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FAQ

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PROGRAM UPDATE: As we begin to approach full and final disbursement of allocated U.S. Treasury funds, the Virginia Mortgage Relief Program (VMRP) stopped accepting new applications effective May 3, 2024, 11:59 p.m. and will be closing the program. 

 

Applications started prior to May 3, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, with applicants at risk of foreclosure taking priority.

Due to funding limitations, please note that application submission and conditional eligibility approval do not guarantee assistance. Once all VMRP-allocated funds are fully disbursed, the remaining applications will be ineligible for assistance.

Q: Why did the program reopen for a limited time on March 4, 2024?

A: In recognition of the ongoing demand for this funding, Virginia Housing obtained U.S. Treasury approval to allocate administrative funds to further its mission of helping Virginians remain in their homes.

Q: What is meant by “applicants at risk of foreclosure taking priority in the process”?

A: This means applicants who are going through the foreclosure process and/or have a confirmed sale date from an attorney or public auction letter will be prioritized for the remaining VMRP funds.

Q: If I started my application before May 3, 2024, 11:59 p.m., and have not yet completed the application, how long do I have to complete my application?

A: Applicants have ten (10) days to complete their VMRP application once it is started. Per program policy, incomplete applications will be withdrawn after 10 days and will not be considered for funding. We recommend you complete your application today as funding is extremely limited. 

Q: When is the latest the VMRP will accept paper applications now that the program application closed on May 3, 2024, 11:59 p.m.?

A: Paper applications must be postmarked on or before May 3, 2024, at 11:50 p.m. to be considered for assistance. Virginia homeowners who prefer to submit a paper application are encouraged to mail their application as soon as possible, as funding is limited. Eligible applications will be processed in the order they are received based on remaining available funds, with applicants at risk of foreclosure taking priority.

Q: What type of mortgage and housing assistance is available through the VMRP?

A: The VMRP provides reinstatement of past due mortgage payments and other housing expenses (e.g., delinquent property tax, delinquent HOA fees) for eligible homeowners.

Q: What are the applicable VMRP income limits?

A: Consistent with Treasury guidance, the VMRP is prioritizing: (1) homeowners with household incomes at or below 100% of the applicable area median income (AMI), or national median income, whichever is greater, and (2) socially disadvantaged individuals, as defined by Treasury, with household incomes equal to or less than 150% of the AMI or 100% of the national median income, whichever is greater.

 

Income limits specific to the HAF program have been published by HUD and can be found at www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/haf-il.html.

 

VMRP will offer a pre-screening tool, available at the application link when published, to assist with this income eligibility determination.

Q: What is the definition of a socially disadvantaged individual (SDI) for purposes of HAF income qualifications?

A: Treasury defines SDI as:

“Socially disadvantaged individuals are those whose ability to purchase or own a home has been impaired due to diminished access to credit on reasonable terms as compared to others in comparable economic circumstances, based on disparities in homeownership rates in the HAF participant’s jurisdiction as documented by the U.S. Census. The impairment must stem from circumstances beyond their control. Indicators of impairment under this definition may include being a (1) member of a group that has been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias within American society, (2) resident of a majority-minor Census tract; (3) individual 3 with limited English proficiency; (4) resident of a U.S. territory, Indian reservation, or Hawaiian Home Loan, or (5) individual who lives in a persistent-poverty county, meaning any county that has had 20% or more of its population living in poverty over the past 30 years as measured by the three most recent decennial censuses. In addition, an individual may be determined to be a socially disadvantaged individual in accordance with a process developed by a HAF participant for determining whether a homeowner is socially disadvantaged individual in accordance with applicable law, which may reasonably rely on self-attestations.”

 

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/HAF-Guidance.pdf

Q: Are an applicant’s current net assets considered in addition to the income qualification for HAF?

A: No. Per Treasury guidance, with respect to qualifying each household applying for assistance, Virginia Housing may use adjusted gross income as defined for purposes of reporting on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 1040 series for individual federal annual income tax purposes. There is not an additional net assets test applied.

 

Q: Is there a maximum mortgage amount or home value eligible for the VMRP Program?

