Tennessee attorney general recommends help for homeowners affected by COVID-19

Posted at 2:32 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 15:32:02-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III is recommending actions to help homeowners who have been by the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of a bipartisan coalition that includes 34 other attorneys general. The recommendations were made in a letter that was sent to the Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

"We appreciate the federal actions thus far, but more must be done," said Slatery. "Protecting Tennesseans' most important asset - their homes - is critical and these recommendations will help avoid delinquency and limit substantial strain on the mortgage servicing industry."

The coalition applauded federal efforts to suspend evictions and foreclosures relief the CARES Act provides, but added that it's not enough.

As part of the CARES Act, FHFA and HUD have streamlined the process for borrowers affected by COVID-19 to access forbearance plans, allowing for the temporary pause of mortgage payments. As of now, once the forbearance period ends, borrowers must either repay the missed payments in a lump sum or agree to a more permanent loss mitigation.

The letter sent by the coalition makes three recommendations. They are below.

  • FHFA should issue guidance revising their forbearance programs, so missed payments are placed at the end of the loan's term by default.
  • FHFA and HUD should expand eligibility for disaster relief loss mitigation programs.
  • FHFA and HUD should clarify that the pause on foreclosures and evictions applies to all aspects of the foreclosure or eviction process. This includes issuing pre-foreclosure and acceleration notices, posting or publishing any notices, filing or proceeding with motions beyond continuances or taking any other foreclosure or eviction action during the pause on them.

Head here to read the full letter sent by the bipartisan coalition.