Frequently Asked Questions
General Information & Funding
Keep Your Home California is a federally funded program to help California homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages due to financial hardships. California has received nearly $2 billion in federal funding and is working with housing counselors, servicers and housing advocates to provide assistance that will help prevent avoidable foreclosures and keep Californians in their homes. Full details on the program are available here.
CalHFA MAC is CalHFA Mortgage Assistance Corporation, a nonprofit corporation separate from California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA). CalHFA MAC Officers are employees of CalHFA and receive no additional compensation for performing these duties. The CalHFA MAC Board of Directors is comprised of CalHFA and other state leaders who are experts in the California housing crisis. CalHFA MAC was created specifically to receive and disburse federal funding to qualifying California homeowners; these funds cannot be commingled with or used for any other state budget purpose.
No. You will never be asked to pay a fee to participate in the Keep Your Home California programs. In fact, you should beware of anyone who asks you to pay a fee in exchange for a counseling service or modification of a delinquent loan. If you suspect fraud connected to Keep Your Home California, please contact our Compliance Manager at 916-326-8686.
Yes, funding for KYHC is limited to approximately $2 billion and the funds must be used by December 31, 2017. There is a benefit cap of $100,000 per qualifying household.
Keep Your Home California consists of four programs to assist California homeowners. Three of these programs are designed to help qualifying homeowners remain in their homes and avoid foreclosure:
- Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program (UMA)
- Mortgage Reinstatement Assistance Program (MRAP)
- Principal Reduction Program (PRP)
- The fourth program, the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), provides financial assistance to homeowners who can no longer afford their home and need help transitioning to other housing. The Transition Assistance Program may only be used in conjunction with a servicer-approved short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transaction.
Detailed descriptions of each of these foreclosure prevention programs are available here.
No. Keep Your Home California is a foreclosure prevention program, not a loan modification program. KYHC funds can sometimes be combined with a modification that is provided by the homeowner’s servicer, but the KYHC program in itself is not a loan modification program.
The Homeowner Bill of Rights (HOBOR) is designed to guarantee basic fairness and transparency for homeowners in the foreclosure process. Some of the key provisions include:
- Restriction on dual track foreclosure: Mortgage servicers are restricted from advancing the foreclosure process if the homeowner is working on securing a loan modification. When a homeowner completes an application for a loan modification, the foreclosure process is essentially paused until the complete application has been fully reviewed.
- Guaranteed single point of contact: Homeowners are guaranteed a single point of contact as they navigate the system and try to keep their homes – a person or team at the bank who knows the facts of their case, has their paperwork and can get them a decision about their application for a loan modification.
Does contacting Keep Your Home California trigger any action through the California Homeowner Bill of Rights?
No. Homeowners should be aware that contacting Keep Your Home California does not relieve a homeowner’s responsibility to contact their servicer regarding the HOBOR. Contacting KYHC also does not stop dual tracking, or initiate a single point of contact or halt any foreclosure or short sale process that is already in place. Until a homeowner’s servicer accepts assistance through KYHC on the homeowner’s behalf, all other processes can continue and will not be stopped simply because a homeowner has applied for KYHC assistance.
Final eligibility for benefit assistance can only be determined after you have provided all of the documentation requested and it has been determined that you meet all program guidelines. Even then, the final determination of eligibility lies with your loan servicer who must accept the offer of assistance.
Can a homeowner move out of their home or rent it out while receiving benefit assistance under a Keep Your Home California program?
No. If during the benefit period of any Keep Your Home California program, a homeowner’s property becomes vacant or non-owner occupied, Keep Your Home California reserves the right to terminate benefit assistance. Exceptions may be made for active duty military personnel who have been deployed or relocated pursuant to military orders.
What should I do if I have questions and want to discuss an ineligible decision letter I received from Keep Your Home California?
Homeowners who have questions and want to discuss an ineligible decision letter should contact the KYHC Program at 888.559.4225, Monday-Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm.
General eligibility requirements for these programs include, but are not limited to:
- Occupy home as their primary residence
- Meet low and moderate area income limits
- Have a hardship that is supported by a completed and signed Hardship Affidavit
- Have adequate income to sustain modified first mortgage payments according to KYHC and participating servicer guidelines (applies to MRAP and PRP, only)payments according to participating servicer guidelines (applies to MRAP and PRP, only)
*Home equity lines of credit are not eligible for KYHC benefit consideration even if they are in first lien position.
- Be located in California
- Not be abandoned, vacant, or condemned, or uninhabitable.
- Be a single family, 1-4 unit home (an attached or detached house or a condominium unit): mobile homes are eligible if they are permanently affixed to the real property that is secured by the first lien.
- Be a *first lien mortgage
- Have a current unpaid principal balance of $729,750*, or less (*which includes the interest bearing principal balance and any outstanding non-interest bearing forbearance balance from a previous modification, as applicable)
- Be delinquent or at risk of imminent default
*Home equity lines of credit are not eligible for KYHC benefit consideration even if they are in first lien position.
For more information on eligibility requirements, visit the program descriptions located here.
