Cities and states across the country are already suspending evictions and foreclosures in response to the spread of the coronavirus, but the federal government is taking the biggest step so far to keep people in their homes.
President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that the Department of Housing and Urban Development is suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April.
Beyond that, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced Wednesday that it is directing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosures and evictions for “at least 60 days.” That would mean the moratorium lasts through mid-May, at least.
According to the FHFA, the foreclosure and eviction suspension applies to homeowners whose single-family mortgage is backed by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
“This foreclosure and eviction suspension allows homeowners with an Enterprise-backed mortgage to stay in their homes during this national emergency,” FHFA Director Mark Calabria said in a statement.
Given that Fannie and Freddie are the largest mortgage financers in the country, the move is a sizable one.
“As a reminder, borrowers affected by the coronavirus who are having difficulty paying their mortgage, should reach out to their mortgage servicers as soon as possible,” Calabria added. “The Enterprises are working with mortgage servicers to ensure that borrowers facing hardship because of the coronavirus can get assistance.”
Earlier this month, the FHFA and HUD reminded mortgage servicers of their options for borrowers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Included among those options is payment forbearance, which would allow affected borrowers to suspend their mortgage payment for up to 12 months due to hardship caused by the coronavirus.
As for HUD, Trump made the announcement during a Wednesday press conference discussing the growing impact of COVID-19.
“The Department of Housing and Urban Development is providing immediate relief to renters and homeowners by suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April,” Trump said. “So, we’re working very closely with Dr. Ben Carson and everybody from HUD.”