The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs) will require servicers to suspend foreclosure activities for up to 60 days if the servicer has been notified that a borrower has applied for assistance under the Department of the Treasury’s Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF).
“FHFA is committed to sustainable homeownership,” said FHFA Acting Director Sandra L. Thompson. “Today’s action will provide borrowers who need temporary mortgage assistance with additional time to be evaluated for relief through their state’s approved Homeownership Assistance Fund.”
Administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, HAF was a pandemic-related, pandemic-related regulation, enacted to prevent mortgage delinquencies and defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacement of homeowners experiencing financial hardship after January 21, 2020. Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, HAF provides up to $9.96 billion for states, territories, and tribal entities to provide financial relief for homeowners.
Under HAF, provided by the Treasury includes: a minimum of $50 million for each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico; $498 million for Tribes or Tribally designated housing entities, and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands; and $30 million for the territories of Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
“The last two years have witnessed the largest drop in eviction filings on record,” said Preliminary Analysis: Eviction Filing Patterns in 2021, a report recently issued by Princeton University’s Eviction Lab. “Last year, millions of renters avoided the threat of eviction thanks to expanded legal protections and new social safety net programs, many of them enacted as part of the American Rescue Plan. For the second year in a row, eviction filings remained well below normal, pre-pandemic levels. The federal government intervened in the eviction crisis in a serious and unprecedented way. Our data show that that intervention has paid off.”
The FHFA continues to monitor the effect of the COVID-19 servicing policies on borrowers, the GSEs, their counterparties, and the mortgage market.