LITTLETON, Colo. — A homeowner in Littleton says because he deferred his mortgage payments through the CARES Act forbearance program for those impacted by COVID-19. As soon as he was able to begin paying again, he was told he must pay about $23,000 in past mortgage payments within 60 days.
After losing his job in March due to the pandemic, Lyndon Reynoso's luck was starting to turn.
"I had received an offer for a job, and I was going to start work in November," Reynoso said.
That meant Reynoso could start making his mortgage payments after nearly 8 months of forebearance, a program through the CARES Act allowing mortgage payments to be postponed to a later date.
"My biggest message is just be careful with what banks are telling you as far as the forbearance. In my eyes and in my experience forbearance equals foreclosure," Reynoso tells Denver7.
Forebearance began for the Reynoso's in March.
"There was no information provided for us other than they would address it once forbearance ended," Reynoso explained.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends asking your mortgage lender how the skipped payments will need to be paid back before agreeing to forbearance. Reynoso said they never had that conversation so when the time came to start paying back what was owed, he was shocked to find out they wanted most of it right away.
"She said you will need to send for payments for your past mortgage you haven’t paid and then you’ll have to pay for the month of November so that’s a total of five payments," Reynoso said.
Reynoso tells Denver7 those five months of payments owed, totaled $23,000 within 60 days. To make it worse, his December statement showed not only a late fee but also a fee for a physical inspection of the property.
"That person explained to me that they were checking to see if the home was vacated. I said, 'why would you think the house was vacated? I’ve been trying to make payments.' She said, 'well, we are checking to see if you vacated because it’s the start of foreclosure process,'" Reynoso said.
Fearing his family would be kicked out of their home, the Reynoso's went to extreme measures like borrowing from family, and selling what they could. That included selling stocks and furniture. His wife even sold her engagement ring to get back in good standing.
"Not easy at all to know that something we should have for life, but you find yourself saying the sacrifice of a warm house is more important than a ring on your finger," Reynoso said of his wife selling her ring.
Denver7 made several attempts to reach Shellpoint Mortgage Servicing for comment but have not hear back.
If you need help with your mortgage or rent, the state provided the following sources:
DOLA rental and mortgage assistance programs: https://cdola.colorado.gov/housing-covid19 [cdola.colorado.gov]