12 U.S.C. § 1715z-23 - HOPE for Homeowners Program

Cite as:12 U.S.C. § 1715z-23
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-135 (03/26/2020)

(a) Establishment

There is established in the Federal Housing Administration a HOPE for Homeowners Program.

(b) Purpose

The purpose of the HOPE for Homeowners Program is-

(1) to create an FHA program, participation in which is voluntary on the part of homeowners and existing loan holders to insure refinanced loans for distressed borrowers to support long-term, sustainable homeownership;

(2) to allow homeowners to avoid foreclosure by reducing the principle 1 balance outstanding, and interest rate charged, on their mortgages;

(3) to help stabilize and provide confidence in mortgage markets by bringing transparency to the value of assets based on mortgage assets;

(4) to target mortgage assistance under this section to homeowners for their principal residence;

(5) to enhance the administrative capacity of the FHA to carry out its expanded role under the HOPE for Homeowners Program;

(6) to ensure the HOPE for Homeowners Program remains in effect only for as long as is necessary to provide stability to the housing market; and

(7) to provide servicers of delinquent mortgages with additional methods and approaches to avoid foreclosure.

(c) Establishment and implementation of program requirements

(1) Duties of Secretary

In order to carry out the purposes of the HOPE for Homeowners Program, the Secretary, after consultation with the Board, shall-

(A) establish requirements and standards for the program consistent with section 1709(b) of this title to the maximum extent possible; and

(B) prescribe such regulations and provide such guidance as may be necessary or appropriate to implement such requirements and standards.

(2) Duties of the Secretary

In carrying out any of the program requirements or standards established under paragraph (1), the Secretary may issue such interim guidance and mortgagee letters as the Secretary determines necessary or appropriate.

(3) Duties of Board

The Board shall advise the Secretary regarding the establishment and implementation of the HOPE for Homeowners Program.

(d) Insurance of mortgages

The Secretary is authorized upon application of a mortgagee to make commitments to insure or to insure any eligible mortgage that has been refinanced in a manner meeting the requirements under subsection (e).

(e) Requirements of insured mortgages

To be eligible for insurance under this section, a refinanced eligible mortgage shall comply with all of the following requirements:

(1) Borrower certification

(A) No intentional default or false information

The mortgagor shall provide a certification to the Secretary that the mortgagor has not intentionally defaulted on the existing mortgage or mortgages or any other substantial debt within the last 5 years and has not knowingly, or willfully and with actual knowledge, furnished material information known to be false for the purpose of obtaining the eligible mortgage to be insured and has not been convicted under Federal or State law for fraud during the 10-year period ending upon the insurance of the mortgage under this section.

(B) Liability for repayment

The mortgagor shall agree in writing that the mortgagor shall be liable to repay to the Secretary any direct financial benefit achieved from the reduction of indebtedness on the existing mortgage or mortgages on the residence refinanced under this section derived from misrepresentations made by the mortgagor in the certifications and documentation required under this paragraph, subject to the discretion of the Secretary.

(C) Current borrower debt-to-income ratio

As of the date of application for a commitment to insure or insurance under this section, the mortgagor shall have had, or thereafter is likely to have, due to the terms of the mortgage being reset, a ratio of mortgage debt to income, taking into consideration all existing mortgages of that mortgagor at such time, greater than 31 percent (or such higher amount as the Secretary determines appropriate).

(2) Determination of principal obligation amount

The principal obligation amount of the refinanced eligible mortgage to be insured shall-

(A) be determined by the reasonable ability of the mortgagor to make his or her mortgage payments, as such ability is determined by the Secretary pursuant to section 1709(b)(4) of this title or by any other underwriting standards established by the Secretary; and

(B) not exceed 90 percent of the appraised value of the property to which such mortgage relates (or such higher percentage as the Secretary determines, in the discretion of the Secretary).

(3) Required waiver of prepayment penalties and fees

All penalties for prepayment or refinancing of the eligible mortgage, and all fees and penalties related to default or delinquency on the eligible mortgage, shall be waived or forgiven.

(4) Extinguishment of subordinate liens

(A) Required agreement

All holders of outstanding mortgage liens on the property to which the eligible mortgage relates shall agree to accept the proceeds of the insured loan and any payments made under this paragraph, as payment in full of all indebtedness under the eligible mortgage, and all encumbrances related to such eligible mortgage shall be removed. The Secretary may take such actions as may be necessary and appropriate to facilitate coordination and agreement between the holders of the existing senior mortgage and any existing subordinate mortgages, taking into consideration the subordinate lien status of such subordinate mortgages. Such actions may include making payments, which shall be accepted as payment in full of all indebtedness under the eligible mortgage, to any holder of an existing subordinate mortgage, in lieu of any future appreciation payments authorized under subparagraph (B).

(B) Shared appreciation

(i) In general

The Secretary may establish standards and policies that will allow for the payment to the holder of any existing subordinate mortgage of a portion of any future appreciation in the property secured by such eligible mortgage that is owed to the Secretary pursuant to subsection (k).

(ii) Factors

In establishing the standards and policies required under clause (i), the Secretary shall take into consideration-

(I) the status of any subordinate mortgage;

(II) the outstanding principal balance of and accrued interest on the existing senior mortgage and any outstanding subordinate mortgages;

(III) the extent to which the current appraised value of the property securing a subordinate mortgage is less than the outstanding principal balance and accrued interest on any other liens that are senior to such subordinate mortgage; and

(IV) such other factors as the Secretary determines to be appropriate.

(C) Voluntary program

This paragraph may not be construed to require any holder of any existing mortgage to participate in the program under this section generally, or with respect to any particular loan.

(5) Term of mortgage

The refinanced eligible mortgage to be insured shall-

(A) bear interest at a single rate that is fixed for the entire term of the mortgage; and

(B) have a maturity of not less than 30 years from the date of the beginning of amortization of such refinanced eligible mortgage.

(6) Maximum loan amount

The principal obligation amount of the eligible mortgage to be insured shall not exceed 132 percent of the dollar amount limitation in effect for 2007 under section 1454(a)(2) of this title for a property of the applicable size.

(7) Prohibition on second liens

A mortgagor may not grant a new second lien on the mortgaged property during the first 5 years of the term of the mortgage insured under this section, except as the Secretary determines to be necessary to ensure the maintenance of property standards.

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