Servicing Guide

Published November 10, 2020

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Disaster Relief – Single-Family Servicing Frequently Asked Questions

Disaster Relief – Single-Family Servicing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Updated September 17, 2020

Fannie Mae stands with those affected by hurricanes, wildfires, and other disasters as they recover and rebuild their communities. We are focused on providing support and assistance during such times of crisis. We work with our customers, partners, and federal and local authorities to bring relief to homeowners in the immediate aftermath of such disasters, and are committed to helping families, neighborhoods, and communities recover in the months and years that follow.

We have standing policies in place to help lenders and servicers assist their customers who have been impacted by a disaster. For information and resources, see the following: 

Resource

Applies to…

Disaster Relief page on our corporate website

Consumers, Business Partners, and Investors

Disaster Response page of our Single-Family website

Lenders and Servicers

Selling Guide topics

  • B2-3-05, Properties Affected by a Disaster
  • B3-4.3-07, Disaster Relief Grants or Loans
  • B4-1.4-10, Appraisal Waivers
  • B5-4-02, Disaster-Related Limited Cash-Out Refinance Flexibilities
  • B5-7-02, High LTV Refinance Underwriting, Documentation, and Collateral Requirements for the New Loan

Lenders

Servicing Guide topics

  • B-5-01, Insured Loss Events
  • B-5-02, Uninsured Loss Events
  • C-4.1-02, Suspending Credit Bureau Reporting
  • D1-3-01, Evaluating the Impact of a Disaster Event and Assisting a Borrower
  • D2-2-05, Receiving a Borrower Response Package
  • D2-3.2-01, Forbearance Plan
  • D2-3.2-06, Disaster Payment Deferral
  • D2-3.2-07, Fannie Mae Flex Modification
  • F-1-28, Processing a Fannie Mae Flex Modification

Servicers

Property Preservation Matrix and Reference Guide– Section 8, Damaged Properties / Disaster Impacted Properties

Servicers

Lender Letter LL-2020-08, Changes to Servicer Principal and Interest Advancement Requirements

Servicers

Below are servicing-related frequently asked questions and corresponding answers regarding our disaster policies. We regularly update this document – refer to the “NEW” or “UPDATED” notations after the question. To see selling related FAQs 1-14, click here.

Q15Many borrowers evacuate their flooded and damaged properties for safety reasons. If the borrower stops making monthly payments, are servicers required to advance delinquent payments to Fannie Mae? UPDATED

The servicer must remit interest to Fannie Mae on scheduled/actual remittance type mortgage loans and must remit P&I on scheduled/scheduled remittance type mortgage loans regardless of whether it actually receives payments from the borrower. For a delinquent scheduled/actual remittance type mortgage loan, the servicer must advance scheduled interest through the third month of delinquency. For a delinquent scheduled/scheduled remittance type mortgage loan, the servicer must advance scheduled P&I until the delinquent mortgage loan is removed from our accounting records or the MBS pool or is reclassified as an actual/actual remittance type.

For additional information, see Servicing Guide C-3-01, Responsibilities Related to P&I Funds to Fannie Mae, However, see also , Lender Letter LL-2020-08 Changes to Servicer Principal and Interest Advance Requirements, for temporary policy changes limiting the servicer’s delinquency advance obligations to four months of missed payments for scheduled/scheduled remittance type mortgage loans.

Q16. Some delinquent properties we’re servicing in the impact area already have an open valuation order or had one completed prior to the storm. What should we do?

Fannie Mae will cancel valuation orders which cannot be fulfilled on properties located in the disaster area. Any valuations recently completed and returned in the affected areas will need to be reordered in the future when conditions allow. If you have questions, please reach out to your Fannie Mae valuation contact.

Q17. What initial actions does Fannie Mae require servicers to take in response to a disaster? UPDATED

When evaluating the extent and nature of the property damage:

When the servicer becomes aware that a disaster event has occurred, it must determine the extent and nature of the damage to any property securing a mortgage loan in the disaster area (regardless of whether the property is in a FEMA-Declared Disaster Area eligible for Individual Assistance) through reasonable means, including but not limited to:

  • obtaining information from the borrower, or
  • performing a property inspection when necessary.

