To be eligible for the program, borrowers must be able to prove that a major economic event such as a job loss or severe reduction in income (20 percent for at least six months) was the main catalyst in losing their home. In addition, borrowers will need to show that their income has since fully recovered, and their credit score must be satisfactory. Finally, potential borrowers will need to complete a one-hour one-on-one housing counseling session. Borrowers will need to meet all other FHA eligibility criteria.
To be deemed with “satisfactory credit,” borrowers will need to meet the following guidelines for a minimum of 12 months:
- No history of delinquency on rental housing payment.
- No more than one 30-day late payment due to other creditors.
- No collection accounts/court records reporting (other than medical and/or identity theft).
However, even with the new rules, whether a particular borrower actually gets financing is ultimately at the discretion of individual lenders — even if the FHA rules say they can lend, individual lender rules could be significantly tighter, prohibiting them from lending below certain preset standards.