Times Staff Writer
Tampa Bay homeowners affected by Hurricane Irma could be able to postpone their mortgage payments for up to 12 months.
Fannie Mae, the government-backed agency that own millions of mortgages, has authorized loan servicers to suspend or reduce payments on single-family mortgages immediately for up to 90 days. Additional payment forbearance of up to 12 months is available in many circumstances.
Forbearance is not automatic; you must contact your servicer for assistance. Depending on the individual case, deferred payments could either be added to the end of the loan or would become due in a lump sum or according to a payment plan. Interest would still accrue but there would be no negative marks on your credit.
Fannie Mae says it will reimburse lenders and servicers for costs associated with inspecting properties affected by Irma.
Fannie's brother agency, Freddie Mac, has a similar hurricane assistance program for mortgages it owns — go to http://www.freddiemac.com/about/hurricane-relief.html for details.
If your loan is not owned by Fannie or Freddie, check with your lender or servicer to see if it also offers payment forbearance on mortgages.