NOTE: The servicer is authorized, but not required to, attempt to contact the borrower or perform a property inspection if the mortgage loan is current at the time of the disaster event and remains current following the disaster event.

For more information see Servicing Guide D1-3-01, Evaluating the Impact of a Disaster Event and Assisting a Borrower.

Providing assistance to a borrower:

If the borrower’s hardship is due to a disaster event the servicer is authorized to offer an initial forbearance plan term of up to 3 months without achieving QRPC if

  • the property securing the mortgage loan is located in a FEMA-Declared Disaster Area eligible for Individual Assistance,
  • the mortgage loan was current or less than two months delinquent at the time the disaster event occurred, and
  • the mortgage loan is equal to or greater than one month delinquent.

The servicer must continue attempts to achieve QRPC during this initial 3-month forbearance plan term.

For more information see Servicing Guide D2-3.2-01, Forbearance Plan

Q18. What is a forbearance plan? UPDATED

A forbearance plan is a retention workout option for borrowers with a temporary unresolved hardship that provides for a period of reduced or suspended payments. A forbearance plan may be followed by either a full reinstatement, mortgage loan payoff, or workout option to enable the borrower to resolve the delinquency. The delinquency status code for reporting a forbearance plan to Fannie Mae is 09.

For more information see Servicing Guide D2-3.2-01, Forbearance Plan and F-1-22, Reporting a Delinquent Mortgage Loan via Fannie Mae’s Servicing Solutions System.

Q19. How long can a forbearance plan last? UPDATED

The servicer is authorized to grant an initial forbearance plan that lasts up to 6 months if the eligibility criteria for a forbearance plan is met as described in the Servicing Guide. However, if the borrower’s hardship is due to a disaster event the servicer is authorized to offer an initial forbearance plan of up to 3 months without achieving QRPC if

  • the property securing the mortgage loan is located in a FEMA-Declared Disaster Area eligible for Individual Assistance,
  • the mortgage loan was current or less than two months delinquent at the time the disaster event occurred, and
  • the mortgage loan is equal to or greater than one month delinquent.

The servicer must continue attempts to achieve QRPC during this initial 3-month forbearance plan term.

For more information see Servicing Guide D2-3.2-01, Forbearance Plan.

Q20. Can the forbearance plan for a borrower impacted by a disaster be extended and if so, for how long? UPDATED

Yes, the servicer is authorized to grant an extension of the initial forbearance plan term of up to 6 additional months. The servicer must receive Fannie Mae’s prior written approval for a forbearance plan to exceed a cumulative term of 12 months as measured from the start date of the initial forbearance plan, or result in the mortgage loan becoming greater than 12 months delinquent. 

For more information see Servicing Guide D2-3.2-01, Forbearance Plan.

Q21. What actions must the servicer take at the end of the forbearance plan to help the borrower cure the delinquency? UPDATED

The servicer must begin attempts to contact the borrower no later than 30 days prior to the expiration of any forbearance plan term and must continue outreach attempts until either QRPC is achieved or the forbearance plan term has expired. Workout options available to a borrower will depend on the individual circumstances, such as whether QRPC is achieved, if the hardship is resolved, the borrower’s intention with respect to the property, and the borrower’s ability to repay.

The servicer must evaluate the borrower for a subsequent workout option, including a disaster payment deferral or a Fannie Mae Flex Modification, in accordance with the workout hierarchy in Servicing Guide D1-3-01, Evaluating the Impact of a Disaster Event and Assisting a Borrower, and offer or solicit the borrower for the eligible workout option as required.

For more information, see also Servicing Guide D2-3.2-06, Disaster Payment Deferral and D2-3.2-07, Fannie Mae Flex Modification.

Q22. If a borrower submitted financial documentation for consideration of a workout option prior to being impacted by the disaster, how old can a borrower’s income documentation be for further consideration after the disaster?

