FHA extends foreclosure moratorium on Hawaiian island of Maui

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) on Friday published Mortgagee Letter 2024-08, which extends a foreclosure moratorium on the Hawaiian island of Maui through Aug. 4, 2024, for FHA-insured forward mortgages and Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs).

The moratorium, initially scheduled to expire on May 6 after a previous extension, has been pushed out 90 days in recognition of the continued recovery efforts taking place after wildfires on the island in the summer of 2023.

Those fires devastated the town of Lahaina, destroying much of it and killing a confirmed 101 people as of February 2024, a figure revised slightly downward since the days following the fires. Two people remain listed as missing, and two-thirds of the victims were at or over the age of 60, according to reporting by The Associated Press.

“This extension recognizes the unprecedented disaster in Maui resulting from the August 2023 wildfires,” FHA said in an announcement of the extension. “Therefore, FHA has extended its moratorium to give borrowers with FHA-insured mortgages on properties located in Maui County more time to access federal, state, and/or local housing resources, and to consult with HUD-certified housing counselors, without the added burden of potential foreclosure actions.”

The new Mortgagee Letter also “extends the deadlines for first legal action and reasonable diligence time frames to 90 days from the new August 4, 2024, moratorium date for foreclosures initiated on FHA-insured single family forward mortgages on properties in Maui County,” FHA explained.

As was previously the case, the relief applies to both single-family forward mortgage borrowers as well as reverse borrowers through the HECM program under specific criteria.

“[M]ortgagees must extend the moratorium on foreclosures of FHA-insured [HECMs] secured by properties located in Maui County,” the guidance states. “The foreclosure moratorium is applicable only if the HECM is due and payable for reasons other than the death of the last remaining borrower and is not subject to a deferral period; and to the initiation of foreclosures, and foreclosures already in process.”

In the immediate aftermath of the fires, FHA reminded lenders and servicers of both forward and reverse mortgages that relief options are available for borrowers impacted by recent natural disasters.

At that time, FHA also reminded lenders that they should contact borrowers impacted by these disasters as soon as possible while encouraging them to use “any permissible means” to contact borrowers and provide forbearance relief.

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