Letters to Regulators: Joint Letter to FHFA, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac on the need to notify tenants of applicable protections during COVID-19

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Via electronic submission


July 21, 2020


Dr. Mark Calabria, Director

Federal Housing Finance Agency


Jeffery Hayward, Executive Vice President and Head of Multifamily

Fannie Mae Multifamily Division


Debby Jenkins, Executive Vice President, Head of Multifamily Business

Freddie Mac Multifamily


Dear Director Calabria, Mr. Hayward and Ms. Jenkins:


The 60 undersigned organizations write to ask the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to take steps to ensure that all tenants (including residents of manufactured housing communities) living in properties with GSE-backed multifamily mortgages are aware of the protections available to them under recent FHFA and GSE guidance regarding forbearances for multifamily mortgage borrowers.


As you know, the 120-day moratorium on evictions in section 4024 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act expires on July 25, 2020. Most state and local eviction protections have also expired or are due to expire at the end of July. Yet the pandemic is far from over, and many American families are continuing to struggle to pay their rent because of the far-reaching health and economic effects of this crisis. Tenants are still in need of protections against eviction to safeguard their homes, which remain the first line of defense against COVID-19.


We believe that an extension and expansion of the CARES Act eviction moratorium that covers all rental housing for the duration of the emergency would be a crucial step to help avert the fast-approaching eviction crisis the country is facing. In the absence of such broader measures, however, and to the extent that only some tenants remain protected, it is even more critical that tenants are made aware of any continuing protections against eviction that apply to them so that they can rely on and enforce them if a covered landlord acts in contravention of applicable restrictions.


We welcome the FHFA’s June 29, 2020, announcement regarding continuing protections for tenants in multifamily properties where the owner has received a forbearance. However, we believe that the guidance and information provided by the FHFA and the GSEs does not adequately ensure that affected tenants will learn of and be able to benefit from those protections.


First, as discussed in our May 1, 2020, letter to the FHFA and other federal agencies, tenants generally are not privy to whether their landlord has a GSE-backed mortgage. The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac multifamily lookup tools have helped many tenants obtain this information, but in a number of instances the information in those databases appears to be incomplete, outdated and/or inaccurate.


Second, even if a tenant is able to confirm that the landlord’s mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, there is no way for the tenant to know whether or not their landlord has received a forbearance on the mortgage, how long the forbearance lasts, or whether the forbearance has been extended. As far as we can determine, the resources for renters on the GSEs’ websites make no mention of the protections relating to multifamily mortgage forbearances or of how to determine if a particular landlord has a forbearance. There is also nothing about these topics elsewhere on the FHFA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac websites other than the densely written guidance directed to lenders.


Tenants must be able to determine whether their homes qualify for this relief so that they can plan accordingly and protect themselves when necessary. We therefore urge you to:


  • Direct the GSEs to update their resources for renters to include information about forbearance-related protections;
  • Require that multifamily borrowers who have received forbearances notify their tenants in writing that they are covered by the protections FHFA requires and of when those protections expire as a condition of forbearance;
  • Maintain and make publicly available a real-time database that is easily accessible (including for LEP tenants and tenants with disabilities) and searchable by tenants, allowing them to determine whether the owner of their property has received a forbearance and when that forbearance expires; and
  • Take steps to monitor the efficacy of and, if necessary, enforce the forbearance-related tenant protection requirements.


Thank you for your consideration of this important issue. Please contact Linda Jun at linda@ourfinancialsecurity.org or Lisa Sitkin at lsitkin@nhlp.org with any further questions on this matter.




Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund

African American Health Alliance

American Civil Liberties Union

California Reinvestment Coalition

Center for Community Progress

Center for Community Progress

Center for Disability Rights

Center for Responsible Lending

Community Legal Services of Philadelphia

Connecticut Fair Housing Center

Consumer Action

DeSales Community Development

Disability Rights Florida

Greater Boston Legal Services

Greater Napa Valley Fair Housing Center

Grounded Solutions Network

Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln

Housing Choice Partners

Housing Justice Center

Human Rights Campaign

Inner City Law Center

Ironbound Community Corporation

Lantern Community Services

Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center

Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council

MH Action

Michigan Mobile Home Residents For Affordable Housing


National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations

National Association for County Community and Economic Development

National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders

National CAPACD

National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC)

National Fair Housing Alliance

National Housing Law Project

National Housing Resource Center

National NeighborWorks Association

National Women’s Law Center

Nebraska Appleseed

Nebraska Housing Developers Association

New Haven Legal Assistance Association

New Jersey Appleseed Public Interest Law Center

New Jersey Citizen Action

NHS Brooklyn, CDC Inc.

North Carolina Justice Center

Old North St. Louis Restoration Group


Private Equity Stakeholder Project

Public Counsel

Public Justice Center

Public Law Center


Shriver Center on Poverty Law


The Equal Rights Center

The Public Interest Law Project


Vermont Legal Aid, Inc.

Washington University Civil Rights & Mediation Clinic

Woodstock Institute