A: For individuals with a mortgage, the principal balance of the homeowner’s first mortgage must have been, at the time of origination, not greater than the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac conforming loan limit (CLL) in effect at the time of loan origination. For the third VMRP option, if the property is not subject to a mortgage, the assessed value of the dwelling and land (as determined by the local taxing authority) may not exceed the current conforming loan limit.

Q: Do I need to be delinquent on payments to be eligible?

A: Yes, applicant must be delinquent on housing expenses to be eligible for VMRP. The VMRP will cover past due payments that resulted from a qualified hardship due to COVID-19 after January 21, 2020 (this may include a financial hardship that began before January 21, 2020, and continued after that date due to COVID-19).

Q: How long will the program continue?

A: The VMRP will continue until all of the funds allotted to the Commonwealth of Virginia have been exhausted. As we begin to approach full disbursement of allocated U.S. Treasury funds, the VMRP stopped accepting new applications on May 3, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. and will be closing the program when all funds have been disbursed.

 

Q: What is the timing on the start of the VMRP Programs?

A: The VMRP Pilot Program commenced in late July 2021. Virginia Housing submitted its Plan for the at-large program to Treasury in mid-August 2021, received approval in December, and the program launched on Jan. 3, 2022.

Q: What if my delinquency amount is greater than the VMRP cap amount?

A: If your delinquency amount is greater than the VMRP cap, - that does not mean you are not eligible.  However, if the Maximum Per Household VMRP Assistance is not sufficient to fully reinstate, eligible homeowners must demonstrate sufficient other funds to fully reinstate or document an approved loss mitigation plan with their loan servicer regarding such shortfall, satisfactory to Virginia Housing. If the applicant is unable to reinstate the shortfall or come to a loss mitigation agreement with his or her loan servicer regarding such a shortfall, the applicant is ineligible for VMRP Assistance.

 

Q: What if my earnings are from non-traditional income that I can’t provide proof of?

A: Households with no other means of documenting income may be allowed to proceed with an income self-attestation. This will be considered on a case-by-case basis through a VMRP waiver.  Additionally, homeowner or household members can certify to no earnings (I.E. No social security income, no unemployment income, no business earnings, etc.) if applicable.

 

Q: What is the maximum amount of assistance available?

AVMRP assistance is capped at $50,000 per household for eligible expenses however, applicants may not receive the full $50,000 depending on their eligibility and the availability of program funds. For returning applicants, all assistance received from the VMRP to date counts towards the overall $50,000 program cap.

 

VMRP funds are limited and available on a first come, first served basis.  Once the allocated VMRP funding has been fully disbursed, the remaining applications will be ineligible for assistance.

Q: Will I be required to pay back the funds used to assist me?

A: No. VMRP assistance will be structured as a non-recourse grant. However, VMRP funds are recoverable in the event of fraud or overpayment and all applicants must certify in the application that they are not also participating in any other federal, state or local mortgage assistance program that is duplicative of VMRP.

 

Q: How will payments be issued?

A: VMRP Assistance will be disbursed directly the mortgage lender, servicer, contract for deed holder, county treasurer, local taxing authority, hazard insurance company, homeowner’s/condo association, or other payee. VMRP will disburse the quoted amount to the payee. Payments will not be made directly to homeowners.

 

Q: My mortgage debt has been fully paid but I still need assistance with expenses. What expenses would qualify under VMRP?

A: The VMRP will pay delinquent real estate property taxes, personal property taxes for unaffixed mobile homes, homeowners association fees, condominium association fees and special assessments, cooperative fees, or common charges, including for a lien extinguishment, and homeowners’ hazard, flood, and/or mortgage insurance. This includes reasonably required legal fees of payee associated with eligible expenses. Any delinquency on these obligations must have occurred due to COVID-19 after January 21, 2020 (this may include a financial hardship that began before January 21, 2020, and continued after that date due to COVID-19).

 

Q: Can I participate in VMRP if I have been in, or am currently in, bankruptcy?