If a borrower has been impacted by a disaster, income documentation must be equal to or less than 180 days old at the time of the post-disaster evaluation for a workout option, and the evaluation must occur prior to the expiration of any forbearance period granted to the borrower affected by a disaster. For more information see Servicing Guide D2-2-05, Receiving a Borrower Response Package.

Q23. Should the servicer suspend legal proceedings or foreclosure sales if a property or borrower's employment or income status has been impacted by a disaster? UPDATED

If the servicer has any doubt about the effect of the disaster event on the condition of a property or the borrower's employment or income status, it must suspend any legal proceedings, including foreclosure proceedings, already in process until it can determine the accurate status, and make its final decision on the appropriate course of action based upon its findings. The servicer must contact its Fannie Mae Servicing Representative to obtain written approval before granting a suspension that exceeds 90 days.

The servicer must not initiate or complete foreclosure proceedings related to a property that has been destroyed until it evaluates the economic feasibility of pursuing the foreclosure.

For more information see Servicing Guide D1-3-01, Evaluating the Impact of a Disaster Event and Assisting a Borrower,

Q24. What actions should the servicer and borrower take in filing an insurance or proof of loss claim? UPDATED

When a property securing a mortgage loan experiences an insured loss, the servicer must ensure the proof of loss claim is filed within the time period specified in the insurance policy and monitor the disbursement of insurance loss proceeds. If the servicer is unable to establish contact with the borrower, the servicer must contact the insurance carrier to determine whether the borrower has filed the proof of loss claim. If the borrower has not filed the claim, the servicer must file a proof of loss claim under the standard mortgagee clause and collect the insurance loss proceeds on Fannie Mae’s behalf.

For more information see Servicing Guide B-5-01, Insured Loss Events.

Q25. How should the servicer disburse the insurance loss proceeds to the borrower to repair the property? UPDATED

The servicer must disburse the insurance loss proceeds based on the loan status at the time the disaster event occurred.

Mortgage Loans Current or Less Than 31 Days Delinquent

The servicer must follow the requirements described in the following table for a mortgage loan that was current or less than 31 days delinquent when the disaster event occurred.

If the insurance loss proceeds are…

Then the servicer…

less than or equal to $40,000

is authorized to release the insurance loss proceeds in one payment.

greater than $40,000

  • is authorized to release an initial disbursement of insurance loss proceeds up to the greater of
  • $40,000;
  • 33% of the insurance loss proceeds; or
  • the amount by which the release funds exceed the sum of the UPB, accrued interest, and advances on the mortgage loan; and
  • must disburse any remaining funds based on periodic inspections of the progress of the repair work.

NOTE: If the borrower has made advance payments to the contractor, then the servicer is authorized to reimburse the borrower by releasing insurance loss proceeds payable to only to the borrower as evidenced by paid receipts. Receipts are not necessary if the insurance loss proceeds are less than or equal to $40,000.

Mortgage Loans 31 Days or More Delinquent

The servicer must evaluate the borrower for a workout option in accordance with Servicing GuideD2-3.1-01, Determining the Appropriate Workout Option and disburse the insurance loss proceeds as outlined in the following table.

If the insurance loss proceeds are…

Then the servicer…

less than or equal to $5,000

is authorized to release the insurance loss proceeds in one payment.

greater than $40,000

  • must release an initial disbursement of insurance loss proceeds of 25% of the total insurance loss proceeds but no more than $10,000, and
  • must disburse the remaining funds in increments not to exceed 25% of the insurance loss proceeds following inspection of the repairs.

The servicer is required to conduct a final inspection to ensure all repairs are completed if the mortgage loan is 31 days or more delinquent at the time of the disaster.

For more information see Servicing Guide B-5-01, Insured Loss Events.

Q26. Are there any actions that the servicer must take for uninsured losses that are not required for insured losses?  UPDATED
When a natural disaster or other event results in an uninsured loss to the property, the servicer must take the steps listed in the following table:

Step

Servicer Action

1

Determine the damage.

