In the wake of the federal eviction moratorium that expired on July 31, 2021, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is reminding renters that protections still exist in the form of a mandatory 30-day notice and emergency rental assistance programs.
The federal moratorium, enacted last year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), protected renters in communities that have mortgages guaranteed by the U.S. government (i.e., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). After extending the original expiration date by a month, the Biden Administration called on Congress to pass an emergency extension of the eviction ban. In June, the Supreme Court sided with landlords who argued tenants could access federal assistance to pay rent and related expenses, thus necessitating congressional action to extend the ban.
Many states had imposed temporary bans which have also begun to lapse. The timing of the federal lapse is particularly concerning to renter advocates, as it coincides with the lapse of a $600-a-week unemployment benefit boost as well as the rise of COVID-19 infections spurred by the delta variant.
With passage of legislation to extend the ban unlikely due to the divided Congress, the CDC has taken action with a new order preventing evictions through October 3, 2021, in counties where COVID infections are rising. The new order is intended to “target areas specific areas of the country where cases are rapidly increasing, which likely would be exacerbated by mass evictions.”
To ensure renters are aware of their protections and available resources, the FHFA recently announced that renters in Fannie Mae- or Freddie Mac-backed multifamily properties must be given a minimum of 30 days of notice before they can be required to vacate a property for rent non-payment.
“Many families across the country, particularly renters, are still struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to clearly communicate available protections to both landlords and tenants,” FHFA Acting Director Sandra L. Thompson said in a statement.
In addition to the 30-day notice, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has developed new tools to help renters and landlords access the Emergency Rental Assistance funds that were allocated in the American Rescue Plan Act. A new lookup tool called the Rental Assistance Finder helps renters and landlords find local programs and organizations that are distributing federal rental assistance in their communities.
Renters can find more information on options available for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic at Fannie Mae’s Renters Resource Finder, in Freddie Mac’s “Understanding Renter Protections and Renter Support After the Eviction Moratoriums” white paper, and at CFPB.gov/housing.