USDA Acts to Help Rural Residents and Businesses Affected by COVID-19
USDA Rural Development, a mission area within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has taken several immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Effective March 19, 2020, borrowers with USDA single-family housing Direct and Guaranteed loans are subject to a moratorium on foreclosure and eviction for a period of 60 days. This action applies to the initiation of foreclosures and evictions and to the completion of foreclosures and evictions in process. Guaranteed Loan borrowers who are in default or facing imminent default due to a documented hardship can have payments reduced or suspended by their lender for a period not to exceed 12 months delinquency. USDA has waived or relaxed certain parts of the application process for Single-Family Housing Direct Loans, including site assessments, and has extended the time period that certificates of eligibility are valid. Tenant certifications due March 31, April 30 and May 31 for multifamily properties have been extended to June 30 with no late fees or overage charges. This extension will allow for additional time to complete needed certifications while avoiding face-to-face meetings as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In most cases, late fees on Section 515 mortgages will be waived as well. Additionally, for Section 515 Annual Financial Statements due March 31, USDA is extending the due date by 30 days, and is exploring whether a longer extension is appropriate. USDA encourages all owners to work with impacted residents and families to adjust rent payments, enter into forbearance agreements, and lessen the impact on affected residents. Current policy states that owners must process an interim recertification at the tenant’s request if there is a change in income of $50 or more per month. If borrowers are temporarily unable to make loan payments, the Agency may waive late fees and enter into an official workout plan. Read the full announcement to view all actions that USDA Rural Development is implementing to provide immediate relief to its customers, partners and stakeholders. For more information, contact Curtis Milton at 800-368-5242 x8597.