2

If the property is abandoned, secure it in accordance with the requirements for a property in foreclosure in E-3.2-12, Performing Property Preservation During Foreclosure Proceedings and the Property Preservation Matrix and Reference Guide.

3

Develop plans to repair the property.

4

Assist the borrower in filing for any disaster relief that may be available in accordance with D1-3-01, Evaluating the Impact of a Disaster Event and Assisting a Borrower.

5

If the damage is extensive, offer the borrower any reasonable forbearance plan, payment deferral, or mortgage loan modification agreement the borrower requests in accordance with Section D2–3.2, Home Retention Workout Options.

For more information see Servicing Guide B-5-02, Uninsured Loss Events.

Q27. Is the servicer required to report uninsured losses to Fannie Mae? UPDATED

No. The servicer is not required to send its Fannie Mae Servicing Representative a complete report of the damage for uninsured loss events. However, the servicer must maintain appropriate documentation on the loss within the loan file.

Q28. If a borrower’s home is destroyed by a disaster, should the borrower continue to make monthly mortgage payments if possible?

Yes, if the borrower is able to continue making his or her contractual monthly payments, he or she should continue to do so.

Q29. What actions should a servicer take if loans impacted by a disaster are part of a pending servicing transfer? UPDATED

We will rely solely on the transferor and transferee servicers to determine whether or not a loan should remain in a pending post-delivery servicing transfer and will not deny the transfer if loans secured by a property located within a FEMA-Declared Disaster Area eligible for Individual Assistance are included. The transferor and transferee servicers should jointly evaluate a pending post-delivery servicing transfer and consider removing loans secured by such properties if it believes that a borrower may be negatively impacted by the transfer. In the event a Request for Approval of Servicing or Subservicing Transfer (Form 629) has already been submitted to us and the servicer determines loans should be removed from the transfer request, it should submit an updated Form 629 as soon as possible.

Q30. When does a servicer need to submit a Report of Property Insurance Loss (Form 176) to Fannie Mae? UPDATED

Servicers are only required to submit Form 176 to us when they have learned that:

  • the borrower wants to repair or restore the property and the mortgage loan is for a property that has been abandoned and/or has a scheduled foreclosure sale date; or
  • the borrower does not want to repair or restore the property.

For more information see Servicing Guide B-5-01, Insured Loss Events.

Q31. When should a servicer inspect a property? What are the servicer’s property inspection responsibilities when the servicer learns the property is damaged by a disaster?

If at the time of the disaster the mortgage loan is…

Then the servicer must…

Current

Follow applicable Servicing Guide requirements, depending on whether the damage is an insured or uninsured loss and/or whether emergency repairs are needed.

Delinquent and the property is occupied

Continue at least monthly property inspections until the damage is remediated or the property is identified as vacant.

After the damage is remediated follow applicable Servicing Guide requirements, or after the property is identified as vacant, follow the vacant property guidelines within this table.

The servicer must conclude the property is vacant if the borrower has advised as such. The servicer may also use a vacancy notice posting where law allows. The servicer must immediately secure the property once it concludes the property is vacant.

Delinquent and the occupancy status is unknown

Continue at least monthly property inspections until the damage is remediated or the property is identified as vacant or occupied. After the damage is remediated, follow applicable Servicing Guide requirements. Once the property is identified as vacant, the servicer must follow the vacant property guidelines within this table.

The servicer must conclude the property is vacant if the borrower has advised as such. The servicer may also use a vacancy notice posting where law allows. The servicer must immediately secure the property once it concludes the property is vacant.

Delinquent and the property is vacant

Immediately commence work necessary to inspect and preserve the property

For more information see Property Preservation Matrix and Reference Guide, Section 8.

Q32. What repairs should a servicer undertake on impacted properties securing Fannie Mae loans? UPDATED

Current Loans: Fannie Mae does not require servicers to do repairs to properties securing current loans. Servicers must ensure borrowers make necessary repairs to their properties

Delinquent and Vacant Loans (delinquent prior to and vacant as of the last inspection prior to the hurricane): Fannie Mae is not requiring servicers to do repairs to delinquent and occupied loans at this time. Fannie Mae is asking servicers to allow borrowers to make the repairs to their properties quickly.

