Friday, January 30, 2009

Freddie Mac Extends Eviction Suspension Until March, Launches Rental Option for Foreclosed Borrowers, Tenants

/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE) today announced it is extending its suspension of evictions triggered by foreclosures on single family properties with Freddie Mac-owned mortgages through February 28, 2009. Freddie Mac is simultaneously launching a new strategy to offer qualified owner-occupants and tenants leases so they can rent the properties on a month-to-month basis after foreclosure.

"First and foremost, Freddie Mac's REO Rental Option is intended to help cushion the impact of foreclosure on families who own or rent homes with Freddie Mac-owned mortgages," said David M. Moffett, Chief Executive Officer of Freddie Mac. "At the same time keeping foreclosed properties occupied and in better repair will support local property values and promote a faster recovery in the housing market."

Under the REO Rental Option, leases will be offered to current renters on a month-to-month basis at market rents or the rent amount they were paying prior to foreclosure, whichever is less. The rent for former owner-occupants will be the market rent, which will determined by the property management firm Freddie Mac contracted to manage the program.

To qualify, current tenants and former owner-occupants must be able to demonstrate they have adequate income to pay the monthly rental amount. The home must also meet applicable building codes, or can be affordably brought into compliance, to be eligible.

Freddie Mac will also explore loan modification options that may enable owner-occupants to retain ownership of their homes by reinstating their mortgage with modified terms.

"In about half of all foreclosure sales there is no conversation between the borrower and the mortgage servicer about workouts. Before starting the eviction process, we want to ensure there is one last effort to achieve a workout," explained Ingrid Beckles, Senior Vice President of Default Asset Management at Freddie Mac.

In 2008 Freddie Mac approved more than 87,485 workouts, enabling three out of five of its seriously delinquent borrowers to avoid foreclosure.

Freddie Mac gives lenders servicing its mortgages broad authority to help troubled borrowers before they miss a payment through forbearance as well as provide permanent rate reductions, mortgage term extensions or other modifications to borrowers who are already delinquent. Freddie Mac workout options include the Streamlined Modification Program developed with Fannie Mae, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), HOPE Now and 27 mortgage servicers to expedite loan modifications for eligible borrowers who have missed three or more mortgage payments. (For more about Freddie Mac workout options, see freddiemac.com/avoiding_foreclosure.)

Freddie Mac was established by Congress in 1970 to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the nation's residential mortgage markets. Freddie Mac supports communities across the nation by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Over the years, Freddie Mac has made home possible for one in six homebuyers and more than five million renters.

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