If your home was damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy and you live in a county that the president has declared a major disaster area, you may be able to skip your mortgage payments while you seek help repairing or replacing your home if your mortgage is guaranteed by Freddie Mac, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or Fannie Mae.

Freddie Mac disaster programs

Freddie Mac disaster-relief policies encourage its mortgage servicers to offer one or more of these options to borrowers on a case-by-case basis:

  • Reduce or suspend mortgage payments for up to 12 months for borrowers whose homes have been damaged or destroyed by the tornadoes
  • Suspend foreclosure and eviction proceedings for up to 12 months
  • Waive assessments of penalties or late fees against borrowers with disaster-damaged homes
  • Not report forbearance or delinquencies caused by the disaster to the nation’s credit bureaus

For more information on mortgage payment relief, call your mortgage servicer—the company to which you send your monthly mortgage payment—or call Freddie Mac at 800-FREDDIE.

HUD disaster programs

HUD, meanwhile, places a 90-day moratorium on FHA foreclosures of storm-damaged homes in areas declared disasters, which for Sandy includes counties in Connecticut, Delaware,  Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.

HUD’s programs for disaster victims include:

  • Home owners can use 203(k) loans to fund repairs of their storm-damaged house, or to buy another house that needs repairs, if they don’t wish to rebuild their current home.

Contact your mortgage servicer for more information about the moratorium or FHA loans.

Fannie Mae disaster program

Fannie Mae, meanwhile, has relief rules that go into effect automatically when there’s a natural disaster, says Spokesperson Amy Bonitatibus.

“Fannie Mae allows servicers to grant relief to home owners affected by a disaster or catastrophe including tornadoes. Under our requirements, servicers can forbear payments and suspend credit bureau reporting of late payments.”

Contact your mortgage servicer for details.

Sources: Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and FHA