Delinquent and Vacant Loans (delinquent prior to and vacant as of the last inspection prior to the hurricane): Immediately commence work necessary to preserve property in accordance with the requirements outlined in the Property Preservation Matrix and Reference Guide.

Q33. Are servicers allowed to protect and preserve Fannie Mae collateral and submit the bids after work completion?

Servicers are encouraged to address urgent conditions immediately and use the Bid After the Fact (BATF) process, per the Property Preservation Matrix and Reference Guide, to preserve Fannie Mae collateral where delays may result in deterioration of the collateral. We will give deference to servicer decisions on such repairs and will approve BATF requests as long as the repairs and associated costs keep with the intended spirit of our disaster assistance policies and are not materially unreasonable or unnecessary.

Specific to discoloration, servicers should utilize the $2/square foot parameter to get the work completed and then submit a BATF.

See Property Preservation Matrix and Reference Guide Sections 8 and 12 for more information.

Q34What should servicers do for a delinquent loan if the property is now a demolition candidate due to the nature of the repairs?

Servicers should assess the condition and secure the property to avoid safety hazards, ensure a hazard insurance claim is filed and submit bids to demolish the property. Refer to the demolition section of the Property Preservation Matrix and Reference Guide for further direction as well as Section 8 for more information.

Q35. Can servicers use Fannie Mae’s relationships with vendors and suppliers to procure discounts on labor and materials?

Home Depot is offering contractors with a Home Depot account a special discount on their products in the impacted areas. Email property_preservation@fanniemae.com for further information.

We also utilize vendors for inspection, preservation, and repair services. If servicers need contact information for these vendors, please email property_preservation@fanniemae.com for further information.

Q36. Will Fannie Mae reimburse for inspections related to a disaster event? UPDATED

Fannie Mae will reimburse the servicer for inspections on current and delinquent mortgage loans when required to determine the extent and nature of any property damage related to a disaster event in accordance with D1-3-01, Evaluating the Impact of a Disaster Event and Assisting a Borrower .

For more information see Servicing Guide, F-1-05, Expense Reimbursement.

Q37. How should servicers determine occupancy knowing that the borrower may not currently be living in the home but intends to return?

Servicers should attempt to confirm the borrower’s intent to return through call campaigns to contact the borrower, weekly inspections, and vacancy postings. If the home continues to appear vacant, it should be secured and repair work commenced. This was originally introduced in Lender Letter LL-2017-07.

Q38. When a servicer is offering a borrower a forbearance can they also advise the borrower of the workout options available to them to help bring the loan current after the forbearance period? UPDATED

Yes, the servicer must advise the borrower of Fannie Mae’s workout options.

Q39. Do the normal eligibility exclusions for a modification apply to a borrower impacted by a disaster, for example, the loan must have been originated at least 12 months prior to the evaluation? UPDATED

Under certain circumstances, a borrower with a disaster-related hardship may be eligible for a Fannie Mae Flex Modification based on reduced eligibility criteria. The following Fannie Mae Flex Modification eligibility exclusions do NOT apply when evaluating the borrower under the reduced eligibility criteria:

  • the loan must have been originated at least 12 months prior to the evaluation date for the modification,
  • the loan must not have been modified three or more times previously,
  • the borrower must not have failed a Trial Period Plan within 12 months’ of being evaluated for eligibility for a Fannie Mae Flex Modification, and
  • the mortgage loan must not have received a modification and become 60 days or more delinquent within the first 12 months of the effective date of the mortgage loan modification without being reinstated.

For more information see Servicing Guide D2-3.2-07, Fannie Mae Flex Modification.

Q40. If a loan has completed a Fannie Mae HAMP Modification and is placed on a forbearance plan related to a disaster event, how should the servicer report the loan to Treasury to avoid the borrower losing “good standing?

Per the Servicing Guide D2-4-03, Reporting Certain Workout Options to Treasury, the servicer must follow Treasury’s reporting requirements available on HMPAdmin.com.

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