According to a Bloomberg report, the expansion of the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) will benefit qualified landlords who either are able to rent out their properties or have plans to bring in new tenants. According to Timothy Massad, the Treasury Department's assistant secretary for financial stability, the decision to broaden HAMP is a reflection of the state of the housing market – particularly the high number of still-vacant properties on the market.
‘When we started the program, we focused on owner-occupied houses because the need was so great and we wanted to target the efforts to that group,’ says Massad. ‘Given where we are today, more and more people recognize that vacant properties are a problem no matter how they became vacant.’
Reaction to the announcement has been mixed. Moose Scheib, CEO of the Dearborn, Mich.-based consulting firm LoanMod.com, told Bloomberg that the HAMP expansion will benefit the housing market.
‘Our economy is in trouble, housing is in trouble,’ Scheib says. ‘Whether you're fixing it on behalf of investors or homeowners, it benefits everybody to do that.’
However, John Burns, an Irvine, Calif.-based real estate consultant, calls the HAMP expansion ‘ridiculous’ and warns that it sends the wrong message.
‘What kind of precedent are you going to set?’ Burns asks. ‘Are you going to refund people who lost money on the stock market, too?’