CREF Highlights Sept. 17, 2020

Commercial and multifamily developments and activities from MBA relevant to your business and our industry.

1. Virginia Landlord Sues to Block CDC’s Eviction Ban

Last Wednesday, a Virginia landlord filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to order the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to stop enforcement of its national ban on evictions. The lawsuit challenges the CDC’s legal, statutory, and constitutional authority to enforce the order.

  • Why it matters: Last week, the CDC issued an order declaring a health emergency due to COVID-19 that requires a halt to evictions for renters through December 31, 2020.
  • What’s next: Lawsuits are expected to be filed by numerous organizations in multiple states to challenge the legality of the order.

For more information, please contact Grant Carlson at 202-557-2765 or William Kooper at (202) 557-2737.

2. HUD Provides Flexibilities for Emergency Solutions Grants Program CARES Act Funds

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provided additional requirements and flexibilities for the $3.96 billion in funding provided to states and local government authorities for the Emergency Solutions Grants Program (ESG-CV) under the CARES Act. The Notice highlights flexibilities that are intended to ensure local leaders are properly equipped to serve their communities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • Why it matters: The nationwide CDC eviction moratorium and statewide eviction moratoriums amplify the need for federal funds, including ESG-CV funds, to provide rental assistance. 
  • What’s next: MBA will continue to work with HUD officials to understand how this notice impacts members and will provide updates as the situation develops.

For more information, please contact Sharon Walker or 202-557-2747.

3. MBA and ACLI Update NAIC Life RBC Working Group on NOI Proposal
Today, MBA and the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) provided the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Life Risk-Based Capital Working Group with an update on our joint proposed RBC treatment of 2020 Net Operating Income (NOI). Industry representative Curt Dawson of MetLife reported out that our organizations are conducting outreach with regulators and their staff; and he shared questions we had heard and our responses to each. The proposal will be the lead item on the agenda for the next call, and the Working Group can fully address the proposal.

  • Why it matters: The NOI proposal is the last of four MBA/ACLI proposals to address the RBC impacts of COVID-19. In July, the Working Group approved requests to: (1) extend the June 12, 2020 RBC Guidance through December 31, 2020 reporting; (2) treat construction loans temporarily paused by governmental directive favorably; and (3) apply a 2019-2020 average NCREIF price index for year-end 2020 RBC reporting.
  • What’s next: We expect to bring the proposal to the NAIC Working Group for a vote on its next call within the next several weeks.

For more information, or to join MBA’s Life Company RBC Working Group, please contact Bruce Oliver at (202) 557-2840.

4. Senate Banking Committee Holds Hearing on Fed’s Emergency Lending Facilities
Lawmakers on the Senate Banking Committee largely agree that the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program (MSLP) has fallen short, but members lack consensus on whether – or how – to change the rules and allow the Fed to make more loans to struggling businesses
. At Wednesday’s full committee hearing, policymakers differed over whether the Program can be strengthened with a new structure and relaxed loan terms, or if more direct aid from Congress is needed to help companies and individuals affected by the pandemic. A summary of the hearing can be found here.

  • Why it matters: As of last Thursday, the MSLP had completed $1.2 billion in loans, just a fraction of the $600 billion authorized in the CARES Act. Lawmakers also highlighted trouble in the commercial real estate industry, which has struggled from lockdown measures and rent deferrals. The program’s restrictive terms have made it hard for commercial real estate companies to get help, witnesses said, which has rippling consequences for the broader economy – from jobs to housing to state and local taxes.
  • What’s next: Congress remains divided over another round of stimulus. During the hearing, Democrats pushed for another round of funding that would include enhanced unemployment benefits, rental assistance, and aid to state and local governments. Republican committee members focused largely on the MSLP.

For more information, please contact Tallman Johnson at (202) 557-2866, Ethan Saxon at (202) 557-2913 or Bruce Oliver at (202) 557-2840.

5. Senate Fails To Advance Latest Pandemic Relief Legislation
On Thursday, Senate Democrats blocked Senate Republicans’ $300 billion COVID-19 aid package from advancing.
The new “skinny” relief bill stalled in a 52–47 vote, falling short of the 60 votes needed to advance. All Republicans except Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) supported it. 

  • Why it matters: The new package from Senate Republicans would provide $300 in weekly federal jobless benefits through December 27, 2020, establish legal protections for businesses and health providers, add an infusion of funding for testing and vaccines, and provide new money for schools and child care.
  • What’s next: Both Republicans and Democrats have backed more relief, but have differed on the makeup of the package and the overall price tag. Talks over the summer between Democratic leaders and the Trump administration started to narrow the difference, with the White House settling around $1.5 trillion and Democrats at $2.2 trillion, before the negotiations stalled.

For more information, please contact Tallman Johnson at (202) 557-2866, Ethan Saxon at (202) 557-2913 or Bruce Oliver at (202) 557-2840.

6. Updates to MBA’s New CREF State Eviction Moratorium Tracker and CREF State Legislative Roundup
We will continue provide weekly updates of these new member resources.

  • MBA’s CREF State Eviction Moratorium Tracker can be found here.
  • MBA’s CREF State Legislation Roundup can be found here.

For more information, please contact Grant Carlson at (202) 557-2765.

7. Upcoming and Recent MBA Education Webinars on Critical Industry Issues

MBA Education continues to deliver timely programming that covers the spectrum of challenges, obstacles and solutions pertaining to our industry. Below, please see a list of upcoming and recent webinars – which are complimentary to MBA members:

For more information, contact David Upbin at (202) 557-2890.