Falling behind on your mortgage payments? There’s help.

Many homeowners suffered a loss of income during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re falling behind on your mortgage payments or are in danger of foreclosure as a result, you may qualify for state aid and additional help.

Recent protections also require mortgage servicers to communicate honestly with homeowners, explain various options to avoid foreclosure, and be transparent about critical deadlines. If you’re at risk of missing a mortgage payment or foreclosure, contact your mortgage servicer, preferably in writing, to discuss loan modifications, mortgage relief funds and other protections, including the upcoming federal Homeowner Assistance Fund. To learn more about California’s plan, visit the California Housing Finance Agency website.

You should also contact your mortgage servicer immediately to explore your options to avoid losing your home. Or you can reach out to a HUD-certified housing counselor who can make recommendations based on your specific situation.

If you’re a landlord whose tenants have been unable to pay all or part of their rent or a tenant who has fallen behind on rent, there’s help for you too. Click here to learn more about COVID-19 rent relief for tenants or here to learn more about foreclosure protections for landlords.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I’m making payments on my mortgage but recently lost my job and am nervous about falling behind. What are my rights?

It’s important to know that you’re not alone. Homeowners in this state have additional protections thanks to the California Homeowner Bill of Rights (HBOR).

If you have missed one or more mortgage payments (or think you will in the future), it’s essential to know your rights. Mortgage servicers are required by law to inform you of the resources available to help keep you in your home. Servicers must:

  • Contact you, in person or by phone, at least 30 days before starting the foreclosure process to discuss your financial situation and explore options to avoid foreclosure;
  • Prominently post foreclosure avoidance resources on their website; and
  • Offer a single point of contact (can be a team or individual) to help guide you through application requirements and deadlines. Learn More.

Q: I’m having a hard time making my mortgage payments. What do I do first?

Although it may feel overwhelming to reach out directly to your mortgage servicer and explain your situation, it’s the best place to start.

You can find information about your mortgage servicer on your mortgage payment notice and call or write them directly. Talking to your servicer as soon as possible will help you avoid defaulting on your loan and get you back on track with a plan that works for you.

What’s more: recent state and federal homeowner protections mean that mortgage servicers are ready to help you avoid foreclosure. Your servicer may screen you to see if you qualify for aid or walk you through options that include loan forbearance or loan modification. Learn More.

Q. What are the alternatives to foreclosure and how do I know which one is right for me?

There are several alternatives to foreclosure, including a loan modification or forbearance request. Modifications allow homeowners to restructure the terms of their current loan so, in some cases, they can make smaller payments over a longer period of time. A forbearance request places a pause on your mortgage payments. Both require an agreement from your servicer.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, homeowners and landlords have additional protections when applying for a forbearance or mortgage loan modification. Servicers must explain why a forbearance request was denied and give homeowners a chance to fix any errors and resubmit the request. Learn More.

Q. Is there somebody I can talk to for free that can help me avoid foreclosure?

You should always talk to your servicer first to try to work out an alternative to foreclosure. However, a Housing and Urban Development or HUD-certified counselor may also help you weigh your options to see what’s right for you.

HUD-certified counselors are funded by the government and offer their services free of charge. Your mortgage servicer is required by law to give you contact information for HUD-certified counselors.

The Department of Real Estate has a handy FAQ in English and Spanish, which tells you what information you’ll need to have ready when talking with your servicer. And our partners at the California Housing Finance Agency have put together a resource page so Californians can get in touch with housing counselors in their city who speak their language. Check out this guide to learn more and find help throughout the state.

Q: I received a default notice. Will my house be foreclosed? What can I do?

If you received a default notice, you could possibly lose your home if you do not act fast. Contact your servicer right away. You may be able to pause foreclosure by submitting a loss mitigation application to your servicer or pursue loan modification options. If you pursue loan modification options, your servicer cannot continue foreclosing on your home while you are going through the loan modification process and is required to provide you with a single point of contact or team to help you understand critical deadlines and walk you through the process.

There are also several key steps your mortgage servicer is required to take before sending you a foreclosure notice. According to the Homeowner Bill of Rights, servicers are required to contact you, in person or by phone, at least 30 days before starting the foreclosure process to discuss your financial situation and explore options to avoid foreclosure. Learn More.

If you believe your mortgage servicer did not comply with the Homeowner Bill of Rights, you should consider the following options:

Mortgage Relief and Foreclosure Resources

Foreclosure

Loan Modification

Fraud Warnings