The largest-ever stimulus bill in U.S. history includes $250 billion in direct checks to Americans and boosts unemployment benefits to help people pay their bills, including mortgages, while the nation struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The legislation also includes $100 billion in grants for hospitals dealing with shortages of protective equipment as they care for a deluge of people sickened by the highly contagious COVID-19. It also provides $16 billion to stockpile medical equipment and $150 billion in aid to state and local governments coping with the outbreak.
But where does that leave multifamily housing?
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website, “Multifamily Housing encourages all owners to work with impacted residents and families to adjust rent payments, enter into forbearance agreements, and lessen the impact on affected residents. At this time, no additional subsidy funding has been made available.”
The package says that multifamily owners that were on time on their mortgage payments as of February 1, but are now facing financial hardships due to the COVID-19 crisis, can seek temporary forbearance by submitting requests to their lenders.
National Multifamily Housing Council Vice President for Government Affairs, Kevin Donnelly, told HousingWire that whether or not apartments make tenants pay rent is a case-by-case basis.
“Nothing that we’ve seen either at the state, local or federal level at this point, relieves anyone of their rental obligations, or rental payment obligations as we approach April 1 and beyond,” Donnelly said. “What we saw as a result of last week’s federal package, were essentially three tranches of relief that the multifamily industry and its residents will benefit from.”
National Apartment Association Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, Greg Brown, said that rental housing owners and operators will see consequences without rent being paid.
“The economic effects of COVID-19 are felt in all sectors of the rental housing industry, especially with rent and mortgage payments looming,” Brown said. “However, without rental revenue or further legislative relief measures, rental housing owners and operators will face significant financial consequences and our nation’s limited housing stock will be damaged. We encourage all residents to proactively work with their housing provider if they cannot pay as we continue to work with Congress to address the needs of apartment residents, owners and operators.”