When someone's Florida house is deemed "underwater," it doesn't refer to its proximity to beachfront property. Instead, the term is used to refer to residences with mortgages that are higher than the properties are worth. For homeowners in this predicament and who are unable to keep up with their monthly house payments, the threat of foreclosure becomes all-too-real. Fortunately, that threat of foreclosure may lift for some thanks to two statewide government initiatives.
The first initiative, Florida's Hardest-Hit Fund, aims to assist homeowners who are losing ground when it comes to staying current on mortgage payments. The Hardest-Hit Fund began three years ago in 2010, and more than 12,000 recipients have been approved for funding at this point. It has been reportedly as generally successful, albeit criticized by some who say it has only helped a few of those in need, and now a second program is being launched as a "spin-off" to the first.
As of Oct. 1, the Principal Reduction Program, a part of the Florida Hardest-Hit Fund, will be accepting applications. This program will give out $350 million to help homeowners reduce the balances on their mortgages. The application is available online; however, only 25,000 applications are going to be accepted until more funding is found.
The amount of assistance those who are eligible can expect to get will vary but will not exceed $50,000. Applicants for the latest program must owe more than 125 percent on their mortgages than their homes are worth. Other requirements to apply for this funding stream to help remove the imminent threat of foreclosure are available at the website. Those facing these important issues will likely benefit by gaining a full understanding of their rights and responsibilities under Florida law.
Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Housing market: Underwater mortgages targeted, Paul Owers, Sept. 22, 2013