Ask a Counselor: What is an Act 91 notice?
An Act 91 notice is the signal of the beginning stages of a mortgage foreclosure. Pennsylvania is a judicial state regarding mortgage foreclosures. This means that all paperwork from a mortgage servicer needs to be sent officially and through the court system. It ensures that a Pennsylvania homeowner knows their home is being foreclosed upon. An Act 91 notice is sent to a homeowner with a conventional mortgage when they are at least 3 months delinquent. An Act 6 notice (or Notice of Acceleration) is sent to homeowners with a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan or a U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) loan.
When a homeowner receives an Act 91 notice, they should contact a housing counseling agency immediately (the last page of the notice contains a list of local counseling agencies). When a homeowner meets with a certified Housing Counseling Agency within 33 days of the date on the Act 91 notice, the counselor has the ability to stop all foreclosure activity while the homeowner and counselor apply to the Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP), administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA). If approved for a HEMAP loan*, PHFA will catch up the homeowners on the delinquency. Likewise, while the foreclosure has been temporarily halted, this gives the counselor and homeowner the opportunity to contact the mortgage servicer to see if the loan can be modified. An Act 91 notice should never be ignored. It is an opportunity for a homeowner to buy time while working with a counselor, the lender, and PHFA to save their home, if possible.
*HEMAP loans can come in different forms (one-time payment and on-going payments) and the repayment amount is based upon income. Learn more
NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania provides free homeownership counseling services. To sign up for an appointment, get started by creating a customer account.