New mortgage relief partnership to aid homeowners during COVID-19 pandemic
Building on his Administration's commitment to keeping the people of Boston stably housed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that 12 of the largest housing lenders in Boston will offer at least three months of deferred mortgage payments for homeowners who contact them and demonstrate they have been financially impacted by the public health crisis. In addition, the lenders have committed not to charge late fees, or report non-payments to the credit bureaus. Homeowners will not be required to pay back the deferred mortgage payments in a lump sum, but will instead work with lenders on an affordable repayment plan.
"No person should have to worry about losing their home right now. During these times of global uncertainty, homeowners and renters in Boston can be certain that we are doing everything we can to help ease the burden brought on by this pandemic and give them much-needed flexibility," said Mayor Walsh. "I want to thank our lender partners who have stepped up to the plate to meet the needs of our residents during this time, and I encourage others to follow suit. Now more than ever, we have to work together to make sure that we can keep people in their homes."
The participating lenders will provide at least three months in a loan deferment for homeowners, with the option to extend for longer periods, if needed. They have also agreed to the goal of approving deferments within 21 days of application and with only essential paperwork needed from the homeowner. The lenders will not report this deferment as a bad loan, nor report it to the credit bureaus as being a late loan. They will not charge late fees on the late loan payments or deferments. Once the deferment period is complete, the homeowner is not required to pay the total deferment/forbearance amount in a lump sum.
The 12 lenders that will offer this relief to homeowners include: Bank of America, Boston Private, Cambridge Trust Company, Century Bank, Citizens Bank, City of Boston Credit Union, Dedham Savings Bank, Eastern Bank, Mortgage Network, Inc., Prime Lending, Salem Five Bank, and Santander Bank.
"Bank of America is pleased to work with the City of Boston on a goal we share: to help the clients we serve get the assistance and support they need to get through this crisis," said Miceal Chamberlain, Massachusetts President, Bank of America.
"Boston Private is pleased to expand our partnership with Mayor Walsh and the Department of Neighborhood Development to help our home mortgage borrowers who have been dramatically affected by COVID-19," said Anthony DeChellis, CEO of Boston Private. "These are extraordinary times and we are proud to work together with the City on this coordinated response to ensure homeowners are able to stay in their homes."
Many lenders are offering deferral periods longer than those required in the plan, and homeowners should contact their servicer directly for more information. However, the Boston Home Center is available to answer any questions and can be reached at 617-635-4663, ext. 3.
"The Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance is committed to helping homeowners impacted by COVID-19, and our job would be much more difficult if lenders and servicers did not cooperate," said Symone Crawford, the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance's Director of Homeownership Education. "We applaud these 12 lenders for stepping up and signing onto the City of Boston's plan to assist homeowners through this unprecedented time and thank Mayor Walsh and Sheila Dillon for working diligently to protect Boston homeowners."
The financial relief being offered by these 12 lenders is the latest in a series of actions aimed at supporting Boston's renters and homeowners during this difficult time.
Earlier this week, Mayor Walsh announced that the City extended the due date for property tax bills from May 1 to June 1, which will assist Boston's 94,000 homeowners during this difficult time. Boston is also waiving interest on late property tax and motor vehicle excise tax payments that were originally due after March 10. Residents will have a grace period, with no late fees, until June 30. The Mayor also extended the due date for residential and personal tax exemptions from April 1 to June 1.
Last week, Mayor Walsh announced that his Administration is dedicating $3 million in city funds to assist Bostonians who are at risk of losing their rental housing. The funds will help income-eligible tenants in the City of Boston achieve housing stability by providing direct financial relief to assist with rental payments. To date, the Fund has received more than 3,000 statements of interest. All eligible submissions will be entered into a lottery that will take place on Monday, April 13th.
Other COVID-19 resources currently available from the City of Boston are listed at boston.gov/coronavirus and include free meals for Boston students; free toiletries for Boston students; emergency childcare centers; support for older residents; information on homeless shelters; transportation options for healthcare workers; resources for those in recovery or those who have a substance use disorder; and mental health resources.
For additional questions or programs, please visit boston.gov/coronavirus or call 3-1-1, Boston's 24-hour constituent hotline. Text BOSCOVID to 99411 to receive text alerts on the latest Boston specific COVID-19 related information, available in six languages.