Skip to main content
SF.FreddieMac.com

Servicing: Disaster Relief Policies FAQ

Disaster Forbearance

Toggle all accordion sections
  1. What are the eligibility requirements for disaster forebearance?

    To be eligible for disaster forbearance relief offered under Freddie Mac Single-Family Seller/Servicer Guide (Guide) Chapter 8404 or Guide Bulletins offering additional relief, the borrower's hardship must have been caused by an eligible disaster.

    The Servicer is authorized to apply a three-month disaster forbearance for a borrower who becomes 31 or more days delinquent after being impacted by an eligible disaster, even if the Servicer is unable to establish borrower contact. In these instances, the Servicer may apply forbearance for up to 90 days while they continue to attempt to contact the borrower to determine how best to manage the delinquency going forward.

    If the Servicer can establish Quality Right Party Contact (QRPC), we provide the flexibility to allow individual forbearance plans of up to six months each, for up to a total of 12 months of disaster forbearance based on the assessment of the borrower’s needs. (NOTE: The forbearance plan must not extend the total delinquency beyond 12 months, so if the borrower is already delinquent, the maximum forbearance period may be shorter).

    Servicers are required to establish QRPC to approve forbearance for a borrower who was 31 or more days delinquent at the time of impact due to an eligible disaster.

  2. What is the definition of an eligible disaster?

    An eligible disaster is defined as:

    A disaster, either man-made or natural which results in an area being designated as an Eligible Disaster Area and meets the following qualifications:

    • A financial hardship (e.g., a loss/reduction of income or increase in expenses) that impacts the borrower's ability to pay his or her current contractual monthly payment
    • One of the following: 
      • The property securing the mortgage loan experienced an insured loss. 
      • The property securing the mortgage loan is located in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-Declared Disaster Area eligible for individual assistance. 
      • The borrower's place of employment is located in a FEMA-Declared Disaster Area eligible for individual assistance.
  3. Can I offer disaster forbearance to impacted borrowers who are current on their mortgage payments?

    Yes. If a Servicer has established Quality Right Party Contact (QRPC), disaster forbearance may be offered to an impacted borrower who is current. However, the forbearance plan does not begin until the borrower becomes more than 30 days delinquent and is reported by the Servicer to Freddie Mac via Electronic Default Reporting (EDR).

    Without QRPC, a 90-day disaster forbearance may be offered once the impacted borrower becomes more than 30 days delinquent.

  4. Is a written forbearance agreement required, and does Freddie Mac provide a form or template?

    In situations where the borrower is unable to receive documentation, the Servicer may waive the requirement that the forbearance plan be in writing. In these circumstances, the Servicer may enter the borrower into a forbearance plan through a verbal agreement.

    If the borrower can receive documentation, the Servicer should enter into a written forbearance agreement with the borrower, in accordance with the requirements in Section 9203.13. In these instances, the agreement must be signed by the Servicer, but we do not require the document to be signed by the borrower. Freddie Mac provides model language that Servicers may, but are not required, to use in drafting the written forbearance agreement in Guide Exhibit 93. Any written forbearance agreement must comply with applicable law, including agreements based on the model language provided by Freddie Mac.

  5. Is an impacted borrower eligible for disaster forbearance if they are already 18 months past due at the time of disaster?

    A forbearance plan cannot cause the delinquency to exceed 12 months without Freddie Mac approval. If the forbearance plan would cause the delinquency to exceed 12 months and the Servicer still believes it is the best option for the borrower, then the Servicer must submit its recommendation to Freddie Mac for review and approval.

  6. If a borrower can resume making mortgage payments prior to the scheduled end of the forbearance, can we end forbearance early and work on a permanent solution?

    Yes. Servicers should work with each borrower who chooses to end the forbearance early to transition them to the most appropriate option to cure the delinquency (e.g., reinstatement, repayment plan with or without partial reinstatement, loan modification, etc.), on a case-by-case basis.

