Updated Jan. 19, 2021
As you know, the spread of the coronavirus has touched every aspect of our daily lives — from our families and schools to our places of work and worship.
We understand the uncertainty during this pandemic and want to let you know about some of the proactive measures Idaho Housing and Finance Association and HomeLoanServ have in place to continue to support and serve our customers, clients and partners.
Please stay safe and healthy during this unprecedented time.
Emergency help for renters: Housing Preservation Program
If you or your renter is unable to pay rent or utilities because of the COVID-19 pandemic, short-term assistance may be available to prevent eviction.
Mortgage Payment Assistance for HomeLoanServ borrowers
Several states offer mortgage payment assistance to eligible homeowners who have been affected by COVID-19. Click on your state to apply and learn more about eligibility requirements.
If you’re a HomeLoanServ customer and need to register for, check in with, or be removed from your Special Forbearance Plan, please click here.
Forbearance information for HomeLoanServ borrowers
We encourage you to review the information on this page. If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. If you choose to speak to us in person, please understand that, although our customer support call center is open, we are experiencing higher than normal call volume and longer wait times. We know that it’s frustrating to wait and we apologize for the inconvenience. We encourage you to take advantage of the self-serve options if you need to register, check in or change a forbearance plan.
- Self-serve: Register, check in, or change a forbearance plan.
- Learn more before you apply for forbearance.
- Ready to resume payments? Here’s how to unenroll from a forbearance plan.
- Email: Disasterrelief@HomeLoanServ.com
- Phone: 800-526-7145 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. mountain time, Monday – Friday)
Do you have payment concerns?
If you anticipate that it will be difficult or impossible for you to make your mortgage payment, there are options available.
Please note that all foreclosure sales and evictions have been postponed until Aug. 31. Similarly, we have suspended negative reporting to credit agencies for borrowers who are currently on a forbearance plan.
If the COVID-19 virus pandemic outbreak has caused you financial hardship and affected your ability to pay your mortgage, you are eligible for a special forbearance plan. Click here to register.
The forbearance plan delays the requirement to pay a monthly mortgage payment from an initial 90 days up to 365 days, depending on your situation. During that time, negative credit reporting is suspended, no late fees are assessed, and foreclosures will not be initiated. Forbearance does not erase, nullify or otherwise remove the accumulated payments.
At the end of the forbearance period, you will need to resume making your monthly mortgage payments and catch up on your missed payments. There are several options available and we will work with you to determine the best fit for your new financial situation. It’s important to understand that we can’t determine your specific repayment options until we know exactly how many payments you’ve missed.
While everyone’s situation is unique, repayment options generally include:
- A loan deferral that will add your missed payments to the end of your loan.
- A repayment plan, in which you pay a little extra every month on your regular mortgage payment to gradually catch up on your missed payments.
- A loan modification that aims to maintain or reduce your monthly payment. Please understand that not all loans qualify for a modification. Please consult with one of our loan counselors to see if your loan qualifies.
- Mortgage assistance: Several states offer mortgage payment assistance to eligible homeowners who have been affected by COVID-19. Click here learn more about eligibility requirements.
If you think a special forbearance plan is right for you, please register here.
Consider taking advantage of Borrower Connection
If you haven’t already, now is a great time to sign up for Borrower Connection, our secure online tool that will help you manage your mortgage payments, view account activity and get tax and insurance information. Get started here.
Be wary of scammers
Unfortunately scam attempts increase during situations like this.
Please be cautious of phishing scams, which are fraudulent attempts to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details. Use extra caution when clicking on links and opening email attachments. If you receive an email that looks suspicious, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Keep in mind that no one from HomeLoanServ will contact you by email or phone to request your personal account or payment information. You should continue to make your payments as you always have or use our secure, online Borrower Connection. Transactions on this account are protected by two-step authentication. Two-step login is an extra layer of security to make sure you’re the only one who can access your account, even if someone else knows your password. Each time you log in, you will be asked to enter a username and password as well as an additional six-digit code, which you can choose to receive by email, text, or phone call.
Free housing advice: Get your mortgage back on track
Idaho Housing and Finance Association is offering free housing counseling to get your mortgage back on track after your loan forbearance period ends. The process is painless. IHFA’s housing advisors conduct confidential interviews to discuss clients’ housing needs and help them find the right resources. Housing advisors help educate you on a variety of situations, like:
- Understanding forbearance and what your next steps are
- Identifying resources and solutions for housing problems
- Giving information about housing resources, rights, and responsibilities
- Providing financial planning tools
- Reviewing credit reports and helping with a debt-reduction plan
- Developing a budget with homeownership in mind
- Applying for housing assistance
- Prioritizing and budgeting for housing stability
- Helping to identify solutions for maintaining utilities
- Making referrals to Idaho Legal Aid for landlord/tenant issues
Our free housing advice can help you get back on track with your mortgage. For details go to Free Housing Advice
Eviction moratorium: What renters should know
On Sept. 1, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a temporary national moratorium on most evictions for nonpayment of rent. The moratorium took effect Sept. 4, 2020 and will last until Dec. 31, 2020. While Idaho Housing does not mediate landlord/tenant issues, we’re providing this information as a helpful guide.
What renters must do to qualify:
According to the CDC’s order, renters must provide a signed declaration to their landlord stating that they meet the following qualifications. (Click here to download a sample declaration.)