A: Homeowner(s) who have previously filed for bankruptcy but who are no longer in bankruptcy must provide proof of a court ordered “discharge” or “dismissal”. Active Chapter 13 bankruptcies must provide proof of court approval to participate in the program.

 

Q: What type of legal ownership structures may participate in VMRP?

A: Applicant must be a “natural person” (i.e., LLP, LP or LLC do not qualify) A homeowner that has transferred their ownership right into non-incorporated, Living Trusts, may be eligible provided the homeowner occupies the home as the primary/principal residence. Heirs, equitable owners, and successors-in-interest, as that term is defined in Section 1024.31 of Title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations, may be eligible.

Q: Is US citizenship required?

A: No. However, applicant must provide an unexpired state-issued driver’s license or government issued identification card, passport, or identification permitted by FHA, VA, USDA, or GSEs for mortgage origination.

 

Q: What types of mortgages are eligible for reinstatement?

A: Mortgage means any credit transaction that is secured by a mortgage, deed of trust, or other consensual security interest on a primary residence of a borrower for an Eligible Property Type.

 

This includes federally backed, conventional, private, and reverse mortgages. It also includes a loan secured by a manufactured home, or a contract for deed (also known as a land contract).

 

The principal balance of the homeowner’s first mortgage must have been, at the time of origination, not greater than the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac conforming loan limit (CLL) in effect at the time of origination. Accordingly, “jumbo” mortgages are not eligible.
 

Q: What other resources are available to assist me in addition to VMRP?

A: See the links to housing counselors and legal information located on VirginiaMortgageRelief.com and StayHomeVirginia.com.

Q: What is the Virginia Mortgage Relief program?

A: The Virginia Mortgage Relief program (VMRP) is being established to distribute Virginia's share of the Federal Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF). HAF was established under section 3206 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to mitigate financial hardships associated with the coronavirus pandemic by providing funds to eligible entities to address mortgage and other homeownership-related delinquencies to avoid default, foreclosure, or displacement of homeowners experiencing delinquency due to a financial hardship due to COVID-19 after January 21, 2020 (this may include a financial hardship that began before January 21, 2020 and continued after that date due to COVID-19), through qualified expenses related to mortgages and housing. This program is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number HAF-0092 awarded to the State of Virginia by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Q: Who is eligible for this program?
A
: The basic VMRP eligibility requirements (all as further discussed in these FAQs) are as follows:

 

(i) Homeowners must be an eligible applicant type (generally a “natural person”, as opposed to a partnership or LLC, although certain trusts may also be eligible);

(ii) Homeowners must have experienced a qualified financial hardship (meaning a material reduction in income or material increase in living expenses associated with the coronavirus pandemic that has created or increased a risk of mortgage delinquency, mortgage default or foreclosure) due to COVID-19;

(iii) Home must be an eligible property type and be located in Virginia;

(iv) Home must be owned and occupied as homeowners’ primary residence;

(v) Applicant household must meet certain maximum income restrictions;

(vi) Either (a) if mortgage payment assistance is sought, the original principal balance of the mortgage must have been less than applicable conforming loan limits at the time of loan origination; or (b) if no mortgage assistance is sought, the current assessed value of the land and dwelling must be less than the current conforming loan limit;

(vii) If mortgage payment assistance is sought, the mortgage must be an eligible mortgage type;

(viii) Assistance is limited to a maximum of $50,000 per household;

(ix) The VMRP assistance may not duplicate any other federal, state or local housing assistance received by homeowner for the same expenses paid for by VMRP.
 

Q: What supporting documents are required?
A
: Documents may include, but are not limited to pay stubs, W-2s or other wage statements, IRS Form 1099s, tax filings, depository institution statements demonstrating regular income or an attestation from an employer.

Q: What was the recertification process and how did it work?
A
The VMRP required eligible homeowners recertify their income, household size, and COVID-19 financial hardship every 30 days to continue to receive forward mortgage payment assistance until they reached the $50,000 assistance cap or no longer experienced a financial hardship. The VMRP stopped providing forward mortgage payment assistance after October 2023 due to limited funding.

