Fannie, Freddie extend freeze on some foreclosures, evictions amid coronavirus pandemic

The protections were scheduled to lapse on Aug. 31

A federal housing authority extended freezes on some foreclosures and evictions through the end of the year, a move designed to help homeowners and renters struggling financially because of the coronavirus pandemic

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The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced Thursday that mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will extend the freeze on foreclosures and evictions on single-family homes until at least Dec. 31. The protections were scheduled to lapse on Aug. 31.

The continuation of the moratorium will protect an estimated 28 million homeowners, according to FHFA director Mark Calabria. The temporary freeze on foreclosures only applies to Fannie- or Freddie-backed, single-family mortgages, while the pause on evictions only affects tenants who live in properties that have been acquired by Fannie or Freddie because of foreclosure.

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"Fannie Mae, along with our lending and servicing partners, remains committed to supporting households who are experiencing job loss, a reduction in work hours or income, or other issues due to COVID-19," Malloy Evans, senior vice president and single-family chief credit officer of Fannie Mae, said in a statement.

Between 30 million and 40 million Americans are at risk of eviction over the next several months – a result of the pandemic and subsequent economic recession, according to a report released in early August by the Aspen Institute.

"Renters experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 have exhausted their resources and limited funds just as eviction moratoriums and emergency relief across the United States expire," said the report, which is aggregated from existing research. "Without intervention, the housing crisis will result in significant harm to renters and property owners."

When the novel coronavirus began rapidly spreading across the U.S. in mid-March, prompting an unprecedented shutdown of the nation's economy, lawmakers took swift action to protect renters and homeowners from financial fallout.

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Congress passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, which included an eviction freeze that protected about 12 million renters in federally backed properties. But that moratorium expired at the end of July, leaving the fate of some renters up in the air. White House officials and top Democrats remain at a weekslong impasse over another aid package.

There are some 110 million Americans living in rental households; up to 23 million renters – or 20% – are at risk of eviction by Sept. 30, according to an analysis by the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project.

For tenants living in privately backed properties, the eviction bans vary by state. You can check the status here.

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