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Is there help for homeowners? What if I can’t pay my mortgage?

Last Updated: 08/12/2021

Through November 15th, 2021, while foreclosure cases may proceed, you cannot be removed from your home as a result of those proceedings.

Foreclosure Mediation

The New Jersey Judiciary is offering foreclosure mediation to those homeowners who are behind in their mortgage and are at risk of foreclosure. Foreclosure mediation is a process in which a mediator assists the lender and homeowner to identify possible options to address the missed payments. Housing Counselors are available through the mediation process to work with the homeowner to explain the process and the documents needed to identify solutions. Mediation and the housing counselor assistance are available at NO COST to the homeowner. Interested homeowners can contact the Superior Court Clerk's Office at (609) 421-6100 or visit Office of Foreclosure for more information.

In addition, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency offers homeowners free counseling through its Foreclosure Mediation Assistance Program (FMAP). Counseling is free, available now, and can be provided remotely. Counselors will provide assistance to help homeowners avoid potential foreclosure. For a list of housing counselors participating in FMAP, visit www.njhousing.gov/consumers/foreclosure/counselor/ or seek help by calling 1-800-NJ-HOUSE.

Mortgage Relief

On March 28, 2020, Governor Murphy announced financial institutions will provide mortgage forbearance and financial protections for New Jerseyans facing economic hardship as a result of COVID-19.

The initiative has secured support from Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, PNC Bank, and over 150 other federal and state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers.

New Jerseyans who are struggling financially as a result of COVID-19 may be eligible for the following relief upon contacting their financial institution:

90-Day Grace Period for Mortgage Payments: Financial institutions will offer, consistent with applicable guidelines, mortgage payment forbearances of up to 90 days to borrowers economically impacted by COVID-19. In addition, those institutions will:

  • Provide borrowers a streamlined process to request a forbearance for COVID-19-related reasons, supported with available documentation;
  • Confirm approval of and terms of forbearance program; and
  • Provide borrowers the opportunity to request additional relief, as practicable, upon continued showing of hardship due to COVID-19.

The Department of Banking and Insurance has requested banks add forbearance payments to the end of the life of the loan, rather than requiring a consumer to make a lump sum payment after the 90-day grace period ends.

However, consumers should contact the institution that services their home loan to understand the specific programs and terms available to them.

No Negative Credit Impacts Resulting from Relief: Financial institutions will not report derogatory tradelines (e.g., late payments) to credit reporting agencies, consistent with applicable guidelines, for borrowers taking advantage of COVID-19-related relief.

Relief from Fees and Charges: For at least 90 days, financial institutions will waive or refund at least the following for customers who have requested assistance:

  • Mortgage-related late fees; and
  • Other fees, including early CD withdrawals (subject to applicable federal regulations).

For more information on COVID19-related mortgage relief and answers to frequently asked questions, please visit: https://www.state.nj.us/dobi/covid/mortgagerelief.html

Homeowners should contact lenders directly to take advantage of this relief.

If your bank or mortgage service is not cooperative, you can file a complaint online with the Department of Banking and Insurance or by calling (609) 292-7272 or 1-800-446-7467.

Source: Executive Order No. 106; https://www.state.nj.us/dobi/covid/mortgagerelief.html; https://www.state.nj.us/dobi/consumer.htm