Deadline Extensions for Getting a CARES Act Forbearance

The FHA, VA, USDA, and FHFA have extended their deadlines for requesting a CARES Act mortgage forbearance.

Update: In September 2021, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that if your loan is FHA-insured, VA-guaranteed, or a USDA direct loan, you may request an initial COVID hardship forbearance as long as the COVID-19 National Emergency is in place.

The latest guidance from Fannie Mae (Lender Letter LL-2020-02) says that its forbearance policies are "effective immediately and are effective until Fannie Mae provides further notice, unless otherwise stated." Similarly, Freddie Mac's issued Bulletin 2020-4 states that the forbearance plan guidelines announced in the bulletin are effective immediately. The bulletin also says, "Freddie Mac will continue to monitor the situation and may revise or revoke this temporary guidance at any time, as appropriate." So, it's currently unclear exactly how long borrowers get to request forbearances for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage loans. It's reasonable to assume you may request a CARES Act forbearance until these entities issue further guidance, most likely until the COVID-19 National Emergency is no longer in effect.

On page 128 of Credit Repair: Make a Plan, Improve Your Credit, Avoid Scams, 14th Edition, by Amy Loftsgordon & Cara O'Neill (Nolo, 2020), the section "Mortgage Relief Under the CARES Act" states you should make your request for a forbearance "before December 31, 2020, or the termination date of the COVID-19 national emergency declaration, whichever is sooner."

Since the publication of this edition, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have extended their deadlines for homeowners to request a CARES Act forbearance.

Deadline to Get a Forbearance for FHA-Insured Loans

The FHA announced that homeowners with FHA-insured loans, including reverse mortgages, have until June 30, 2021, to request a COVID-19 forbearance (a CARES Act forbearance) from their mortgage servicer.

Deadline to Get a Forbearance for VA-Guaranteed Loans

The VA's deadline for forbearance requests is June 30, 2021.

Deadline to Get a Forbearance for USDA Loans

The USDA's deadline for requesting a CARES Act forbearance is June 30, 2021. In addition to CARES Act forbearances, the USDA is offering year-long forbearances to direct home loan borrowers who've been impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

Deadline to Get a Forbearance for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Loans

The latest guidance from Fannie Mae (Lender Letter LL-2020-02) says that its forbearance policies are "effective immediately and are effective until Fannie Mae provides further notice, unless otherwise stated." Similarly, Freddie Mac's issued Bulletin 2020-4 states that the forbearance plan guidelines announced in the bulletin are effective immediately. The bulletin also says, "Freddie Mac will continue to monitor the situation and may revise or revoke this temporary guidance at any time, as appropriate." So, it's currently unclear exactly how long borrowers get to request forbearances for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage loans. It's reasonable to assume you may request a CARES Act forbearance until these entities issue further guidance.

The FHFA has announced that borrowers with a mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac might be eligible for an additional forbearance extension of up to three months after an initial 180-day forbearance and 180-day extension ends. To get the forbearance extension, you must have a forbearance plan in place on or before February 28, 2021, and other limits might apply. In addition, a COVID-19 payment deferral (see below) can now cover up to 15 months of missed payments. With a deferral, borrowers repay the skipped payments when the home is sold, refinanced, or at mortgage maturity.

Deadline to Get a Forbearance for Multifamily Properties

Under the CARES Act, the time frame to get a forbearance for a federally backed loan on a multifamily property with five or more units begins on March 27, 2020, and ends on the sooner of December 31, 2020, or the termination of the national emergency concerning the COVID-19 outbreak declared by the president under the National Emergencies Act, which hasn't happened yet. So, the deadline for most of these loans was December 31, 2020.

Even though the CARES Act set a December 31, 2020 deadline for borrowers with multifamily loans to get forbearances, the FHFA announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would continue to offer COVID-19 forbearances to qualifying multifamily property owners through March 31, 2021.

Getting Help With Your Mortgage During the Coronavirus Pandemic

To get more information about your mortgage rights under the federal CARES Act, consider talking to a foreclosure attorney or a HUD-approved housing counselor. A HUD-approved housing counselor can provide you with helpful information (at no cost) about different ways to deal with your mortgage debt and avoid a foreclosure.