How to Get Help with your Mortgage During COVID-19

Philadelphia homeowners with individual questions should call the Save Your Home Philly Hotline from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday- Friday at 215-334-4663.

Everyone shares the same basic needs: a warm and safe place to live, enough food to eat, and to care and be cared for by their loved ones. Philadelphians work resiliently every day to create happy and healthy lives for their families, but the COVID-19 pandemic has us facing unprecedented challenges. Millions of people are suddenly without jobs or are making do with reduced hours, creating an economic crisis. As a result, many homeowners are suffering financial hardship and may have difficulty making their mortgage payments. 

The Consumer Housing Unit and the Save Your Home Philly Hotline at Philadelphia Legal Assistance have spoken to hundreds of Philadelphians who are worried about their homes. Common areas of concern include loss of income due to unemployment, the death of a family member, or falling behind on mortgage payments. Luckily, there are different forms of assistance available to support these homeowners.

Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures:

On Feb. 16, 2021, the Biden Administration announced that the foreclosure and eviction moratorium will be extended through June 30, 2021 for mortgages insured by FHA, VA, or USDA mortgage. This means that if you have an FHA, VA, or USDA mortgage loan, you cannot be foreclosed on or evicted before June 30, 2021. 

The Federal Housing and Finance Authority (FHFA) also recently extended its foreclosure and eviction moratorium through March 2021. This means that if you loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you can't be foreclosed on or evicted before March 31, 2021. 

If either of these deadlines are extended, we will update that information here. 

Protections under the Federal CARES Act: 

Under the Federal CARES Act, most homeowners are eligible for assistance from their mortgage companies but they have to ask for help. This applies to all mortgages insured or owned by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Veterans Administration, Rural Housing, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. Homeowners with private mortgages may also be able to get assistance from their mortgage companies.

Most homeowners can delay making mortgage payments for up to twelve months by asking for what is known as a “forbearance.” Payments that are postponed due to forbearance can be caught up later by adding the payments to the end of the loan or working out another agreement to repay over time. In most cases, missed payments will not have to be paid back all at once. If homeowners cannot afford their regular mortgage payment after the forbearance ends, they can ask the mortgage company to review them for a more affordable payment.

On February 16, the Biden Administration announced that it was expanding the availability of forbearance for borrowers facing financial hardship due to the pandemic.  Borrowers with FHA, VA, or USDA mortgage loans may now receive up to 18 months of forbearance.  (The previous limit had been 12 months.)  The Administration also extended the deadline for applying for an initial forbearance based on a COVID hardship to June 30, 2021.*   

This deadline only applies to borrowers with FHA, VA, or USDA mortgage loans.  There is not currently a deadline to apply for a forbearance for borrowers with loans owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  Additionally, borrowers may always apply for a forbearance based on a temporary loss of employment income.  There is no deadline for this type of forbearance.  

Sheriff Sales

Sheriff sales have been on hold since that start of the pandemic, but are expected to resume in April 2021. If you were facing a sheriff sale before the pandemic and have questions about whether your home is scheduled to be sold, please call the Save Your Home Philly Hotline. 

Save Your Home Philly Hotline 

The Save Your Home Philly Hotline at Philadelphia Legal Assistance serves as a central point of contact for Philadelphia homeowners at risk of foreclosure. The Hotline provides advice, brief service, and referrals to thousands of Philadelphia homeowners each year. 

When a homeowner calls the Hotline, they work with a trained paralegal who answers their questions and reviews the case for a legal need. If a homeowner needs to apply for mortgage assistance, the Hotline refers them to a DHCD-certified housing counselor. (Most appointments are done remotely, with limited in-person services available). For low-income callers with a legal need, the Hotline may refer their case to Philadelphia Legal Assistance or another legal services office. 

Homeowners at any stage of the foreclosure process, from pre-foreclosure through court dates and sheriff sale, may call the Hotline for help with saving their homes. If you would like information about mortgage assistance programs to stop or prevent foreclosure for Philadelphia homeowners, the Save Your Home Philly Hotline can help--215-334-4663 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday- Friday.