As California’s wildfires continue to spread, more homeowners face the destruction of their homes. Just this Sunday, the Mendocino Complex fires (formerly the River and Ranch fires), consumed 8,000 acres. Prior to that, they had burned over 336,000 acres. Today they’re 70% contained, and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection estimates the fires will not be completely contained until September.
Much of this particular blaze is burning within the Mendocino National Forest. Mendocino Complex Public Information Officer Cary Wright says in this location, “Homes and lives aren’t at stake.”
California currently has 10 wildfires burning, threatening homes and have already burned hundreds of structures.
Federal Emergency Mortgage Response
In response to the ongoing disasters, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced late last week they would offer homeowners affected by the fires a mortgage moratorium for up to 12 months. Fannie Mae posted a news release stating “Homeowners impacted by the California wildfires are eligible to stop making mortgage payments for up to 12 months, during which time they will not incur late fees…[and] will not have delinquencies reported to the credit bureaus.”
Fannie and Freddie also authorized servicers to suspend or reduce mortgage payments immediately for up to 90 days. This may occur “without any contact with the homeowner if the servicer believes the homeowner has been affected by a disaster.” Servicers must also “suspend foreclosure and other legal proceedings if the servicer believes the homeowner has been impacted by a disaster.”
Borrowers are eligible if they live in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-declared disaster areas. Fannie and Freddie urge lenders to offer forbearance to homeowners who live outside the disaster areas but work inside them.