NJ Mortgage, Property Tax Relief Program Coming Amid COVID
A Helping Hand for Homeowners in Need
If you have experienced a financial hardship and an increase in housing-related expenses associated with the coronavirus pandemic that created a risk of mortgage delinquency, mortgage default, foreclosure, or property tax lien, the Homeowner Assistance Fund may be able to help.
New Jersey has introduced the Emergency Rescue Mortgage Assistance (ERMA) program that will give up to $35,000 to eligible homeowners who have been unable to pay their housing bills due to COVID-19 revenue loss.
The application for the program opened on Feb. 8.
The program utilizes $325.9 million of federal Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) money and is expected to help thousands of families.
To be eligible for the program, applicants need to show COVID-19 income loss. Their income can be no more than 150 percent of the median income of the region the property is located.
Applicants may receive up to $35,000 per household to cover:
- Mortgage reinstatement assistance
- Other eligible housing related costs, including:
- Escrow shortages
- Delinquent property taxes
- Municipal or tax liens
- Up to four future mortgage payments, inclusive of principal, interest, taxes and homeowner’s insurance
The property has to be located in New Jersey and the applicant has to “own and occupy” an eligible one-to-four-unit primary residence. Second homes are not eligible for the program.
If eligible, you could receive up to $35,000 in the form of a three-year forgivable loan, with no interest or payments due. If the property is sold, transferred, or refinanced (except for refinances for a lower rate and/or shorter-term) or you do not maintain the property as your primary residence during the three (3) year term of the mortgage and note, you must repay the ERMA Program funds.
Applicants also have to be current on mortgage and property taxes as of January 2020.
“We are pleased to announce this new program that will alleviate COVID-19 related housing insecurity for thousands of New Jersey families,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “ERMA is a powerful addition to our portfolio of measures to prevent foreclosures and help New Jersey homeowners stay in their homes.”
Eligible expenses under the program include mortgage payments, escrow shortages, unpaid property taxes, defaults, home energy services, and more.
Through the program, up to $35,000 will be provided to homeowners in the form of a three-year loan on a 0 percent interest rate, with no monthly payments. The loan will be non-recourse, secured and recorded, and take a junior lien position on the home.
If the property is sold, refinanced, or transferred, the funds have to be repaid.
To access the application, visit www.njerma.com.
For details on program eligibility, click here.
You can also contact (855) 647-7700 for assistance.