What’s ahead for people getting help with mortgage, rent during coronavirus?

GEORGIA — Homeowners and renters who live in properties with government-backed loans might see a reprieve during the COVID-19 pandemic, but many are worried what will happen to them after life returns to normal.

The CARES Act is providing relief to people who’ve lost their jobs during this crisis, but experts say there are strings attached.

Brittany Woods recently found out she’s going have reduced hours at her job because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Conyers woman told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik she owns a house and her mortgage company is giving her a short break on payments.

“We can go ahead and cut it for a month or two, or however long you need, but you are going to have it pay it in one lump sum once you are done with that time frame,” she told Petchenik of the message her mortgage provider gave her. “That’s kind of sad because some people right now, they are out of work completely.”

Wanda Bates, a hairstylist, can’t work at all. She lives in a DeKalb County apartment complex subsidized by the government.

“Residents could pay perhaps half of their rent, but it wouldn’t be forgiven,” she said. “Then, when things go back as normal, you would need to pay your normal monthly rent, plus the other portion that you did not pay would be divided into equal payments. That would be more of a hardship to now come up with extra money.”

It's a common story realtor Shalitia Smith has been hearing from her clients.

“They would call and they would be told that they would be given a period of time, whether it’s three months, six months as a forbearance plan, but at the end of that term they would have to pay back all of the amounts of money that they missed,” she said.

Smith told Petchenik those payments include interest, too.

“To me, for my clients who have been laid off, it puts them in a foreclosure situation if they’re not able to pay that money back,” she said. “I think it would be easier for them to push those amounts to the back end of the loan that way you don’t create a problem for them potentially in the future to come up with all that money one time being we don’t know how long we’re going to be in this crisis.”