  7. If a borrower was previously on a COVID-19 forbearance, are they eligible for a disaster forbearance if they are impacted by a natural disaster?

    A previous delinquency or hardship does not preclude a borrower from being eligible for disaster forbearance. A borrower is eligible for disaster forbearance if they have a hardship caused by an eligible disaster, if the length of the disaster forbearance does not cause the total delinquency to exceed 12 months.

  8. If a borrower is impacted by a natural disaster but is already more than 12 months delinquent, will Freddie Mac consider a policy exception for disaster forbearance? How can I request this?

    If the borrower is not eligible for disaster forbearance based on Freddie Mac's guidelines, the Servicer may submit an exception request for Freddie Mac's review and approval.

  9. If a borrower who is impacted by a natural disaster (e.g., a hurricane or wildfire) and is still on a COVID-19 forbearance, will they be eligible for disaster forbearance at the completion of their COVID-19 forbearance?

    The Servicer is delegated to approve a disaster forbearance for a borrower if they have a hardship caused by an eligible disaster and the cumulative length of all forbearance(s) does not cause the mortgage to exceed 12 months of total delinquency.

    To submit a request for a forbearance extension, the Servicer should use the Extensions navigation option in the Resolve® user interface (UI). After submission, forbearance extension requests will be available in the Resolve dashboard.

  10. If a borrower previously had a COVID-19 payment deferral, will they be eligible for the disaster payment deferral at the completion of their disaster forbearance?

    Having previously had a COVID-19 payment deferral does not make a borrower ineligible for a disaster payment deferral. A borrower may be evaluated for a disaster payment deferral if their hardship was caused by an eligible disaster, their hardship has been resolved and the mortgage was current or less than 60 days delinquent as of the date of the eligible disaster.

Electronic Default Reporting

  1. What is Freddie Mac's expectation for Servicers for credit bureau reporting for borrowers impacted by natural disasters?

    Servicers must report borrowers who are on a disaster-related forbearance plan, repayment plan or Trial Period Plan to the credit bureaus in accordance with applicable law, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Property Inspections

Toggle all accordion sections
  1. Am I required to do a property inspection of each property securing a Freddie Mac loan if it is in an eligible disaster area?

    A property inspection is not required in all cases, but it is required when you're unable to determine the status of the property through borrower contact. You must determine the number of mortgages secured by properties that are impacted by the disaster and the extent of damages. Preferably this may be completed through discussions with the borrower, or by completing a property inspection of each mortgaged premises located in an eligible disaster area in accordance with the requirements in Guide Section 9202.12.

  2. Are there additional requirements for property inspections in eligible disaster areas?

    If the status of the property can't be determined based on Quality Right Party Contact (QRPC), we require, at minimum, an exterior property inspection to assess whether the property has been impacted by the disaster. You may only complete an interior property inspection if you have identified that the property is abandoned or if the interior inspection is required under our insurance loss settlement requirements. These requirements are for all Freddie Mac owned or guaranteed mortgages in eligible disaster areas, regardless of delinquency status.

  3. Will disaster property inspections apply only to eligible disaster areas, or will they be expanded outside of those areas if a properly sustained damage related to a disaster?

    All our disaster-related requirements, including those pertaining to property inspections, apply to impacted mortgages secured by properties in eligible disaster areas.

Flex/Disaster Modifications

Toggle all accordion sections
  1. What should I do if a borrower on a disaster forbearance plan sends in a complete Borrower Response Package (BRP)?

    You must comply with applicable law and the Guide when you receive an incomplete or complete BRP. If it’s complete, then you must evaluate the borrower per our loss mitigation evaluation hierarchy. If you achieve Quality Right Party Contact (QRPC) and the borrower is eligible, then you may offer the borrower a disaster payment deferral. Learn more from the Payment Deferral Solutions webpage.

  2. What should I do if a borrower's loan was originated less than 12 months prior to my evaluation of the borrower for a loss mitigation option?

