CARES Act: US House Committee Releases Answers

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Relevant excerpt on Renter-related questions:


Q. What kind of relief is provided for renters under this bill?

 For renters living in “covered dwellings” (see next Q&A below for this definition), this bill provides a temporary moratorium on evictions as well as late fees for nonpayment of rent or other charges for a period of 120 days starting on March 27, 2020. Further, landlords would not be allowed to issue a notice to vacate until after this temporary moratorium and they would not be allowed to require a tenant to actually vacate the unit until 30 days after the notice is given. Renters should be advised that the moratorium only applies to evictions for nonpayment of rent, not for other causes. Renters should also be advised that although they may be protected from eviction proceedings temporarily under this bill, the bill does not treat nonpayment of rent during this period as forgiven and these unpaid amounts will accrue during this period even if fees are not assessed.

Renters should not have to do anything to benefit from this prohibition on evictions and late fees. Renters who believe their landlord is out of compliance with these provisions should contact their local legal aid or the relevant federal agency (i.e. the agency providing subsidies or federal mortgage backing for the property; see the next Q&A below for more info).

Q. What is a “covered dwelling”?

 Renters are protected by this temporary moratorium on evictions and late fees if they live in a “covered dwelling,” which can generally be defined as a rental home that is receiving federal subsidies or a property with a federally backed mortgage. Specifically, this includes rental housing supported by the following federal housing programs:

  • Public housing;
  • Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers;
  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance;  
  • Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly;
  • Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities;
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA);
  • McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance grants;
  • Section 236 Preservation program;
  • HOME investment partnerships;
  • Rural Development multifamily housing (Section 516 Farm Labor Housing Grants, Section 542 Rural Development Vouchers, Section 521 Rural Rental Assistance, Section 533 Housing Preservation grants);
  • the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program;

It also includes rental housing with a single-family or multifamily mortgage that is

  • purchased or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac;
  • insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA);
  • guaranteed, directly provided by, or insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA);
  • guaranteed, directly provided by, or insured by the Department of Agriculture (USDA); or
  • guaranteed under HUD’s Native American or Native Hawaiian Home Loan Guarantee programs.


Rental Property Owners

Q. What kind of assistance is available to rental property owners under this bill?

Rental property owners with federally backed mortgages who may be having difficulty making mortgage payments due to nonpayment of rent will have access to mortgage forbearance. Single-family (1-4 units) rental property owners will have access to the same relief as single-family homeowners described above. Certain multifamily (5 or more units) rental property owners with federally backed loans will have access to forbearance for a period of 30 days, and that period can be extended for up to 2 additional 30-day periods upon request, with the option to discontinue the forbearance at any point. Some lenders may voluntarily provide forbearance or other relief even if they are not federally backed loans. Rental property owners should reach out to their mortgage servicers if they need assistance, regardless of whether their loan is federally backed.