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New housing directive aims to protect military

Active-duty service members and their families don't have to update lenders on their military status to avoid foreclosure, federal housing officials said Thursday.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Thursday clarified the rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which gives military families foreclosure protection and mortgage relief during war time.

Several active-duty members have had their homes repossessed or been unable to get mortgage relief. For example, the federal law requires lenders to give military families an interest rate that's no higher than 6 percent. Also, a foreclosure is invalid without a court order if it's done during the borrower's military service or within nine months of the borrower's exit from the service.

HUD's new directive calls for military borrowers to send lenders a copy of their military orders and a request for the rights under the federal act. But it will be lenders' duty to determine the service status of the borrower if they want to foreclose.

"The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act enables our armed forces to focus on their mission abroad, without worrying about their families at home," HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in a news release.

For details, contact 800-342-9647 or go to militaryonesource.com/scra.
 

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