    A borrower who experiences a hardship caused by an eligible disaster affecting a mortgage originated less than 12 months prior to the evaluation date for a disaster payment deferral (or any other loss mitigation option) may be eligible regardless of the mortgage origination date, provided the borrower meets all eligibility requirements for the option being considered.

  3. Are we required to obtain documentation if the borrower was more than 31 days delinquent at the time of the disaster?

    We don't require you to obtain documentation from an impacted delinquent borrower to offer disaster forbearance. However, unless Quality Right Party Contact (QRPC) is established and alternative payment arrangements are made, or the borrower is performing under another foreclosure alternative at the time of the disaster, you are still required to send the Borrower Solicitation Package and otherwise comply with applicable law governing loss mitigation.

  4. Are borrowers in a 90-day forbearance plan eligible for a streamlined offer for a Freddie Mac Flex Modification®?

    Yes, if the Servicer was unable to achieve Quality Right Party Contact (QRPC) prior to the end of the forbearance plan, the forbearance plan has ended, and the borrower is at least 90 days delinquent days at the time of evaluation and meets other program eligibility criteria, then the borrower is eligible for a streamlined offer for a Flex Modification.

  5. Can a borrower who is in an active Trial Period prior to a disaster elect to continue with the Trial Period even if there is property damage or income reduction or must they be placed on a disaster forbearance plan?

    The borrower may choose to continue performing on the Trial Period instead of disaster forbearance or they may accept forbearance and, if eligible, transition to a new Trial Period at the end of the forbearance period. However, if Quality Right Party Contact (QRPC) isn’t established, then you should assume that an impacted borrower who misses a Trial Period payment has elected to commence with the 90-day disaster forbearance plan.

General Questions

Toggle all accordion sections
  1. Does Freddie Mac offer options for borrowers whose homes are in public assistance areas, as declared by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)?

    Freddie Mac disaster policies apply to those borrowers whose mortgaged premises or place of employment is located within an area comprised of counties or municipalities that have been declared by the President of the United States to be a major disaster area, where FEMA has made federal aid available in the form of individual assistance.

    However, for borrowers whose homes are in public assistance areas (as opposed to individual assistance areas), our standard suite of loss mitigation options is available. As with any borrower facing an eligible hardship, these borrowers may apply for mortgage assistance and, if eligible, obtain forbearance plans, repayment plans, and Flex Modifications® in accordance with Freddie Mac’s non-disaster eligibility requirements and the Guide’s evaluation hierarchy.

  2. What are your requirements for validating that a borrower's income is affected by their place of employment being in a disaster area?

    A borrower whose place of employment, but not their mortgaged premises, is in an Eligible Disaster Area, is not required to provide documentation to prove their hardship to be eligible for 90-day disaster forbearance or our other disaster-related loss mitigation options. However, if you are going to offer more than 90 days forbearance, Freddie Mac does require you to establish Quality Right Party Contact (QRPC) with these borrowers and obtain verbal confirmation that the borrower’s place of employment is in an Eligible Disaster Area and was impacted by the disaster. You must document this verbal confirmation in the mortgage file. Verbal confirmation is not required when making a streamlined offer of a Flex Modification.

  3. How much time do I have to complete all call attempts to impacted borrowers?

    There is no additional mandated timeframe for making borrower contact outside of existing Guide requirements applicable for all Freddie Mac borrowers. However, if no Quality Right Party Contact (QRPC) is established, then Servicers may only offer delinquent impacted borrowers up to 90 days of disaster forbearance. Any additional assistance after 90 days requires QRPC.

  4. When should I resume assessing late fees?

    The Servicer is prohibited from assessing late fees on impacted borrowers while they’re performing in accordance with a disaster forbearance plan or repayment plan. While the Servicer is permitted to assess late charges during a Trial Period, the Servicer must waive all late charges accrued upon the borrower’s conversion to a permanent loan modification.