Q: What types of properties does VMRP cover?
A:
Eligible dwelling types include single-family single unit attached or detached homes, condominium units, cooperatives, mobile, or manufactured homes (attached and unattached to land). The property must be located in Virginia. Applicant must own and occupy the property as their primary residence (no second homes) and the property must be habitable (not condemned or having suffered material damage). Note that 2-4 unit properties and mixed-use properties are not eligible for VMRP.

Q: What are qualified expenses?
A:
Qualified expenses for VMRP may include:

  • Mortgage payment assistance on first and subordinate mortgages, including down payment assistance loans provided by nonprofit or government entities.

  • Financial assistance to allow a homeowner to reinstate a mortgage or to pay other housing-related costs related to a period of forbearance, delinquency or default.

  • Homeowner’s insurance, flood insurance and mortgage insurance.

  • Homeowner’s association fees or liens, condominium association fees, special assessments or common charges

  • Payment assistance for delinquent property taxes to prevent homeowner tax foreclosures.

  • Personal property taxes on mobile homes and, in some cases, lot rental fees on unaffixed mobile homes. However, applications for lot rent only are not eligible under VMRP.


Q: How did the application process work?

A: Homeowners seeking assistance through the Virginia Mortgage Relief Program submitted electronic applications via VirginiaMortgageRelief.com. The pre-screening and application system was a self-service portal that allowed homeowners to register for the program, complete screening and application information, and submit supporting documentation. Applicant status updates are also available through the self-service portal. In addition, applicants can contact the VMRP Call Center from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday at 833-687-8677 for assistance.

Q: Is the VMRP assistance taxable as income? I currently have a mortgage credit certificate (MCC). How will VMRP assistance affect my ability to claim the interest credit?

A: Virginia Housing makes no representation as to the federal or state income tax consequences of receipt of VMRP assistance. Virginia Housing may be required to issue an IRS Form 1098-MA or similar in connection with the program. Recipients should seek professional advice regarding all tax consequences of receiving VMRP assistance.

 

Q: How many times could I have applied?

A: There was no cap on how many times an applicant could apply for the VMRP, rather there was a maximum per household assistance amount which is capped at $50,000 per household. Applicants may not have received the full $50,000 depending on their continuing eligibility and the availability of program funds.

Q: How long does it take to receive payment after I submit my application?

A: Please see the VMRP Application Timeline flyer for a breakdown of program steps and estimated timelines. 

Q: Does it matter how far behind I am on my mortgage to receive assistance?

A: VMRP may cover a delinquency that started prior to January 21, 2020, if the applicant attests that though the delinquency started prior to January 21, 2020 it could not be cured due to a COVID-19 related hardship that started January 21, 2020 or after. VMRP will not cover any amount over the program cap of $50,000.

Q: If I have received a partial claim or deferment on my loan previously, can I still apply for this assistance if I am delinquent?

A: If you have previously received a Partial Claim, Deferment, or some other form of Loss Mitigation assistance you may still qualify so long as your delinquency is due to another qualified hardship as a result of COVID-19. Please contact the VMRP Call Center so that we may speak with you in greater detail in order to make that determination.


Q: What if my delinquency amount is greater than the VMRP cap amount?
A: If your delinquency amount is greater than either of the Program assistance cap of $50,000 past due, you may still be eligible for the Program.  However, you must bring the account balances below the cap or document that you are participating in an approved loss mitigation plan with your loan servicer regarding such overage. Also, if the Maximum Per Household Assistance amount ($50,000) is not enough to fully bring your account balance current (reinstate), you will need demonstrate you have enough funds to fully make up the difference or provide proof you have entered an approved loss mitigation plan with your loan servicer regarding the difference, satisfactory to the program. If you are unable to cover the shortfall or come to a loss mitigation agreement with your loan servicer regarding the shortfall, you will be ineligible for VMRP Assistance.


Q: How can I report fraud, waste, and abuse?
A: VMRP constituents, employees and contractors may report suspected fraud, waste, or abuse in one of three ways:

 

 

  • Calling the VMRP fraud, waste, and abuse hotline at 1-800-228-4167. This number should only be used to report fraud. If you have a general program question or require assistance, please call 833-687-8677.


Fraud is the intentional deception or misrepresentation made by a person with the knowledge that the deception could result in an unauthorized benefit to himself/herself or some other person.

If you know or suspect fraud occurred related to the Virginia Mortgage Relief Program, please report it by using one of the reporting methods above. Please review the below descriptions of Fraud, Waste, and Abuse:


Fraud is the intentional (willful or purposeful) deception or misrepresentation made by a person with the knowledge that the deception could result in some unauthorized benefit to him/herself or some other person. There are many forms of fraud and one common fraud found in the COVID-19 pandemic relief programs is the certification of false information.

Waste includes over‐utilizing Virginia Housing’s services, supplies, or equipment, or causing unnecessary costs through carelessness or inefficiency.

Abuse includes activities that result in unnecessary costs to Virginia Housing. Note that this is financial abuse, not physical or emotional abuse of a person. Physical and emotional abuse of a person should be reported to the police.


Q: I was contacted by someone claiming to be from VMRP; how do I know if it’s legitimate?
A: There is no cost to apply for the Virginia Mortgage Relief Program. No member of the VMRP team will charge you for application support or to apply.

 

Please beware of potential scams. We know that mortgage scams target homebuyers and homeowners, especially people who are currently in the process of buying a home, refinancing, or looking for help making mortgage payments. Foreclosure rescue scams have become prevalent during the pandemic and put homeowners seeking help at risk. It’s important to understand these types of scams and how to avoid them.

VMRP information will always be posted on this website and clearly communicated via official VMRP and Virginia Housing channels using an email address ending with @VirginiaMortgageRelief.com or @VirginiaHousing.com. All legitimate program calls will come from our VMRP Call Center phone number: 833-687-8677. Legitimate texts will come from our VMRP mobile number: 804-315-3399.

To ensure any VMRP communications you received are legitimate and trustworthy, you can contact the VMRP Call Center at 833-687-8677, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., to confirm.

If you believe you were approached by non-VMRP representatives offering VMRP-related financial assistance or requesting your personal information for the Virginia Mortgage Relief Program, please submit a Fraud, Waste and Abuse Allegation Reporting Form or call 1-800-228-4167.

For more information about mortgage scams and how to report fraud, visit the Federal Trade Commission or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.


Q: I have a complaint about VMRP. How do I file it?
A: A complaint can be filed by any interested party that takes issue with the programmatic, operational or administration activities of the program. Typically, complaints originate from an individual who is experiencing a difficulty with program services, including eligibility, intake process, or award calculation. You can file a program complaint in one of three ways:

Provide your issue or concern via email.

Submit information via the Online Complaint Form.

Call the VMRP Call Center at 833-687-8677.


Q: If I am currently in forbearance or have gone through forbearance, am I eligible for the Virginia Mortgage Relief Program?
A: To be considered eligible for the Virginia Mortgage Relief Program, you must be delinquent on your mortgage or other eligible housing-related expenses. If your mortgage statement currently has a zero balance or only a current balance due, you are not eligible for the VMRP. If in the future, you become delinquent on your mortgage or other eligible housing-related expenses due to a pandemic-related hardship then you may become eligible for VMRP assistance.


Q: I don’t agree with my eligibility determination, can I appeal the decision?
A:
You may submit an appeal online, by phone, at a VMRP center, email, or mail. If you have any questions regarding the appeal process and/or require additional assistance, please contact the VMRP Call Center at 833-OUR-VMRP (833-687-8677).

  • Online: Please click the link here to access the online VMRP Appeal Form.

 

  • Over the Phone: If you are unable to file an appeal online, you may contact us at VMRP Call Center at 833-OUR-VMRP (833-687-8677) (Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. E.S.T.) to speak with a Program representative who will assist in filing the appeal on your behalf.

 

 

  • By Mail: If you are unable to file an appeal through other means, we will accept a mailed Appeal Form and supporting documents. Please click here to access a downloadable version of the appeal form for you to print, complete, and mail to:
     

IEM – VMRP Appeals Department

2550 S. Clark Street, Suite 670

Arlington, VA  22202

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