FHFA Extends COVID-19 Multifamily Forbearance

The Federal Housing Finance Agency said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will continue to offer COVID-19 forbearance to qualifying multifamily property owners as needed, subject to tenant protections the agency imposed during the pandemic.

The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac multifamily forbearance programs had been set to expire Thursday, September 30, but FHFA will allow the enterprises to continue offering COVID-19 forbearance to qualified multifamily owners unless otherwise instructed.

“Given the uncertain nature of this pandemic, FHFA is taking further action to protect renters, property owners and the mortgage market,” said Sandra L. Thompson, Acting Director of FHFA.

Freddie Mac Head of Multifamily Debby Jenkins said Freddie Mac is providing relief to the multifamily market and to renters financially affected by COVID-19 through this forbearance program. “While we have seen only a few loans start a new forbearance program recently, we remain positioned to support the market and renters who may be impacted by the unpredictability of the pandemic going forward,” she said.

Fannie Mae Executive Vice President and Head of Multifamily Michele Evans said the extension allows the GSE to continue essential tenant protections “to help keep renters in their apartments as the recovery process continues.” 

Property owners with Enterprise-backed multifamily mortgages can enter a new or modified forbearance if they experience a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 emergency, FHFA said. Property owners who enter into a new or modified forbearance agreement must inform tenants in writing about tenant protections available during the property owner’s forbearance and repayment periods and agree not to evict tenants solely for rent nonpayment while the property is in forbearance.

FHFA noted additional tenant protections 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 tenant flexibility in the repayment of back-rent over time, and not necessarily in a lump sum.

FHFA said it may extend or sunset its policies based on updated data and the impacts of COVID-19. Homeowners and renters can visit consumerfinance.gov/housing for more information on their relief options, protections and deadlines.