Homeowners with mortgages guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are going to see some relief if they are struggling to make payments. Both organizations have ordered lenders to offer flexibility to homeowners.

In separate orders, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac tell lenders that homeowners with a loss of income can qualify for reduced mortgage payments or a complete pause in payments for up to a year.

Loans guaranteed by those federal agencies account for about half of the mortgages outstanding. Regulators expect the rest of the mortgage industry will quickly follow suit.

“That forbearance is up to 12 months, depending on their particular situation,” says Mark Calabria, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie and Freddie.

Homeowners can’t just stop paying their mortgage. “They need to contact their servicer — that is the lender that they send the check to every month,” he says. “That lender will work with them to be able to work out a payment plan. Obviously, we hope to get them back on their feet as soon as possible.”

From an NPR report