Federal Housing Authorities Act to Protect Renters at the Request of Waters, Sherman, and Clay
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the country’s two largest housing market participants, have launched databases available online to allow renters to find out whether they are covered by federal eviction protections provided by the CARES Act. This announcement comes after Chairwoman Maxine Waters, Congressman Brad Sherman, Chair of the Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets, and Congressman Lacy Clay, Chair of the Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development and Insurance, have repeatedly called on FHFA to make this information publicly available.
The Cares Act, the most significant COVID-19 response legislation which was adopted March 27th, provides that landlords who have benefited from certain federal government assistance cannot take any legal action on eviction or rent collection, and cannot evict tenants during the COVID-19 crisis. However, until now, the federal government has not provided a way for tenants to know whether residents of their building are entitled to this relief.
Roughly Half of All Rental Properties Nationwide are Covered by Protections
Tenants simply do not know how their landlord financed the acquisition or improvement of their building, let alone whether federal agencies were involved in guaranteeing or providing the mortgage. For this reason, Chairwoman Waters, Congressman Sherman, and Congressman Clay have recently urged FHFA to publish a list of which properties have benefited from Fannie and Freddie’s involvement and accordingly which buildings are eligible for federal tenant protection. Most recently, on April 16, Congressman Sherman and Congressman Clay sent a letter to FHFA Director Mark Calabria and several Cabinet members, urging the creation of this sort of public database.
“California and the city of Los Angeles have also acted to protect tenants from eviction,” said Congressman Sherman. “This measure will provide additional protection to tenants in the San Fernando Valley and will provide the only protection available for millions of tenants across the country.”
With these new tools, tenants can simply go to Fannie and Freddie’s Multifamily Loan Lookup Tools, search the address of their building and determine whether they're eligible for the federal protection. Roughly half of all rental properties in the country receive some form of federal support and are covered by this provision of the CARES Act. Tenants will need to check both websites to see if their building is covered.