USDA Implements Immediate Measures to Help Rural Residents, Businesses and Communities Affected by COVID-19
Effective March 19, borrowers with USDA single-family housing Direct and Guaranteed loans are subject to a moratorium on foreclosure and eviction for a period of 60 days. This action applies to the initiation of foreclosures and evictions and to the completion of foreclosures and evictions in process.
Guaranteed Loan Program:
- Guaranteed Loan borrowers who are in default or facing imminent default due to a documented hardship can have payments reduced or suspended by their lender for a period not to exceed 12 months delinquency. Once the hardship is resolved, the lender can modify the loan to cure the delinquency or make up the missed payments based on the borrower’s individual circumstances.
- Guaranteed Loan servicing questions should be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Direct Loan Program:
- USDA has waived or relaxed certain parts of the application process for Single-Family Housing Direct Loans, including site assessments, and has extended the time period that certificates of eligibility are valid.
- A Direct Loan borrower who is experiencing a reduction of income by more than 10 percent can request a Payment Assistance package to see if he/she is eligible for payment assistance or for more assistance than currently received.
- Moratorium Assistance is available for Direct Loan borrowers experiencing medical bill expenses (not covered by insurance) or job loss because of COVID-19. Qualifying borrowers can receive a moratorium on house payments for a period of time, repaid at a later date.
- Direct Loan questions should be directed to USDA’s Customer Service Center at 800-414-1226 (7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Eastern Time Monday-Friday) or https://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/loan-servicing.
Three immediate steps are effective for Section 515 Multi-Family properties:
- Tenant certifications due March 31, April 30 and May 31 for Multi-Family properties have been extended to June 30 with no late fees or overage charges, as allowed in Multi-Family guidance (HB-3- 3560, Chapter 4, Section 4.11). This extension will allow for additional time to complete needed certifications while avoiding face-to-face meetings as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Late fees on Section 515 mortgages will be waived, subject to waiver authority in 7 CFR 3560.403 (c)(3).
- Section 515 Annual Financial Statements due March 31 will be extended 30 days, as per Multi-Family guidance (HB-2-3560 Chapter 4, Section 4.16-H). USDA is exploring whether a longer extension is appropriate and will provide further guidance.
- Current policy states that owners must process an interim recertification at the tenant’s request if there is a change in income of $50 or more per month. The owner should already have this policy in writing and apply it consistently. To the maximum extent possible, we encourage all owners to work with all tenants with impacted income to adjust rent payments.
- USDA encourages all owners to work with impacted residents and families to adjust rent payments, enter into forbearance agreements, and lessen the impact on affected residents. At this time, no additional subsidy funding has been made available. If borrowers are temporarily unable to make loan payments, the Agency may waive late fees and enter into an official workout plan.