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Could Florida's Hardest Hit Fund Help You Keep Your House?

Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund (FHHF) is a state program under the direction of the United States Treasury that is meant to assist unemployed and underemployed Floridians in avoiding foreclosure. Under the FHHF, homeowners can receive financial help with making regular monthly mortgage payments or with paying off missed payments to prevent foreclosure.

The FHHF has two different programs: the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program (UMAP) and the Mortgage Loan Reinstatement Payment (MLRP) Program.

UMAP helps homeowners who are unemployed, unemployed, or who have suffered a reduction of income due to financial hardship. This program provides homeowners with a loan that is used to pay the monthly mortgage payments and expenses, like property taxes and homeowner insurance. The UMAP will pay these expenses for up to 12 months or up to $24,000, whichever comes first. Additionally, this program provides up to $18,000 to be paid toward any past due amounts on the homeowner’s first mortgage.

The MLRP program helps homeowners who have recovered from a financial hardship and now need help paying mortgage arrears. This program provides up to $25,000 in assistance to help homeowners catch up on their mortgage payments.

Both the UMAP and the MLRP programs are loans, not gifts. However, these loans have a zero percent interest rate and will eventually be forgiven at a rate of 20% per year if the homeowner stays in the program for five years. If the homeowner sells or otherwise refinances the property, the homeowner will have to repay the money loaned by the FHHF.

While these programs are a dream come true for many homeowners, there are certain eligibility requirements the homeowner must meet. Additionally, there is no guarantee that homeowners who successfully apply for the FHHF will be able to keep their house.

First, only homeowners who are legal residents of Florida will be considered. Additionally, the homeowner’s total household income must be below 140% of the area’s median income. Currently, the median family income for Broward County is $60,900, and 140% of that amount is $85,260.

The FHHF only applies to the first mortgage on a homeowner’s primary residence, which also must be located in Florida. To be eligible, the homeowner cannot be in an active bankruptcy, an active loan modification using other federal programs, and cannot have been convicted of a mortgage-related felony within the past ten years. The principal balance on the mortgage must also be less than $400,000.

Once the homeowner qualifies for relief, he or she will have to negotiate with the mortgage lender and ensure that the lender will accept the payments. If the homeowner is in an active foreclosure case, the mortgage lender does not have to accept payments from the FHHF. Instead, the lender can choose to continue with the foreclosure case.

For that reason, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney if you are planning to apply for the FHHF. At Loan Lawyers, our attorneys can advise you of your best legal options to avoid foreclosure, and will work with your mortgage lender to resolve your case. To find out more about how we can help, schedule a free and confidential case review today by calling (888) FIGHT-13 (344-4813).