Four Senators Seek Longer Foreclosure Delay in Puerto Rico - ABI

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators wants federal housing agencies to extend a moratorium on foreclosures in Puerto Rico into 2019 after the devastation on the island and a big surge in mortgage delinquencies, the New York Times reported. The four senators said in a letter on Friday that a longer moratorium was needed because large swaths of Puerto Rico remained without electricity in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and because many residents were still trying repair the damage to their homes. The senators noted that homeowners needed more time to “pick up the pieces of their lives” than was allotted under the current grace period, which expires in March. They want the moratorium extended until March 2019, along with a commitment that lenders will not seek to collect any mortgage payments in that period. The four senators — Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) — was sent to officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. About one-third of the island’s 425,000 homeowners are behind on their mortgage payments to banks and Wall Street firms that previously bought up distressed mortgages. And some 90,000 of those borrowers became delinquent as a consequence of Hurricane Maria, according to the data firm Black Knight.

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