If you are a homeowner who has lost income directly or indirectly related to the coronavirus pandemic, you might be eligible for a forbearance. A forbearance is a program where the mortgage company delays, or forbears collecting monthly mortgage payments. Under federal law, if you have an FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage, you are covered. You can contact your mortgage servicer to request a mortgage payment forbearance. If you do not have one of these mortgages, you can ask your servicer if it has a coronavirus program to help homeowners who cannot pay the mortgage due to the pandemic.
If you are a renter who has lost income directly or indirectly related to the coronavirus pandemic, you might have protections under federal law. If you receive a federal subsidy to help you pay rent, if you live in a tax credit or rural development property, or if your landlord’s mortgage is backed by the federal government, you may have protection against being evicted for not paying rent. However, you should pay rent if you can. Rent is not being forgiven due to the pandemic.
If you cannot pay your rent, call your local United Way (call 211) or your local Human Affairs Commission to see if there is housing or utility assistance in your area. Additionally, here is a list of agencies that may be able to help with your rent payment. Finally, if you are behind on your rent payment, the COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program offers emergency rental assistance to South Carolinians facing financial hardships as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
Determining whether the property you are renting is covered by federal law may be difficult. This is especially true for figuring out if your landlord’s mortgage is backed by the federal government. If you are uncertain, South Carolina Legal Services may be able to help. We provide free legal help to low-income individuals. To see if you qualify for our services, call 1-888-346-5592 or apply online at https://www.lawhelp.org/sc/online-intake.