Apartment operators with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans will gain additional relief through March 31, while protections for renters will continue.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have extended their COVID-19 mortgage forbearance programs for multifamily landlords through March 31, 2021, providing more flexibility for struggling property owners as well as protections for renters at a time of continuing stress for the industry.

The programs were due to expire Thursday, December 31, before the extensions announced by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) last week. The move gives multifamily operators more time to request new or supplemental forbearance agreements if they are facing pandemic-related financial hardship.

Under the policy, renters may not be evicted solely for nonpayment of rent while the property is in forbearance; they must be given 30 days’ notice of any eviction; and they must be allowed to repay back rent over a period of time rather than in a lump sum.

The FHFA’s announcement came in the same week that the federal government provided more protections for cash-strapped renters. Yesterday, President Donald Trump signed a $2.4 trillion spending and stimulus package that includes $25 billion in rental assistance and a one-month extension of the Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s nationwide eviction moratorium through January 31.

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