Citizens of Ontario are having hours cut at work or laid-off entirely. It is natural for people to have difficulty making payments for their mortgages.
Fortunately, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has begun a program to help alleviate the financial burdens for many Canadians: the mortgage payment deferral program.
What Is the Mortgage Payment Deferral Program?
Homeowners and renters alike may benefit from the deferral payment program, as renters may receive breaks from landlords who apply for the program.This is an ongoing program, and Ontario residents may apply at any time, as deferrals may be extended for a period of up to 6 months.
The deferral program is an arrangement between you and your mortgage lender. The agreement is to pause or suspend your mortgage payments for a period of time, and is also known as a forbearance program. This is intended to be a temporary measure – at the end of the agreement, your payments return to normal, and missed payments, including both interest and principal, must be repaid.
The Canadian government is also purchasing insured mortgage debt to take some of the pressure off housing finance companies and lenders.
Who Is Eligible For the Program?
Anyone who is facing financial difficulty paying their home loans due to COVID-19 is eligible for the program – those who are able to pay their mortgage should still make regular payments. However, if at any point you think you won’t be able to make your next mortgage payment, it’s important to contact your lender right away to discuss your mortgage relief options.
The CMHC is allowing lenders with insured mortgages to offer payment deferrals for a period of time ranging from 90 days to 12 months. If your mortgage isn’t CMHC insured, you may still have deferral options from your lender. All housing finance companies have different options available for those experiencing difficulty meeting their mortgage obligations.
Are Mortgage Payments Cancelled?
Your mortgage payments aren’t erased – borrowers still are obligated to fulfill the terms of their loan. Often, a lender can simply adjust the amortization on the loan, allowing interest to accumulate while pausing the payments.
It’s important to note that interest will still be applied to the loan amount, even though the payment is paused. This may affect the total amount you owe, as more interest will be added to the amount.
How Can I Repay Deferred Payments?
The exact payment schedule and amount will vary by each lender and specific individual situation; be mindful that you may be asked to provide ongoing verification of your financial hardship. In addition, interest will continue to accumulate on the loan amount, which you’ll continue to be responsible for.
When the agreement ends, your payment amount may change, based on the total amount you owe. Alternatively, the bank may extend the loan schedule, leaving the payments the same, but allocating a longer period of time before the mortgage need to be paid off.
It’s crucial to note that mortgage payment deferrals are only a deferral of the loan payment itself. Other things, like homeowners insurance, property taxes, and life or disability insurance won’t be affected.
Everyone is facing uncertainty in these times. However, it’s important to remain proactive and communicate with your mortgage lender regarding payment issues if you’re facing a loss of income due to COVID-19.