The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued on Tuesday a request for input (RFI) regarding protections for tenants at multifamily housing properties backed by mortgages from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
In particular, the FHFA wants to “solicit public input on issues faced by tenants in multifamily properties, and on any opportunities and potential impacts associated with requiring or encouraging specific tenant protections at multifamily properties backed by [the GSEs],” the RFI states. “FHFA seeks feedback from a diverse set of viewpoints on issues related to multifamily tenant protections.”
The government-sponsored entities (GSEs) have a responsibility to “not only ensure liquidity is available for affordable rental housing, but also to address challenges faced by tenants and property owners in the multifamily housing market,” the RFI notes.
“The Enterprises have a responsibility to not only ensure liquidity is available for affordable rental housing, but also to address challenges faced by tenants and property owners in the multifamily housing market,” said FHFA Director Sandra Thompson in an announcement. “FHFA is seeking public input to help identify these challenges nationwide, particularly in underserved communities.”
Citing the GSEs’ charter acts as an example, Fannie and Freddie are required to assess underwriting standards, policies and business practices that could impact low-to-moderate income families as part of their annual reports, the RFI states.
“[These practices include] how their activities support the objectives of comprehensive housing affordability strategies under related statutes,” the RFI notes.
It also cites the GSEs’ duty to serve eligible manufactured housing communities, how COVID-19 tenant protections should be taken into account for future policies, existing voluntary multifamily tenant protection programs, and housing choice and credit-building programs already in place.
The justification for this RFI comes from observations made during recent bouts of housing tumult, according to the FHFA.
“FHFA took a number of actions that provided multifamily tenant protections and support for multifamily property owners during the COVID-19 national emergency,” the agency said. “FHFA’s decision to evaluate the Enterprises’ multifamily tenant standards is based on lessons learned from COVID-19, rising rents, and a shortage of safe and affordable housing in America.”
Stakeholders are permitted to submit feedback through July 31 through the FHFA agency website or by traditional mail.