Biden administration extends eviction freeze: What to do if you’re struggling to make payments

The Biden administration is extending its eviction moratorium, but calls on Congress to do more. (iStock)

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) each announced Friday that their coronavirus pandemic-driven eviction moratoria, which protect homeowners and renters from eviction in the event of nonpayment of rent, will be extended through Sept. 30, 2021.

The FHFA's single-family real estate owned (REO) moratorium was set to expire on July 31, 2021 and applies to properties acquired by mortgage giants Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac through foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transactions or properties backed by the FHA.

"The pandemic continues to have an outsized impact on the ability of Americans to meet their monthly rent or mortgage payments," FHFA Acting Director Sandra Thompson said in a statement. "Today’s extension of the eviction moratorium protects particularly vulnerable Americans who otherwise would be at risk of losing a place to live."

Currently, more than seven million renters were behind on their rent in May, and about half of those renters are at risk of eviction in the coming months, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. If you're experiencing similar financial hardship, you can visit Credible to compare options on personal loans, for example, to help you catch up on your payments.


Extending help to those most affected by economic shutdowns

The extensions are part of President Joe Biden’s announcement that federal agencies will use their authority to extend their respective eviction moratoria through the end of September, which will provide continued protection for households living within federally insured, single-family properties. The White House is now calling on Congress to extend the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) current eviction prevention efforts for all Americans, since Congress would have to authorize any further ban on evictions due to a new Supreme Court ruling that the CDC lacks the authority.

But Democrats are struggling to come up with the votes needed since many moderate Democrats oppose the extension. Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling on the CDC to extend the moratorium, saying simply "I think the CDC can."

"While there are programs in place in various states and principalities to provide assistance to renters either in terms of financial support or in the eviction process, ultimately once the moratorium expires there are few protections for renters who are unable to pay," said Matthew Kramer, partner at Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial, which provides outside counsel to landlords and tenants on a wide array of real estate and lease transactions.

If you're looking at a possible eviction in the coming months and are struggling to make mortgage or rent payments, visit Credible to see financial options available to you. For example, you could get a low-interest personal loan to help catch up on missed payments.


What options are available?

After the moratorium expires, many renters will be left with few options to catch up on their payments and avoid eviction, Kramer explained.

"Renters who must vacate their homes may attempt to apply for financial assistance in a state or city program or utilize, in court or out of court, a resolution process that likely requires the landlord to consent," he said. "Beyond these options, they really don’t have many protections other than to stay in the home for as long as possible until the eviction is completed, which varies in duration by state."

However, there are still several other options available that renters and homeowners can look into in order to catch up on their missed payments or ensure they are able to make payments in the future:

1. Refinance their mortgage: If homeowners are struggling to make their payments, the federal government has several modification options available to help reduce their payments by up to 25%. They can also choose to refinance their mortgage, saving hundreds on their monthly payment due to low interest rates and other possibilities such as removing mortgage insurance. Visit Credible to compare mortgage rates from multiple lenders at once and choose which one works best for you.


2. Reach out for help: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is working to help renters, and has a website through which they and landlords can apply to receive money funded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance program.

Those funds will be distributed by state and local organizations and can be used to help pay rent, utility bills and moving costs. The CFPB’s new rental assistance finder tool helps renters find assistance close to them.

3. Take out a personal loan: While there are many options available for homeowners to consider, renters face a more difficult challenge. If you're a renter and have exhausted other options like rental assistance, you may want to consider taking out a personal loan while interest rates are at all-time lows.

When it comes to personal loan shopping, Credible can do the heavy lifting for you. With the click of a button, you can view multiple lenders, rates, and terms in one spot. Get a jump start on your personal loan shopping today.

Wrapping it up

Those who have been evicted and are seeking somewhere to call home face a challenging market. However, the demand could spur the creation of more affordable housing units.

"It’s a challenging market right now to buy and to rent," Kramer said. "There is very little inventory, and large cities across the country are facing shortages in housing options, affordable housing options in particular. It’s a supply and demand issue that perhaps will spur on more affordable housing projects and the like."

For now, many will have more time to consider their options after the Biden administration's move to extend the eviction moratorium until September.

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