Banking and Finance Law Daily Federal regulators move to facilitate and expand rental assistance, delay evictions
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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Federal regulators move to facilitate and expand rental assistance, delay evictions

By Jacob Bielanski

In separate statements, the CFPB, Treasury, and FHFA discussed their latest efforts to assist tenants facing financial hardship, eviction. The White House chimed in as well.

With the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) COVID-19 eviction moratorium due to end, the U.S. Treasury, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Federal Housing Finance Agency separately announced their efforts to assist tenants with avoiding evictions in the coming month and beyond. Cumulatively, the federal agencies unveiled a new website for finding assistance programs, a 30-day notice for nonpayment evictions, and efforts to streamline local governments’ use of $46 billion in rental assistance money. Meanwhile, the Biden administration also outlined its latest efforts to protect tenants and, in light of a recent Supreme Court decision, called on Congress to extend the eviction moratorium.

Generally, the CDC moratorium on evictions will expire on July 31, 2021, and the CDC moratorium applies only to properties backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac or those receiving federal funds, such as funding through Housing and Urban Development programs.

FHFA. "Many families across the country, particularly renters, are still struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic," Acting FHFA Director Sandra Thompson was quoted in a press release announcing new efforts to ensure a 30-day notice is given to tenants facing eviction for nonpayment. "It is important to clearly communicate available protections to both landlords and tenants," she said. Along these lines, the FHFA released a summary of protections for tenants in rental properties with a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage.

White House. Although President Joe Biden would have "strongly supported" an extension of the moratorium by the CDC, according to a release by the White House, the Supreme Court recently ruled that any extension beyond the current July 31, 2021, expiration would require an act of Congress (see Banking and Finance Law Daily, June 30, 2021). The deadline had been previously extended by the CDC Director, the latest of which came last month with only days before its then June 30 expiration. The White House’s July 29 statement calls on Congress to extend the deadline, while directing departments with similar moratoria, such as Veterans Affairs, to extend theirs through the end of September. "The Administration remains committed to doing everything in its power to keep people safely and securely housed, which is essential to the health, well-being and dignity of all of us," the statement said.

CFPB, Treasury. In addition to the FHFA’s new nonpayment eviction requirement, which requires landlords of any multifamily rental unit with mortgages backed by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to provide a 30-day notice before a tenant must vacate, the CFPB and Treasury also announced efforts to help tenants find rental assistance still available from various relief programs implemented throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The Treasury said $25 billion in Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) authorized by the latest appropriations act will continue to run through September of 2022, while an additional $21.5 billion authorized under the American Rescue Plan remains available through September 2025.

To access the funds, the Treasury said it would work with states to streamline rental assistance applications, as well as pointing to a new "Rental Assistance Finder" tool found on the CFPB website. The tool narrows down online resources for location distributing ERA money, based on state and county information. "This money is a win-win for both landlords and renters and a better outcome for all than costly, needless evictions," CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio was quoted in a statement announcing the new website.

In their recent announcements, all three federal regulators made reference to the White House Fact Sheet on initiatives to support housing stability. The June 2021 fact sheet outlines efforts to encourage use of the ERA funds, discusses implementation of the 30-day eviction window, and addresses other items implemented in the most recent announcements.

Companies: Fannie Mae; Freddie Mac

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