The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has issued several waivers to provisions in its Single-Family Housing Policy Handbook in acknowledgement of the financial impact on some of its borrowers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The provisions affected are those that would normally require in-person contact between borrowers and their mortgage services, including seniors who have Home Equity Conversion (HECM) reverse mortgages. The agency said the waivers allow important mortgage servicing activities to continue, but in a manner that allows for safe social distancing to help combat the pandemic.

Two of the waivers are specific to HECMs. The first waives the $5,000 property charge payment arrearages cap on recalculated repayment plans. This will allow servicers to help more HECM borrowers who are behind on their property charge payments. The second eliminates the requirement for servicers to obtain a signature on an occupancy certification from a HECM borrower.

The third waiver applies to both FHA-insured forward and HECM mortgages. It allows servicers to use alternative methods to conduct borrower interviews when performing early default interventions for borrowers in danger of foreclosure.

These accommodations are in addition to those announced by FHA last week when the agency extended its foreclosure and eviction moratorium for borrowers with single family mortgages through March 31, 2021. It also extended the deadline for borrowers impacted by COVID-19 to request a new forbearance through March 31, 2021.