On August 6, 2020, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that multifamily property owners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) who enter into a new or modified forbearance agreement must inform tenants in writing about tenant protections during the project’s forbearance and repayment periods.
Landlords with Enterprise-backed mortgages can enter into new, or if qualified, modified forbearance if they experienced or continue to experience a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 emergency. While in forbearance, the property owners must agree not to evict tenants solely for the nonpayment of rent. FHFA previously announced additional tenant protections that apply during the repayment periods. These protections include:
- Giving tenants at least a 30-day notice to vacate;
- Not charging tenants late fees or penalties for nonpayment of rent; and
- Allowing tenants flexibility to repay back rent over time and not in a lump sum.
Specifically, landlords must notify tenants that they cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent due to the pandemic. However, if tenants are able to pay their rent, they should continue to do so.
In addition to the tenant notification, the Enterprises are also improving their online multifamily property loan look-up tools by putting the tenant protections on the tools’ landing page and by making it easier for tenants to find out if the property in which they reside has an Enterprise backed mortgage.
FHFA will continue to monitor the coronavirus’ impact on tenants, borrowers, and the mortgage market and update policies as needed. To better understand the protections and assistance the government is offering, owners and managers should visit the joint HUD, FHFA, and CFPB website at cfpb.gov/housing.