ASSISTANCE FOR CERTAIN HOMEOWNERS AND RENTERS

This page will be updated continuously to reflect the most recent information on the coronavirus. This page was last updated on May 8, 2020.

 

Congress has established several types of relief for the economic and housing pressures brought on by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).  In combination, these programs may help with your financial needs.

 

INCOME RELIEF

  • Economic Impact Payments: Many people will qualify for Economic Impact Payments (commonly referred to as a stimulus check) from the federal government.  Please see our factsheet here.
  • Unemployment: Congress has extended eligibility for unemployment benefits and increased the amounts people can receive.  This includes independent contractors, part-time workers, and others not normally eligible for unemployment benefits.  Please see the unemployment benefits factsheet.  If your job has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, you can apply for unemployment benefits in Hawaii here.
  • Small Business Support: Loans are available to small businesses to help cover payroll and operating expenses and may help you if you own a small business, or if you are an independent contractor, sole proprietor, or self-employed.  Please see our factsheet here.
  • Tax Relief: Tax relief may help you and your family during this time, including by postponing the deadline to file and pay your 2020 taxes.  Please see our factsheet here.

These income relief measures may help families continue to be able to pay for housing costs during this crisis.  There is also immediate mortgage payment relief, as described below.

The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii has developed an FAQ for Homeowners & Renters that includes additional state actions in support of homeowners and renters, which can be found here.

 

ASSISTANCE FOR HOMEOWNERS

Mortgage payment forbearance

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides relief for homeowners with government-guaranteed mortgages. 

If the coronavirus pandemic has caused job loss, income reduction, sickness, or other issues, federally held mortgages are eligible for relief.  Mortgages backed by FHA, USDA, VA, HUD Sec 184, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac are eligible for interest and penalty free forbearance for at least 6 months and up to one year. 

  • Forbearance puts your payments on pause.  You will still have to make these payments; however, interest will not accrue during this coronavirus-related forbearance period.
  • Your credit will not suffer.  Negative credit reporting is also suspended.

Homeowners in need of the forbearance should reach out to their mortgage servicers as soon as possible or contact a HUD-approved housing counselor.  Contact information for a homeowner’s mortgage servicer can be found in monthly mortgage statements or coupon book.  The nearest housing counselor can be found at https://www.consumerfinance.gov/find-a-housing-counselor/ or by calling (800) 569-4287.

Q:  How do I know if my mortgage is eligible for relief (or federally held)?

A:  To find out if your loan is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you can use the look-up tools developed by each agency:

Q:  What if my loan is not federally backed?

A:  You should still reach out to your loan servicer.  Financial regulators have encouraged lenders to work with mortgage holders.  For more assistance, you can find a HUD approved housing counselor by clicking here or by calling (800) 569-4287.

Foreclosure relief

Homeowners with FHA, USDA, VA, or Section 184 or 184A mortgages, or mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who are facing foreclosure will also have relief from foreclosure or being forced to relocate as we address the COVID-19 pandemic.  The foreclosure eviction moratorium is in effect until May 17, 2020. 

 

ASSISTANCE FOR RENTERS

Eviction Moratorium for Renters

If you are renting from an owner who has a federally-backed mortgage or federally-supported multi-family property, the CARES Act provides for a moratorium on evictions from March 27, 2020, through July 25, 2020.

Landlords of eligible properties are prohibited from filing for eviction or charging any fees for unpaid rent and fees during the moratorium and must issue a notice to tenants to vacate 30 days before an eviction once the moratorium ends.  After this moratorium period, renters will be responsible for making payments.

This protection covers properties that receive federal subsidies such as public housing, Section 8 assistance, USDA rural housing programs, and Low Income Housing Tax Credits, as well as properties that have a mortgage issued or guaranteed by a federal agency (including FHA and USDA), Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac.

Renters seeking information on whether they are covered by the moratorium should contact a HUD approved housing counselor.  You can find the nearest housing counselor here or by calling (800) 569-4287.

 

ASSISTANCE FOR MULTIFAMILY PROPERTY OWNERS

Similar to the assistance for single-family property owners, the CARES Act provides interest and penalty-free forbearance for owners of multifamily properties with federally backed mortgages (i.e., FHA, USDA, VA, HUD Sec 184, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac).  The act allows for an initial 30 day forbearance with two 30 day extensions, for a total of 90 days. 

Property owners who seek forbearance are prohibited from evicting tenants for non-payment or charging additional fees or penalties during the forbearance period.  Owners must also give a 30 day notice before evicting tenants at the end of the moratorium.

Property owners should contact their mortgage servicers for more information.

 

Helpful information resources: