FAQ

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The following FAQs are provided for informational purposes only. Eligibility for Virginia Mortgage Relief Program (VMRP) assistance can only be determined upon a review of a completed VMRP application and all required supporting documentation. In the event of a conflict, the VMRP Plan and Virginia Housing’s VMRP policies and procedures will control. These FAQs are subject to being deleted, supplemented or otherwise amended at any time.

Q. Why is the VMRP pilot limited to homeowners whose mortgages are serviced by Virginia Housing?

A. In its HAF Guidance, Treasury encouraged HAF program grantees, such as Virginia Housing, to create or fund pilot programs to serve targeted populations, and to focus on program options that were most likely to deliver most quickly to targeted populations, such as mortgage reinstatement programs. Treasury also encouraged HAF grantees to prioritize assistance to eligible homeowners who have Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Veteran’s Administration (VA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) mortgages, and mortgages made with the proceeds of mortgage revenue bonds or other mortgage programs that target low- and moderate-income borrowers. Virginia Housing’s mortgage loan portfolio closely matches the categories of loans prioritized by the Treasury. The Pilot Program is expected to utilize the initial 10% of HAF Funds already received by Virginia Housing, less administrative fees. Once the at-large VMRP program is approved by Treasury and the remaining HAF Funds are received, all eligible Virginia homeowners (including Virginia Housing servicing customers) can apply to the at-large program. Virginia Housing submitted its Plan for the at-large program to Treasury in mid-August 2021. We are hoping to receive Treasury approval of the Plan in early Fall 2021.

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

A. The VMRP provides for three program options:

  1. Reinstatement of past due mortgage payments and other eligible housing expenses,

  2. Reinstatement of past due mortgage payments and other eligible housing expenses plus future monthly assistance, and

  3. Payment assistance to homeowners who have paid off their mortgage debt (or never had a mortgage) but still need assistance with past due eligible housing expenses.

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 therefore the VMRP will not cover any payments due prior to January 21, 2020.

Q. How long will the program continue?

A. The VMRP will continue until the earlier of: (i) September 30, 2026 or (ii) when all of the funds allotted to the Commonwealth of Virginia have been exhausted.

 

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. We are hoping to receive Treasury approval of the Plan in early Fall 2021.

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?

A: The maximum amount of assistance for the VMRP will be capped at the lesser of 20 months or assistance or $30,000.00 towards eligible expenses per household.

 

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 after January 21, 2020 and be the result of COVID-19 pandemic-related financial hardship.

 

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 and, if applicable, monthly payments?

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 prevent homeowner mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures and displacements of homeowners experiencing financial hardship after January 21, 2020, through qualified expenses related to mortgages and housing. This program is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number HAF0003 awarded to the State of Virginia by the US 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) occurring on or after January 21, 2020;

(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) Assistance sought must be for a delinquent eligible housing expense that became due on or after January 21, 2020;

(vii) 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;

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

(ix) Assistance is limited to a maximum of the lesser of: (a) 20 months of eligible housing expenses, or (b) $30,000 per household;

(x) 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; and

(xi) For the VMRP Pilot program, homeowners must have a mortgage loan serviced by Virginia Housing.
 

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 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 and, in some cases, lot rental fees on unaffixed mobile homes. However, applications for lot rent only are not eligible under VMRP but may be under the Virginia Rent Relief Program (RRP).  Information on RRP (formerly known as RMRP) is available here: dhcd.virginia.gov/rmrp.

Q. How do I apply for the VMRP pilot program?

A. The VMRP Pilot Program will only be available to homeowners whose mortgage is serviced by Virginia Housing. VMRP assistance will be available to these borrowers by direct invitation. Borrowers in the Virginia Housing mortgage loan portfolio will be contacted directly by email, phone, or other means and provided program details, along with the link to the online application and phone number for the VMRP Call Center.

Additional information about VMRP Pilot can be found at VirginiaMortgageRelief.com.


Q. How does the application process work?

A. Virginia Servicing homeowners seeking assistance through the VMRP Pilot will submit electronic applications via VirginiaMortgageRelief.com. The link to begin the pre-screening and application process on the VMRP website will be published once the VMRP Pilot has concluded.

The pre-screening and application system is a self-service portal that allows 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.

Q. What if I don't have internet access?

A. Homeowners who are unable to access the online applicant portal or who require assistance in completing the online application may obtain support through the VMRP Call Center. You can contact the VMRP Customer Center Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 8 PM at 833-OUR-VMRP (833-687-8677).

 

Additionally, in-person assistance is available by appointment at the VMRP Assistance Center which will be opened to support the full VMRP. The VMRP Assistance Center will be located at 11717 Jefferson Avenue, Suite B, Newport News, VA 23606.

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 do I obtain the past due balance on my mortgage loan?

A. Since you are a Virginia Housing borrower you can log on to VirginiaHousing.com/Servicing to obtain up-to-date mortgage account information. If you are unable to access your account online, you can reach out to one of our Customer Care Representatives at 833-OUR-VMRP (833-687-8677). If your mortgage loan is not serviced by Virginia Housing, contact your servicer.

Q. My mortgage is not serviced by Virginia Housing-How do I apply?

A. Once the full VMRP is launched VirginiaMortgageRelief.com will be updated to allow homeowners across Virginia seeking assistance through the VMRP to submit electronic applications via VirginiaMortgageRelief.com. The link to begin the pre-screening and application process on the VMRP website will be published once the full VMRP is open.


Q. What if I am denied for participation in VRMP and do not agree?

A. Applicants who receive an adverse decision related to eligibility may appeal. An appeal may be filed directly by the applicant through his or her individual applicant portal or with the assistance of the VMRP Call Center or VMRP Assistance Center staff members.

 

Appeal filings will require a description of the issue sought for appeal as well as the reason the applicant believes the adverse decision should be reversed. The appeal filing must also include supporting documentation for the claim.

 

Q. How many times can I apply?

A. There is not a cap on how many times you can apply for the VMRP, rather there is a maximum Per Household assistance amount which is capped at the lesser of 20 months of PITI payments or $30,000 per household.

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

A. The VMRP program will cover past due payments that resulted from a qualified hardship due to COVID-19 therefore the VMRP will not cover any payments due prior to January 21, 2020.

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: 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.


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.