Mortgage Payment Relief is in Effect

Acting on a commitment to provide financial relief to New Jersey homeowners, Governor Murphy has announced that financial institutions will provide mortgage forbearance and financial protections for New Jerseyans facing economic hardship as a result COVID-19.

Under Governor Murphy’s proposal, New Jerseyans who are struggling financially as a result of COVID-19 may be eligible for the following relief upon contacting their financial institution:

• 90-Day Grace Period for Mortgage Payments

• Financial institutions will offer, consistent with applicable guidelines, mortgage payment forbearances of up to 90 days to borrowers economically impacted by COVID-19. In addition, those institutions will:

• Provide borrowers a streamlined process to request a forbearance for COVID-19-related reasons, supported with available documentation;

• Confirm approval of and terms of forbearance program; and

• Provide borrowers the opportunity to request additional relief, as practicable, upon continued showing of hardship due to COVID-19.

Financial institutions will not report derogatory tradelines (e.g., late payments) to credit reporting agencies, consistent with applicable guidelines, for borrowers taking advantage of COVID-19-related relief.

For at least 60 days, financial institutions will not initiate foreclosure sales or evictions, consistent with applicable guidelines.

For at least 90 days, financial institutions will waive or refund at least the following for customers who have requested assistance:

• Mortgage-related late fees; and

• Other fees, including early CD withdrawals (subject to applicable federal regulations).

Note that financial institutions and their servicers are experiencing high volumes of inquiries and may recommend using online services when available for the quickest service. Loans held by a financial institution may be serviced by another company.

Last week, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 106, which imposed a moratorium on removing individuals from their homes pursuant to an eviction or foreclosure proceeding while the Order is in effect. Tenants cannot be asked to leave their homes for nonpayment of rent during this time.

Governor Murphy also announced that the Department of Community Affairs received an additional $13 million in federal funds as part of its annual renewal for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. These funds, based on the increased utilization New Jersey achieved in the program last year, are critical to helping current voucher tenants maintain their housing stability during the coming year.