Hardship continues for some Sandy homeowners

(CBS News) BROOKLYN, N.Y. - The Obama administration Friday granted a one-year postponement of mortgage payments to Superstorm Sandy victims with federally-backed loans. But for homeowners with private loans, it's a very different story.

Naheed Akhter and her husband Manzoor have spent $75,000 to repair their home. Insurance only covered a third. They borrowed the rest from friends and family.

But it may be for nothing. The family got a letter from their mortgage lender in January.

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'"Your mortgage is in default and your property will be referred to foreclosure,'" said Naheed Akhter, reading the letter.

The Akhters have missed five mortgage payments to Bank of America. They have no income because Sandy destroyed the Pakistani restaurant where they worked.

"I don't have a job," said Akhter. "Utility bills, my credit card bills, everything -- I cannot pay everything."

Although the Akhters have never received disaster assistance from their bank, many mortgage lenders did offer a three-month grace period to Sandy victims. But that period has ended, and some banks want balances paid.

"That actually is a ticking time bomb," said Franklin Romeo, an attorney who is working with 100 other Sandy victims at risk of foreclosure. "It's simply not going to be realistic for homeowners who've been both paying for repairs, paying for other housing expenses while they were dislocated from their own home, to save up all of their missed mortgage payments during that time."

Naheed Akhter claimed she can't get her mortgage representative to return her calls. "Bank of America is running from me," she said.

Bank of America said it has offered a three-month forbearance or grace period for many Sandy victims. But it acknowledges that it did not place appropriate protections on Akhter's account.

After our inquiry, Bank of America deferred Akhter's payments until June, when she will owe $20,000. Without a job, she worries she will not catch up with the missed payments. So she still fears she will lose her home.

  • Michelle Miller

    Michelle Miller is an award-winning CBS News correspondent based in New York, reporting for all CBS News broadcasts and platforms. Her work regularly appears on the "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley", "CBS This Morning" and "CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood". She joined CBS News in 2004.