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USDA Extends Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium, Relief Options for Single Family Housing Direct and Guaranteed Loan Borrowers

Erin McDuff
Release Date

Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium Extension:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is extending its foreclosure and eviction moratorium for all Single Family Housing direct and guaranteed home loans through February 28, 2021, to help rural homeowners affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The moratorium prohibits:

  • The initiation of foreclosures or completion of foreclosures already in process, excluding on vacant and abandoned properties.
  • Evictions of homeowners from properties bought with a USDA direct or guaranteed home loan.

Loan servicers seeking to assist USDA guaranteed loan borrowers may also pursue any of the relief options referenced in Chapter 18 of the Technical Assistance Handbook-1-3555.

Loan Forbearance:

USDA direct home loan borrowers who have been impacted by the pandemic may request payment forbearance for up to one year. The initial forbearance period may then be extended for an additional year at the borrower's request.

Lenders of USDA guaranteed home loans should continue to provide borrowers impacted by the pandemic with relief in accordance with the CARES Act by offering forbearance of the loan payment for up to 180 days. The initial forbearance period may then be extended up to an additional 180 days at the borrower's request.

During the forbearance period, no accrual of fees, penalties, or interest may be charged to the borrower beyond the amounts calculated as if the borrower had made all contractual payments in a timely fashion.

Upon completion of the forbearance, if the borrower can resume making regular payments, they will be offered either an affordable repayment plan or term extension to defer any missed payments to the end of the loan. If the borrower is unable to resume making regular payments, the borrower will be evaluated for all available options outlined in HB-1-3555. The special relief measures outlined in Chapter 18, Section 5 “Assistance in Natural Disasters” will apply. These options include term extensions, capitalization, and a mortgage recovery advance.

Extension of Exceptions for Home Loan Requirements:

The temporary exceptions originally issued on March 27, 2020, pertaining to home appraisals, repair inspections, and income verification for Single Family Housing loans due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been extended through February 28, 2021. These exceptions include:

  • Allowing the use of exterior-only inspections when the appraiser is unable to complete an interior inspection of an existing dwelling due to concerns associated with the pandemic.
  • Accepting a letter signed by the borrower confirming that home repair work was completed when a completion certification is not available due to issues related to the pandemic.
  • Waiving the requirement for employment verification when a Verbal Verification of Employment or acceptable alternative cannot be obtained due to the temporary closure of the borrower's employer.

Questions regarding guaranteed home loan policy and this announcement may be directed to the National Office Division at sfhglpservicing@usda.gov or (202) 720-1452.

For more information on USDA Rural Development's actions to support customers impacted by COVID-19, visit www.rd.usda.gov/coronavirus.