Mortgage financing giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae announced disaster relief policies for homeowners affected by Hurricane Sally, as the storm continues to dump rain at dangerous levels on the South. Homeowners affected by 2020’s natural disasters, including those impacted by the ongoing wildfires in western states, may be eligible to reduce or suspend mortgage payments for up to 12 months. Lenders are also willing to waive assessments of penalties or late fees against homeowners impacted by a disaster.
“The priority is for homeowners to get themselves and their loved ones safely out of harm’s way,” says Bill Maguire, Freddie Mac’s vice president of single-family servicing portfolio management. “Once out of harm’s way, homeowners whose homes or places of employment are impacted should contact their mortgage servicer—the company they send their monthly payments to—so they can learn about available relief options.”
Fannie Mae also announced that mortgage servicers are authorized to suspend or reduce a homeowner’s mortgage payment for up to 90 days, even without establishing contact if the servicer believes the owner is affected by the disaster. The mortgage financing giant says homeowners with Fannie Mae-owned mortgages and renters living in Fannie Mae-financed properties should contact them when it is safe to do so and they can assist in developing a personalized recovery plan as well as help request financial relief from FEMA, insurance, and other sources.
“We are monitoring these situations, and we urge those in the path of the storm and fires to focus on their safety,” says Malloy Evans, Fannie Mae’s senior vice president and single-family chief credit officer. “We encourage residents whose homes, employment, or income are impacted by this storm and fires to seek available assistance as soon as possible.”
Hurricane Sally victims add to a growing list of disasters in 2020 for which both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced disaster relief assistance. The mortgage financing giants are also providing mortgage and disaster relief options to homeowners affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Hurricane Laura from late August, and the ongoing wildfires along the west coast. Homeowners already on a COVID-19 related forbearance or relief plan should contact their servicer to discuss additional options.
Hurricane Sally made landfall on Wednesday near Gulf Shores, Ala., as a Category 2 hurricane and is dumping torrential rain and causing catastrophic flooding along the Gulf Coast. On the other side of the country, wildfires have scorched millions of acres across the western U.S. and destroyed homes in California, Oregon, and Washington. In Oregon, more than 40,000 people have had to flee their homes due to the fires. Read more:‘I Feel Very Vulnerable’