Two End of Year Extensions Affect Multifamily Properties
Prior to the end of the year, there were two extensions affecting multifamily properties at the federal level.
Specifically, the CDC extended its moratorium on evictions and the Agencies extended their willingness to do forbearances.
While these apply to multifamily properties nationwide, as a property owner you also must be aware of local and state ordinances.
A few weeks ago, I wrote in this blog about how the City of Austin had extended its moratoriums on evictions until at least January 31, 2021. In that article, I stupidly wrote that I doubted the CDC would extend its own moratorium when it expired on December 31.
Well wouldn’t you know it – less than a week after I wrote that, Congress passed a new stimulus bill in which it extended the CDC moratorium until at least January 31. Your honest blogger, however, has left that article up so you can laugh at my naivete.
Since that time, there has been another extension at the federal level that affects multifamily property. In this entry, I discuss the two extensions and what they mean for property owners. Those two extensions are:
As stated above, the extension of the CDC’s moratorium on evictions; and
I have discussed the CDC moratorium previously in this blog, but I think it’s a good idea to recap exactly what it means and what it entails.
Under the moratorium, a landlord cannot evict a tenant for non-payment of rent if the tenant has provided a declaration (something similar to this one provided by the CDC) explaining that:
The tenant has used his or her best efforts to get government funding;
He or she will not make more than $99,000 for the calendar year of either 2020 or 2021;
He or she is unable to make rent due to substantial loss caused by COVID; and
If evicted, he or she will likely be homeless.
It is the tenant’s affirmative responsibility to provide this declaration to the landlord. If he or she does not provide the CDC’s declaration (or similar form), the landlord can move forward with eviction proceedings.
Also, if the landlord does not believe the tenant, it can challenge the veracity of the declaration in court.
Violations of the CDC’s order has serious financial ramifications, so if you have any questions about it, please feel free to contact us.
As mentioned above, the second extension that came prior to the end of the year was Fannie and Freddie extended their willingness to accept requests for forbearance until at least March 31, 2021.
Under the order, property owners with agency-backed multifamily mortgages can enter a new or, if qualified, modified forbearance if they experience a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 emergency.
To take advantage of this program, however, the property owner must:
Inform tenants about tenant protections available during the forbearance and repayment periods; and
Agree not to evict tenants solely for non-payment of rent while the loan is in forbearance.
Additionally, during the repayment periods, property owners must:
Give tenants at least a 30 day notice to vacate;
Not charge tenants late fees or penalties for non-payment of rent; and
Allow tenants flexibility of payback for non-payment of rent.
As you can see, therefore, there are significant downsides to seeking a forbearance from Fannie/Freddie. But during these difficult times, it may be a necessity.
Local Laws Still Apply
As always, none of these rules displace any local rules that are still in effect. For example, in the article mentioned above, I talked about Austin extending its eviction moratorium. That moratorium is also still in place. So as a property owner, you have to follow all of the federal, state, and local orders. Obviously this can get quite tricky. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at 512-614-0335.