April 22, 2021
Client Alert: Update to PA Act 91 Notice in Light of the COVID-19 PandemicIn light of the novel COVID-19 pandemic, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (“PHFA”) has been forced to rethink its traditional requirement that homeowners facing foreclosure must have a face-to-face meeting with a housing counselor in order to obtain state funded assistance to avoid foreclosure.
On April 2, 2021, the PHFA amended the Policy Statement on Homeowner’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (“HEMAP”) under Chapter 31 of the PA Code to define face-to-face meeting as, “[a] meeting conducted either in-person or remotely using technological means, through which the applicant and consumer credit counseling agency communicate with each other contemporaneously, both audibly and visually.” The amendment was effective immediately upon publication.
Due to the ease of accessibility, this amendment will likely result in additional homeowners seeking and qualifying for assistance from HEMAP. In addition, and relevant to mortgage servicers, Pages 1 and 2 (containing the Spanish translation) of the Act 91 Notice have been slightly revised to incorporate this new definition, as highlighted below. These updates are minor but should be implemented as soon as possible. Hill Wallack’s own Act 91 Notices have been updated to reflect compliance.