recertification. If you rent from a private company or landlord, a payment agreement may help you avoid eviction once the moratorium is over.

Steps to take if you have trouble paying your bills 

Trouble paying your mortgage?

  • If you can’t pay your mortgage, or can only pay a portion, contact your mortgage servicer.

  • It may take a while to get a loan servicer on the phone. Loan servicers are experiencing a high call volume and may also be impacted by the pandemic.

  • Contact us to discuss mortgage relief options for in-depth content to help you understand your forbearance options and avoid foreclosure in light of the coronavirus and the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

  • If you are renting from an owner who has a federally backed mortgage, the CARES Act provides for a suspension or moratorium on evictions.

Trouble paying your student loans?

  • If you have student loans, you have options.

  • If your loan is held by the federal government, your loan payments are postponed with no interest until September 30, 2020.

  • For other kinds of student loans (such as a federal student loan held by a commercial lender or the institution you attend, or a private student loan held by a bank, credit union, school, or other private entity) we can contact your student loan servicer to find out more about your options.

 

Trouble paying your credit cards?

  • If you’re unable to pay your credit cards , talk with your credit card company and let them know that you cannot make a payment. You may get relief.

Trouble paying your auto loan?

  • Your lender may have options that will help. Our tips include changing the date of your payment, requesting a payment plan, and asking for a payment extension.

How to work with your bank or credit union

  • With many of us staying home to help flatten the coronavirus curve, online banking allows you to handle your finances from the comfort of home. 

  • Generally, all bank deposits up to $250,000 are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation . Deposits at all federal credit unions, and the vast majority of state-chartered credit unions, are also insured up to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund  (NCUSIF).

What to do if you lose your income

  • State and local governments vary in the programs and offerings to help those financially impacted by the coronavirus.

  • You can look to your state’s unemployment policies  to identify current options for benefits. The recently passed CARES Act allows states to extend benefits to self-employed and gig workers , and to provide an extra $600 per week as well as an additional 13 weeks of benefits. 

  • Older adults may be impacted by the coronavirus and quarantine procedures in different ways than the general public. There may be government benefits available to older adults who need financial help. Visit benefitscheckup.org  for more information and to see if you qualify for any state or local assistance.

Be aware of potential scam attempts

  • Scammers look for opportunities to take advantage of the vulnerable, especially during times of emergencies or natural disasters. Be cautious of emails, texts, or social media posts that may be selling fake products or information about emerging coronavirus cases.

CONTACT

22 SOUTH MAIN ST,

NEW CITY, NY 10956

SERRANOLAWPC@GMAIL.COM

TEL. (845) 638 - 2200

FAX: (845) 638 - 2205

THE INFORMATION ON THIS LAW OFFICES OF SERRANO & ASSOCIATES, P.C.  WEBSITE IS FOR GENERAL INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. NOTHING ON THIS OR ASSOCIATED PAGES, DOCUMENTS, COMMENTS, ANSWERS, EMAILS, OR OTHER COMMUNICATIONS SHOULD BE TAKEN AS LEGAL ADVICE FOR ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE OR SITUATION. THIS INFORMATION ON THIS WEBSITE IS NOT INTENDED TO CREATE, AND RECEIPT OR VIEWING OF THIS INFORMATION DOES NOT CONSTITUTE, AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.