How coronavirus disruption could impact multifamily landlords, lenders

Landlords group seeks mortgage forbearance

The coronavirus pandemic has already caused widespread layoffs as businesses have had to close as part of efforts to stem the virus’s spread.

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With so many people out of work, landlords could be the next group to feel a financial squeeze.

Owners of “low- to moderate-income” multifamily properties will likely take a hit first, The Real Deal reported. Roy Chun, a managing director at Kroll Bond Rating Agency, told the publication that those tenants are more likely to be living paycheck to paycheck, so “they’re going to have a hard time during a period of economic disruption."

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Smaller landlords with 10-20 units “may have a harder time” than bigger landlords because they likely don’t have the same credit lines, Chun told The Real Deal.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced plans this week for an eviction moratorium for single-family homeowners, though most renters would not be eligible for the protections, the Associated Press reported. But many communities across the country have also enacted various kinds of eviction moratoriums to protect owners and renters.

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Exterior view of old apartment buildings in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City

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In order to provide relief for multifamily property owners, the National Apartment Association is asking Congress to provide mortgage forbearance for landlords and financial assistance for renters, among other forms of relief.

“Similar to renters, housing providers face impending financial challenges, in particular, if they themselves fall ill and cannot work, or have reduced income due to eviction moratoriums,” the group said in a written statement. “We understand that industry professionals remain concerned about their ability to pay mortgage payments, employee payroll and benefits, insurance premiums and tax obligations in the current environment.”

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