Automatic moratoria approved for 90 days

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the implementation of its federal disaster relief programs for Puerto Rico, which include flexible terms releases and administrative foreclosure relief in municipalities included in a statement from the administration of President Joseph Biden about a major natural disaster. .

The HUD announcement establishes an automatic 90-day foreclosure moratorium on Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured mortgages that began on the date the president declared a major natural disaster, and for the Sec. 184 mortgage loan guarantee. Since the same date, they have also provided automatic 90-day home equity conversion mortgage extensions (better known as “reverse” mortgages). The same applies to the Secc program. HUD’s 203(h), which provides FHA coverage for victims of major disasters, and a Section 203(k) mortgage insurance program for rehabilitation.

“The Association of Banks of Puerto Rico (ABPR) emphasizes the importance of using HUD-approved housing advisory agencies, which are designed to be available free of charge to help people affected by natural disasters to determine what they need help with. and the resources available to them,” said Zoime Alvarez Rubio, ABPR Executive Vice President.

Alvarez Rubio noted that in addition to HUD, FEMA, FDIC, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac specifically talked about the Hurricane Fiona emergency: mortgage broker (also known as a lending institution to which you make monthly mortgage payments),” he added.

Lusmari Vélez, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Puerto Rico, and Alvarez Rubio expressed support for their clients, emphasizing that they should contact their banking institutions for assistance in case they are affected by Fiona.

“The help depends on the mortgage product, type of loan and investors, because its rules are not the same for all cases,” Veles emphasized.

Meanwhile, Alvarez explained that “commercial banks have organized their credit mitigation offices and provide assistance in accordance with applicable disaster and loss mitigation guidelines, constantly aligning them with messages received from investors or the appropriate federal agency.”

During emergencies, commercial banks and financial institutions have always extended immediate relief measures to their customers, including the elimination of late fees on auto loans, consumer loans and credit cards, according to the ABPR vice president.

“ABPR is informing its local regulator, the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions (OCIF), the executive and legislature of its relief efforts. The industry is working with investor disaster guides that were activated with the announcement of US President Joseph Biden,” he said.

The executive also clarified that many properties in Fiona-affected municipalities are not mortgaged or funded by the federal entity because they are located in areas prone to flooding or landslides. This means that it is a property that either pays off or has no financial obligations.

“However, the emergency may have affected other financial obligations such as personal loans, car loans or credit cards; and the call is for them to contact their bank for guidance and assistance regarding these financial products,” Alvarez said.

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At the local level, Senator Keren Riquelme has proposed a 90-day moratorium on mortgage and auto loan payments for people affected by Hurricane Fiona.

Similarly, the non-profit organization Ayuda Legal Puerto Rico (ALPR) also called for families to be protected from evictions, foreclosures and cuts to essential services.

“Protecting housing once a state of emergency has been declared is vital to community recovery. Establishing a 90-day moratorium on evictions, foreclosures and power and water cuts is a balanced, fair and necessary measure for the recovery process,” said Ariadne Gaudreau Aubert, Executive Director of ALPR.

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