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Landlord Interests Speak Up For Bailout

Bracing for the fallout from the biggest surge in unemployment in U.S. history and a lagging government stimulus, some in the multifamily industry say they should be next in line for a bailout. 

Eitel Apartments, Minneapolis

On top of slowdowns in leasing and tours, residential landlords must contend with shortfalls in revenue that will likely put thousands of buildings at risk of foreclosure. 

Those with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have a cushion thanks to forbearance on those loans announced last week, but the 60% or so without agency loans so far aren't that lucky, CityLab reports.

“The bottom line is that if renters are struggling to afford the rent, owners will similarly struggle to not only pay all of their employees, but meet their own mortgage obligations — putting their buildings at risk of foreclosure,” National Multifamily Housing Council Vice President of Strategic Communications Jim Lapides told the publication.

The NMHC has spoken out for tenant protections as well. Last week, it urged multifamily owners to implement a 90-day freeze on evictions and rent hikes

In the same announcement, the group also called on the federal government to extend mortgage forbearance.

"Congress must extend mortgage forbearance to rental property owners and extend similar protections to other financial obligations such as insurance premiums, utility service payments and tax liabilities," it said.

Larry Florin, CEO of Burbank Housing, a Bay Area affordable housing developer with about 4,000 tenants, said the worst is to come in May, which would give federal policymakers some time to get a plan together.

"We’re offering up to three months forebears with proof of impact," Florin told Bisnow in an email. "So far only 25 residents have contacted us but [we anticipate] that number will grow exponentially."