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The $2.2 Trillion Stimulus Package and How it affects the Multifamily Housing Industry

Posted By: Robert Carroll (Member) Industry News ,

In late March, Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or "CARES Act,” to provide relief for individuals and businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Several provisions of the CARES Act (Phase III) are likely to have the biggest impact on the multifamily housing industry. What follows is a summary of these provisions, as well as some of the shortfalls. It is hoped that in the near future, these problems will be addressed. Keep in mind that Congress will soon start working on a Phase IV stimulus package.

To view the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” or the “CARES Act,” please click here.

Please access this FAQ of the CARES Act by the US House Committee on Financial Services.

NAA has also released their analysis of the CARES Act as it relates to multifamily housing. 

Federal Mortgages

This bill echoes the announcement made by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac earlier last week. It allows 90 days of forbearance for multifamily borrowers of federally backed loans who experience coronavirus-related financial hardship. Owners who benefit from the program may not evict or charge late fees to tenants during the 90 days. Owners whose mortgages are insured by HUD may not evict tenants or charge late fees for 120 days from the start of the relief program.*

*The eviction moratorium applies to all rental housing providers whose properties are insured, guaranteed, supplemented, protected, or assisted in any way by HUD, the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac, or participate in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.

  • Shortfalls:
    • The moratorium does not provide protections against foreclosure when the landlord’s mortgage is not federally backed, nor does not cover all types of mortgages.
    • It also provides only 90 days of forbearance, which is out of alignment with the 120-day eviction moratorium. This bill places a national moratorium on evictions, when it should only apply specifically to those affected by the virus. 

To read more about the FHFA announcement, please click here.

Direct Deposits for Citizens

U.S. renters and landlords hoping to see their rents paid will be happy to hear that citizens will receive a direct cash payment from the federal government. Payments will be $1,200 per person for those earning up to $75,000. The benefits would then gradually decrease until incomes reach a maximum of $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for couples. Families with children would receive an additional $500 per child. Checks may be cut as early as April 6.

Note: The payments will be determined based on your 2019 tax return. If you have not filed your 2019 tax return then it will be based on your 2018 tax return. 

Unemployment

About $260 billion will be designated to bolstering unemployment benefits. Unemployment claims for the week in March rose to 3.28 million, according to the Department of Labor. The stimulus package will give unemployed workers an extra $600 a week for four months on top of their state benefits. The bill also extends unemployment coverage by an additional 13 weeks. This bill includes provisions for self-employed citizens, independent contractors, and part-time employees if they are affected by COVID-19.

  • Shortfalls:
    • The Center for Economic Policy and Research noted that the stimulus bill does not include substantial emergency rental or mortgage assistance for non-homeless citizens or full-time workers. 

Homeless Grants, HUD Public Housing, and Tribal Programs

The CARES Act also includes $4 billion for homeless assistance grants, $17 billion for HUD public housing and rental assistance programs, and $300 million for tribal housing programs.

Some HUD program specific funding:

  • $1.25 billion for tenant-based rental assistance (Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers)
  • $1 billion for Project Based Section 8 (contracts)
  • $5 billion toward the Community Development Block Grants
  • $65 million for housing for the elderly and persons with disabilities for rental assistance, service coordinators, and support services.
  • $65 million for Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS for rental assistance, service coordinators, and support services.
  • Shortfalls:
    • Gives broad authority to the HUD secretary to waive requirements for HUD programs. This may allow the HUD secretary to waive certain Section 8 voucher requirements. 

Low Interest Loans for Small Businesses 

The stimulus package provides $350 billion for Small Business Administration (SBA) loans. The loans may provide up to $10 million to small businesses in order to make payroll, and pay rent, mortgage interest, and utilities. These loans will be available to companies with 500 employees or fewer. However, the definition of "small business" for companies within the multifamily housing industry is based on gross receipts rather than staff size. 

To learn more about SBA loan assistance, please click here.

Note: The SBA announced the following statement on April 16th, "SBA is unable to accept new applications at this time for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)-COVID-19 related assistance program (including EIDL Advances) based on available appropriations funding." This announcement includes the Paycheck Protection Program. Congress is currently working on providing more funding for SBA loans. We will update this page when new information is available. 

Five-Year Carryback of Net Operating Losses

This assistance allows for businesses to recover some of their operating losses. If a business had a loss in 2019 or 2018, the business can apply that loss to taxes previously paid going back five years. This will allow a business to recover income taxes paid in those years. The government will then send the money back to the business in order for them to generate cash flow.

State and Local Governments

State and local governments will receive $150 billion to help ease the financial burden of responding to COVID-19. According to US News, Florida is expected to receive $8.328 billion from the federal government. 

Employers

Employers can defer the 6.2% tax they must pay on wages for Social Security. However, this tax must eventually be paid over the following two years. 

Employee Retention Tax Credit

This program rewards employers who retain their employees during this time. If a business does not lay employees off, that business will receive a 50% tax credit for wages paid.

NoteEmployers are eligible if they have been fully or partially suspended as a result of a government order, or if they experience a 50 % reduction in quarterly receipts as a result of the crisis.

Consumer Credit Collection

The legislation also includes a provision to protect consumers’ credit reports if they need to make loan modifications related to the coronavirus. The bill prohibits a community from reporting a tenant’s negative credit if said tenant enters into a rental agreement with the community for the purpose of reduced payments. 

Phase II RECAP

Congress passed Phase II of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act on March 18, 2020. This bill seeks to address some of the economic implications of COVID-19. In the bill, employers with fewer than 500 employees must provide full-time employees with two weeks of paid sick leave at the regular rate of pay for circumstances related to the virus. Part-time employees are entitled to paid sick time equal to the number of hours they work on average. 

The US Department of Labor put together a resource page that answers frequently asked questions on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. To access this information, please click here

NAA and Congress

Congress is already planning a Phase IV stimulus package, however, the details of that bill are yet to be determined. NAA is working hard to address some of the shortcomings of Phase III, and is urging Congress to correct them in the Phase IV bill. NAA and FAA will update members with any new, relevant information as it comes available. 

To read more about NAA’s work on addressing the problems with the Phase III stimulus package, please click here.

Additional Resources:

NAA Coronavirus Guidance Page: Coronavirus for Property Management

NAA Micro-Webinar Explaining Phases I, II, and III: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6KlSl-ITo0

FAA Coronavirus Resource Page: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance