Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are extending COVID-19 forbearance for qualifying multifamily property owners through the first quarter of 2021, announced the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The government-sponsored enterprises’ (GSEs’) programs, which require landlords to suspend all evictions for renters unable to pay rent during the forbearance period, were set to expire Dec. 31.

The extension provides additional time for multifamily owners experiencing continued hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to request a new or modified forbearance agreement.

“We are still in the midst of the pandemic, and to continue to provide support for the multifamily market, we are providing additional time for borrowers to request a new or supplemental forbearance agreement,” added Debby Jenkins, head of multifamily at Freddie Mac. “Our forbearance program is just one way that Freddie Mac Multifamily has worked to support multifamily operators and renters throughout COVID-19, and we will continue doing what we can to provide for stability, liquidity, and affordability.”

Multifamily borrowers who enter into new or modified agreements must notify their renters in writing of all protections during forbearance and repayment periods, including:

  • Agreeing not to evict renters for nonpayment of rent while the property is in forbearance;
  • Allowing flexibility for renters to repay back rent over time and not necessarily in a lump sum;
  • Not charging renter late fees or penalties for nonpayment of rent; and
  • Giving renters at least a 30-day notice to vacate.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect communities across the U.S., Fannie Mae is proud to extend forbearance options to protect multifamily tenants and assist property owners financially impacted by COVID-19,” said Michele Evans, executive vice president and head of multifamily. “The forbearance extension will continue to safeguard renters by suspending all evictions for nonpayment of rent and allow for flexible repayments, which will help keep people in their apartments.”

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also have posted the renter protections to their online multifamily lookup tool websites, which make it easy for residents to check to see if they are living in a multifamily property with a GSE-backed mortgage.