U.S. House of Representatives Passes Bill to End HAMP
Both houses of Congress introduced legislation this session to end the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which is a federally-funded program intended to lower mortgage payments for homeowners struggling with large home loans.
Approximately 650,000 Americans have received aid under the program, according to the U.S. Treasury. Those who have received aid have reduced their mortgages by an average of $500 every month. Currently, in order to qualify for HAMP, the homeowner must not be able to make monthly payments on his or her own, but must also be able to make regular payments after getting help from HAMP.
The bill passed the House on March 29, 2011 and is currently in the Senate. The Senate also has its own bill eliminating HAMP it is considering. It is not clear that the bill will pass the Senate, and President Obama would likely veto the bill if it did pass.
Loan Modifications Still Possible
While HAMP is likely safe for the moment, the future political climate may make HAMP a short-lived program. Yet even if HAMP is eliminated, it still might be possible to modify your loan. However, you should be very careful of what private companies you use. Many unscrupulous companies are defrauding consumers by charging large up-front fees and then simply taking the money and not doing anything on the consumers’ behalf. These companies may even falsely claim an affiliation with HAMP or other government programs.
When in doubt, you may wish to use an attorney. An attorney can explore many options with you, including loan modifications. Other options a lawyer can discuss include short sales, a deed in lieu of foreclosure and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Only discussions with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer will let you know the best option for you. If you are behind on mortgage payments, do not wait – doing nothing is the worst option. Contact a bankruptcy attorney in your area as soon as possible.