Some are saying that 2018 may be the worst year in history for wildfires in California and other states are threatened by blazes as well so Freddie Mac is reaffirming its disaster relief policies.  The policies apply to borrowers with homes in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-declared disaster areas where individual assistance programs have been made available to affected individuals and households. The options include suspending foreclosures by providing forbearance for up to 12 months and waiving penalties or late fees for borrowers with disaster damaged homes.  Areas with FEMA programs are listed on FEMA's website.

Where those FEMA programs are not available, Freddie Mac servicers are empowered to use Freddie Mac's forbearance programs to provide mortgage relief to borrowers affected by the fires.  Servicers are encouraged to provide relief to borrowers who work in affected areas even if their homes are located elsewhere.

 "Once out of harm's way, we strongly encourage homeowners whose homes or businesses have been impacted by the devastating California wildfires to call their mortgage servicer-the company to which borrowers send their monthly mortgage payments," said Yvette Gilmore, vice president of single-family servicer performance management at Freddie Mac. "We are committed to ensuring that homeowners receive the mortgage assistance they need to help them during this devastating tragedy."

We expect that Fannie Mae will soon make a similar announcement.