No. Any California homeowner who meets the eligibility requirements can qualify. Your servicer must sign an agreement with CalHFA MAC to participate in one or more of the Keep Your Home California programs. This agreement with the servicer helps to ensure that funds are properly applied and reported. Servicer participation is voluntary. A list of participating servicers and the programs they offer is available on our Participating Servicers page.
Do I need to be behind on my mortgage payments to be eligible for the Keep Your Home California programs?
No*, California homeowners do not have to be delinquent on their first mortgage to apply for assistance. Homeowners who are struggling to remain current on their mortgage payments are eligible for consideration if they can demonstrate an inability to continue paying their mortgage payments due to a hardship (often referred to as “imminent default”). KYHC considers a homeowner to be in “imminent default” if the homeowner has severe negative equity**, has had (or will have) a significant increase in their mortgage payment (due to a rate increase) or has suffered a financial hardship such as unemployment that will make their first mortgage payment unaffordable.
* MRAP requires that the homeowner be behind a minimum of two (2) months with their first mortgage payments to qualify for benefits to “reinstate” the loan.
**Severe negative equity is only recognized in conjunction with the PRP.
You can find out if you meet the basic eligibility requirements for a Keep Your Home California program by visiting the Eligibility Calculator. In order to determine eligibility and apply for assistance, you must speak with a Keep Your Home California representative by calling 888.954.KEEP (5337) or contact a certified counselor from one of the HUD-approved counseling agencies listed here: http://www.keepyourhomecalifornia.org/counseling.htm.
If you have suffered a severe reduction in your household income or an increase in expenses beyond your control, these hardships will be taken into consideration. Hardships include: unemployment, underemployment, death in the family, significant medical bills, divorce and severe negative equity, among others. Severe negative equity is considered a hardship indicative of imminent default for the Principal Reduction Program only.
This assistance will be provided to eligible homeowners as a non-interest bearing junior lien secured against the property. You are not required to make payments on this junior lien. The junior lien will be forgiven after three to five years (depending on program) from the date assistance was provided. However, if you sell, refinance or reverse-mortgage your home (and remove cash equity) prior to the junior lien forgiveness date, you may be required to pay back the assistance from the proceeds of the sale or refinance of your home if there is sufficient net equity. Homeowners who refuse to sign the KYHC Note, Deed of Trust and/or Benefit Award letter will be ineligible to receive KYHC assistance.
Homeowners who have received program benefits and signed the KYHC Note, Deed of Trust and Benefit Award letter may be eligible to withdraw from the program; however, any existing lien that has been recorded will remain on the property until such time the KYHC Note has been paid in full or the term of the KYHC Note has expired, whichever occurs first.
Yes, it is possible to receive assistance from more than one Keep Your Home California program. For example, a homeowner who previously received UMA benefits may qualify for MRAP once they have secured employment. There is an overall benefit cap of $100,000 per household. Qualifying previously for a KYHC program does not guarantee eligibility for another program. Homeowners must meet program eligibility criteria each time they apply for assistance.
Each Keep Your Home California program was designed to provide struggling homeowners with a unique type of foreclosure prevention assistance. For more information about each program, visit our Programs page or call 888.954.KEEP (5337) to speak with a Keep Your Home California representative who will explain program requirements and criteria.
I do not live in the house that secures the mortgage I’d like to modify. Is this mortgage eligible for a Keep Your Home California program?
No. If you own a house that you use as a vacation home or that is not your primary residence, that home is not eligible for assistance from any of the Keep Your Home California programs. Investment properties are also not eligible for assistance. All eligible properties must be primary, owner-occupied.
I am a renter living in a home that is in default and is at risk of foreclosure. Am I eligible for assistance through Keep Your Home California?
No. There is no rental assistance provided through Keep Your Home California. Eligible properties must be owner-occupied.
I have a mortgage on a duplex. I live in one unit and rent the other unit. Am I eligible for a Keep Your Home California program?
Yes. Mortgages on two, three and four-unit properties are eligible as long as you occupy one unit as your primary residence.
What if I have applied for a different modification and it was approved but I turned it down? Can I apply for any assistance?
Yes, as long as you currently meet the eligibility criteria, you may still be found eligible for assistance through Keep Your Home California. Keep Your Home California is not responsible for determining eligibility for any loan modification program. Only your first mortgage loan servicer can provide approval for a loan modification
My credit union said it could not participate in Keep Your Home California programs because the funds come from TARP. Is this true?
Keep Your Home California is funded through TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) by way of the Hardest Hit Fund (HHF). However, because Keep Your Home California funds are from HHF and are paid through an Eligible Entity named CalHFA Mortgage Assistance Corporation, there are no restrictions placed on credit unions participating in Keep Your Home California programs.
What actions should a homeowner take if their loan servicer has not applied for the Keep Your Home California benefits to their loan in a timely manner?
Homeowners may contact their loan servicer or KYHC to discuss and request timely application of program benefits. Most program benefits will be applied by the servicer within 30 days of receipt of program funds. Please be advised that when KYHC assistance is provided in conjunction with a loan modification, payment application timeframes may take more than 30 days depending upon the date when the servicer receives program funds.