The government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that buy and back trillions of dollars in residential mortgages are now offering renters more help in the form of online multifamily property lookup tools.Renters can use new web pages from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to find out whether they live in a building that has a GSE-backed mortgage. The reason that matters right now is that such properties come under CARES Act rules that have placed a temporary moratorium on evictions.
Help for the tenant, help for the landlord
Along with a property lookup tool, the pages include information on affordability, what to look for in a rental property, and tips on how to read a lease. One timely link also includes information on what to do if the home you're renting is in foreclosure.The Monday, May 4, announcement from the GSEs' parent agency, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), also notes that landlords with GSE-backed mortgages can enter forbearance if their tenants lose income because of the pandemic and can't pay their rent.
A roiled rental market
The COVID-19 pandemic has roiled the rental market, sending demand and rents downward in some markets, and forbearances on the part of property owners -- landlords and homeowners alike -- have soared. The FHFA responded quickly, suspending foreclosures and evictions first for holders of single-family home mortgages and then for owners of multifamily properties."Today's tool protects renters and empowers them to find out if they live in a multifamily property covered by the eviction moratorium," FHFA Director Mark Calabria said in Monday's announcement about the lookup service. "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."Struggling tenants also are encouraged to contact their landlord to discuss options, the FHFA said in the announcement.