As federal protections for landlords near their expiration date, the Federal Housing Finance Agency is offering additional help due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday the FHFA said that multifamily property owners who’re currently in forbearance will be able to request an extension of their payment suspension for an extra three months, which means the period will add up to half a year in total.
The new FHFA rules only apply to properties with loans backed by government-backed enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The additional protections offered to landlords means that tenants in those properties will also be protected from eviction for as long as the forbearance period lasts, Forbes reported. The rules say that landlords must be flexible with renters who’ve missed payments due to the coronavirus pandemic, and cannot charge late payment fees.
Before Monday’s announcement, landlords were only eligible for three months of forbearance on multifamily buildings. That protection was set to expire July 25.
“During the pandemic, the FHFA has been focused on protecting renters and borrowers while ensuring the mortgage market functions as efficiently as possible,” said Mark Calabria, the FHFA’s director. “The multifamily mortgage forbearance extension announced will help renters say in their homes and help property owners retain their properties.”
The Aspen Institute recently estimated that 19 to 23 million American renters are facing the risk of eviction by the end of September. That estimate reflects the expiration of government stimulus packages and benefits, and the ongoing high unemployment in the U.S. that’s resulted from the COVID-19 lockdown.