- You have used your “best efforts to obtain all available government assistance for rent or housing;”
- You do not expect to earn more than $99,000 in 2020 (or $198,000 if you are married and filed a joint tax return), or you did not need to report income to the federal government in 2019, or you received an Economic Impact Payment this year;
- You have experienced a substantial loss of household income because of a layoff or reduced work hours, or you have extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses (defined as an unreimbursed medical expense that exceeds 7.5% of your adjusted gross income for the year);
- You have been making your best effort to make partial rent payments as close to the full amount due as possible; and
- Being evicted would cause you to become homeless.
Important considerations for renters
- All back rent will have to be paid once the moratorium expires on Dec. 31, 2020.
- The declaration requires you to make partial payments to your landlord to the extent your circumstances allow.
- Tenants can still be evicted for:
- Conducting criminal activity on the property;
- Threatening the health or safety of other residents;
- Damaging or posing an immediate and significant risk of damage to the property;
- Violating applicable building codes, health ordinances, or other regulations related to health and safety;
- Violating any contractual obligation other than the timely payment of rent, late fees, penalties, or interest.
Lender and broker partners
Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA) recognizes the severity of the impact of COVID-19. These are challenging times that require flexibility, creativity, and understanding. IHFA believes that homeownership is the backbone to our country’s economy and will do everything in its power to remain operational.
We value our employees and their families. To keep our employees safe, most of IHFA’s personnel are working at home. We have a minimal crew still coming into the office to provide essential functions.
Please be assured that members of our staff who you’re normally in contact with will remain accessible and we will continue to provide the professional support and service you’re used to. At this point, there is no interruption in the processing of loan purchasing.
The situation is consistently changing. Changes in policy and processes can occur at any time.
Some have expressed concern about the bond market and possible impacts to IHFA’s lending activity. While IHFA uses a best-execution strategy for selling loans into the secondary market, which may include bonds when viable, we hedge our loan pipeline in the TBA market, providing a take-out regardless the viability of the bond market. With ample liquidity, IHFA is well prepared to purchase loans in accordance with our program requirements.
As an added note, the recent stimulus bill includes a provision for the Federal Reserve to purchase state and local municipal debt, which includes housing bonds. This action has stabilized the bond market considerably in recent days.
For more information or assistance, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 1-855-505-4700, ext 8600.
We appreciate you and your continued partnership during this time. Please stay safe and healthy during this unprecedented time.
Here is some additional information about our loan processing:
Verbal Verification of Employment
• Verbal Verification of Employment (VVOE) is required for all files. Currently, the requirements for verifications of employment have not changed. It is recommended that VVOE’s are obtained the day of closing. VVOE’s may be obtained after closing, up to loan purchase/delivery.
• Borrowers who are furloughed or suspended and are not getting paid are not eligible for loan purchase unless they can qualify without the income.
• If the VVOE cannot be obtained prior to delivery, the loan is ineligible for delivery to Fannie Mae. If the lender is unable to obtain a VVOE because the business is closed, the loan will be ineligible for purchase until it can be completed.
Some alternatives taken directly from the Fannie Mae Lender Letter (LL-2020-03)
Many lenders are reporting difficulty in obtaining the verbal verification of employment (VOE) due to disruption to operations of the borrower’s employer. We expect lenders to attempt to obtain the verbal VOE in accordance with our existing requirements guidance. However, we will allow the following flexibilities:
• Written VOE: The Selling Guide permits the lender to obtain a written VOE confirming the borrower’s current employment status within the same timeframe as the verbal VOE requirements. An email directly from the employer’s work email address that identifies the name and title of the verifier and the borrower’s name and current employment status may be used in lieu of a verbal VOE. In addition, the lender may obtain the VOE after loan closing, up to the time of loan delivery (though we strongly encourage getting the verbal VOE before the note date).
• Paystub: The lender may obtain a year-to-date paystub from the pay period that immediately precedes the note date.
• Bank statements: The lender can provide bank statements (or other alternative documentation as permitted by Selling Guide B3-4.2-01) evidencing the payroll deposit from the pay period that immediately precedes the note date.
NOTE: If employment has been validated by the Desktop Underwriter® (DU®) validation service, the validation will remain eligible for representation and warranty relief on employment provided the lender complies with the “close by” date in the DU message. Otherwise, the guidance provided above applies.
These alternatives also apply to Freddie Mac loans.
• Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have established alternative appraisal options if an interior inspection is not possible due to COVID-19. IHFA will follow these guidelines and accept the alternative appraisals.
• In an effort to manage our pricing and loan pipeline more effectively we ask that our lending partners inform us when locks need to be cancelled. Low interest rates have created a strong refinance environment. The increased volatility in our current market has caused sharp swings to mortgage rates which, if rates are increasing, will result in loans falling out.
Housing Choice Voucher clients and applicants
Face-to-face meetings suspended at IHFA branch offices
Idaho Housing and Finance Association has implemented precautionary measures to eliminate social interaction at our offices in Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Based on recommendations from health officials, we will not be conducting face-to-face meetings for the foreseeable future. Our offices have been closed to the public to help keep our community, our clients and our staff healthy and safe.
For Housing Choice Voucher clients, your annual recertification appointments will be held by telephone and supporting documentation can be mailed, emailed, or faxed to the office. Annual inspections have been suspended for the next 30 days.
For Housing Choice Voucher applicants, if you need to make a change to your application, please contact your local branch office by phone or email.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Resources for homeless services providers
Home Partnership Foundation: The Home Partnership Foundation created a COVID-19 Housing Rapid Response Fund that is accepting applications from housing nonprofits in Idaho. Apply here or donate to the fund.
Webinar: COVID-19 information for HOPWA grantees (Log in using your Collaborative Solutions username and password.)
Preventing and managing the spread of infectious disease
Homeless or at risk of becoming homeless?
Click here for the resources in each region of the state that are available to help you during a housing crisis.