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CoronavirusReal Estate

NAR urges Congress to pass emergency rental assistance for housing providers

Warns of a "larger crisis" if eviction moratorium isn't paired with mortgage forbearance for providers

Ahead of a hearing by the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development and Insurance on Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors is urging Congress to take action on emergency rental assistance, both for renters and the owners of their housing.

Although many states have enacted eviction moratoriums during the COVID-19 pandemic, some have been lifted.

“As the pandemic continues, we are encouraged by the signs of communities and businesses reopening,” a statement from NAR said. “As unemployment rates start to slow, our nation has started on the path to economic recovery. But some renters may still be struggling to pay their rent. The prohibition on eviction ensures these residents will not lose their housing – but may make that housing unsustainable in the long run.”

The statement says that the forbearance for federal properties helped, but was short-lived. This forbearance promised eviction protection to renters for 120 days plus a 30-day notice, while housing providers were provided only 90 days of forbearance.

“The National Association of Realtors urges support for emergency rental assistance,” the statement said. “Direct federal rental assistance to housing providers will help alleviate some of the financial strain on the industry and stop the cascading effects on local economies. We also believe that any extension of the eviction moratorium should be narrowly tailored to provide relief to renters who are financially impacted due to COVID-19, as is required for housing providers seeking relief. Furthermore, the eviction moratorium should be matched with mortgage forbearance relief for housing providers.”

NAR said that this forbearance will have a “ripple effect” on mortgage liquidity. NAR suggested that Congress directs the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Secretary of the Treasury to extend credit to multifamily mortgage servicers and other obligated advancing parties that have liquidity needs due to the COVID–19 emergency or due to the actual or imminent delinquency or default on mortgage loans due to the COVID–19 emergency.

NAR continues to say that multifamily liquidity will “dry up,”

“Let us make sure we do not end up with a larger housing crisis as a result,” the statement reads. “Realtors stand ready to work with you on this important issue.”

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