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With April 1 approaching soon, businesses closing, and the coronavirus pandemic showing no signs of slowing down, many tenants are worrying about how they will make their next rent payments.
Landlords are worried too, because too many missed rent payments could make it difficult for them to pay the mortgage on their properties, leading to a wave of apartment foreclosures.
To stem this wave of evictions and resulting foreclosures, the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA) has announced that any owner of a multifamily rental property can put their mortgage payments into forbearance, provided they don't evict tenants who are late on rent due to the coronavirus.
The term "forbearance" means to suspend payment on a loan, such as a mortgage.
In plain English for renters, that means if the owner of the property you rent has a mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, your landlord cannot evict you if you are late or miss rent payments due to the coronavirus. That could mean a job loss or a diagnosis of COVID-19 and the resulting medical bills.
Earlier this month, the FHFA announced that it was stopping foreclosures and evictions of single-family homeowners holding Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgages for at least 60 days.
While this will be a big relief to many renters across the country, this only applies to tenants who live in properties backed by FHFA mortgages. That means other landlords do not have to abide by this directive.
To fill that void, many city, county, and state governments across the country have taken action to place a hold on evictions during this crisis. But in those states without orders in place to stop evictions, many people will still be facing the prospect of eviction.
Remember, if your landlord serves you with eviction papers, there are defense strategies available. You do not have to immediately move out of your apartment.