The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees the government-sponsored mortgage buyers Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, unveiled a tool that allows renters to check whether they are protected under the federal eviction moratorium.
Under the CARES Act, which came into effect in late March, renters living in properties with a mortgage secured by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae benefit from a temporary ban on evictions, while their landlords can seek loan forbearance. The latter can last up to three months.
“Today’s tool protects renters and empowers them to find out if they live in a multifamily property covered by the eviction moratorium,” said FHFA Director Mark Calabria. “Landlords with Enterprise-backed mortgages cannot evict tenants for failing to pay their rent if they are affected by COVID-19. Renters who can pay their rent should.”
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, approximately a third of the nation’s $1.5 trillion worth of multifamily mortgages are secured by the two enterprises.
Even if an apartment building doesn’t have a Fannie Mae or a Freddie Mac-backed mortgage, its residents might still be sheltered from evictions through local directives. As the coronavirus wears on, though, in a number of locales, the initial protections either have already expired or are soon to do so. (The Eviction Lab keeps an extensive roster on states’ housing policies amid the coronavirus pandemic.)
Across the country, lawyers and housing experts have expressed concerns that the lapsing protections would lead to a backlog of eviction cases, which might have been on hold or not initiated during the health crisis.
Nonetheless, even if evictions offer a level of protection, rent has largely not been forgiven, prompting a national May 1 Rent Strike as industry experts as well community leaders anticipate that a growing number of Americans would not be able to cover their housing costs this month.