Ask a Counselor: I heard the government is allowing homeowners to pause their mortgage payments right now if they’ve been affected by COVID-19. Do I have to pay my mortgage during this forbearance period?
Anne: This is a great question! If you can continue making your mortgage payments, you should do so. If you’re experiencing a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic that prevents you from making some or all of your mortgage payment, contacting your lender is an important first step. The sooner you can do so, the better. The CARES Act requires lenders to offer forbearance of up to 180 days to borrowers with federally backed mortgages. Even if you don’t have a federally backed loan, ask your lender if they will put your mortgage on a forbearance plan.
During forbearance, the lender agrees not to foreclose on the mortgage, and the borrower agrees to a payment plan that may include reduced or suspended payments for a set period of time. Here are some key questions you should ask your lender when requesting forbearance:
- How long will the forbearance period last?
- What are my payments during this period, and when are they due?
- When will I have to pay the past due balance? Will it come due in one lump sum?
Remember, always contact your lender to see how they can work with you before you miss a mortgage payment. If you need help navigating conversations with your lender, or need more information about COVID-19 consumer protections, please contact us. We’ll schedule a free appointment with one of our housing counselors to help you.
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