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Mortgage Assistance, Foreclosure, and Coronavirus in NY: What to Know

Housing is healthcare. As we all endure the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis, it’s more important than ever that families do not lose their homes.

I CAN’T AFFORD MY MORTGAGE DUE TO COVID-19. WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
Right now, you are still obligated to pay your mortgage. The statewide foreclosure moratorium will only delay foreclosure, it will not prevent it if you do not pay. If you are struggling to pay your mortgage, contact your lender as soon as possible to discuss how you can bring your loan current. Traditional options to avoid foreclosure include:

  • Mortgage forbearance: you temporarily pay your mortgage at a lower payment or halt your mortgage payment altogether.
    • You will have to make up the missed payments.
  • Repayment plan: you make up your missed mortgage loan payments over a certain period of time, typically 3-12months.
    • Your repayment will be in addition to your regular monthly mortgage payment.
  • Loan modification: your loan terms are changed. The modification can reduce your monthly payment; extend the number of years you have to repay the loan; reduce your interest rate; and/or forbear or reduce your principal balance.
    • The missed payments are included in the modified payment.
  • Tips for communicating with your lender:
    • Keep thorough notes of each phone call including names and dates
    • Ask for written confirmation of all lender policies and promises
    • Be prepared to explain and document how you have been impacted by the public health crisis.
      • Keep all communications from your employer regarding layoff; furloughs; or reduced hours.
        • I.e. Letters, emails; paystubs, and text messages.
          • If your employer only communicates verbally, ask for something in writing
      • Stay in touch with your lender so you don’t miss important information and deadlines.

WHAT IF I AM IN ACTIVE FORECLOSURE PROCEEDINGS?

Because of NYLAG’s advocacy, as well as that of partner organizations, all foreclosure deadlines are suspended until June 7, 2020 in New York courts.  The nature of this suspension is rapidly evolving. Please visit www.nycourts.gov for the most up to date information. Below, we condensed the important information.

  • Most New York court dates for foreclosure cases have been postponed but some conferences are being held remotely by phone or video conference.  The court should notify you of any upcoming court date. If you have a foreclosure court case and you do not hear from the Court, you should contact them for an update on your case.  
  • If you have a federal foreclosure case pending, you should contact the federal court asap to determine the status of your case.
  • On Friday, March 16, the Governor issued an order declaring a foreclosure moratorium for 90 days, and recently extended the moratorium for another 60 days for homeowners facing Covid-19 related financial hardship, but this order does not apply to many mortgages. The moratorium means that your lender can’t foreclose right now, but once the moratorium is lifted, they will be allowed to foreclose unless you and your lender make another agreement. Contact your mortgage servicer ASAP to see what assistance your mortgage servicer is offering.

If you would like a free legal consultation call NYLAG (New York Legal Assistance Group) at 212-946-0349 or email us at [email protected]

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In response to the COVID-19 crisis, we are still working hard and our intake lines are open, but please note that our physical office is closed.

During these unprecedented times, we’ve launched a free NY COVID-19 Legal Resources Hotline and compiled the latest legal and financial counseling updates.