How Victims of Hurricane Irma Can Get Relief

Florida homeowners who may have trouble making their mortgage payments after Hurricane Irma may be eligible for a forbearance. However, it’s not automatic, you must reach out to your mortgage lender and apply for it and each lender may have a different set of rules so you need to call and ask.

In some cases, mortgage agencies will allow you to skip your next three payments and they’ll be added to the end of the loan without any negative marks on your credit. Interest, however, would still accrue. In other cases, when the deferment period is over, missed payments become due either in a lump sum or according to a payment schedule.

Homeowners who suffer a financial setback, such as a job loss, as a direct result of a disaster also may be offered temporary mortgage relief, even if their home was spared. Documentation will likely be required to prove the hardship.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have both told loan servicers to extend a 90-day forbearance to anyone who calls and requests it.

Additionally, the IRS has announced that people who extended their 2016 income tax filings can submit their paperwork next year. It’s not a payment extension but rather a filing extension.

Also, many credit card companies will offer a similar disaster forbearance upon request and banks are also offering breaks to those in Hurricane Irma’s path.

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Cheryl Hastings is a shareholder of Grant Fridkin Pearson, P.A. and has practiced law in Southwest Florida since 2002. She focuses her practice in the areas of residential and commercial real estate development and finance, including mixed use and water-front projects. Cheryl also has extensive experience in representing landlords and tenants in commercial leasing, representing contractors and owners in the preparation and negotiation of construction contracts, representing developers and associations in the preparation of homeowners’ association documents and the creation of residential and commercial condominiums.

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