What is the proposed Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act and will it affect you

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May 5, 2020
rent strike new york city

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyday life as many people find themselves unemployed and can’t pay their rent. Read how the proposed Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act could impact you and your living situation.

The Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act is a bill proposed by Representative Ilhan Omar. It is a bill that eliminates all rental and mortgage payments until April next year in order to provide relief and housing stability for Americans. Under this act, these payments are forgiven retroactive to March 13, 2020 so any payments made in April will also be refunded.

Instead, a relief fund will be established for landlords and mortgage holders to cover any losses due to the cancelled payments. However, landlords and lenders must first agree to a set of fair renting and lending practices and terms for five years. Some of these terms include not increasing the rental rate, participating in the Section 8 Housing program, can only evict with “just-cause”, and a few others.

Currently this bill is supported by eight Democrats in the House, but it still needs to get through the Senate, and then signed by the President in order to become a law. It is believed that although this proposed legislation is beneficial to renters and homeowners, it poses many downsides to landlords and investors. Additionally, due to the cost it will take to implement, it is believed that this particular bill has a low possibility of passing. However, many elements from this bill could be taken and pushed forward in future bills that would also offer some financial relief for mortgage borrowers and tenants.

Pros and cons of the proposed bill

So what does the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act mean for homeowners and renters? And what are the positives and negatives to this legislation? We’re here to break it down for you:

Pros:

  • The legislation is a full payment forgiveness, meaning not just a suspension to be paid at a later date, but fully canceled payments until next year April
  • During the time of cancelled payments, there will be no accumulation of debt for renters and homeowners
  • The cancelled payments will have no negative impact on credit rating or rental history
  • There will be cancellation of monthly payments no matter your income level and the amount of rental payment or amount of mortgage payment
  • The bill is retroactive so payments made in April will be reimbursed

Cons

  • This legislation puts landlords and real estate investors into a hard position
  • In order to receive relief from the cancelled payments, landlords and investors have to agree to a set of terms for five years
  • Renters and borrowers can only receive either rent relief or mortgage relief, not both. So if you owe mortgage and also rent a separate space, you can only choose to receive one type of relief
  • Currently there is no estimate on how much this would cost to implement, but it is expected to cost a lot to pay for all American’s housing payments
  • If landlords and investors agree to the set of terms for relief, they are unable to adjust the monthly rent rate in order to compensate for other costs that are affected by inflation

Is it time to buy real estate now?

As the COVID-19 pandemic has affected various aspects of the U.S. markets, is it a good time to buy a house with a mortgage right now and are there even opportunities to buy? Despite the negative outlook on the economy and housing market, there are still plenty of opportunities to purchase a house. Although there is currently low inventory, there are many apartments on the market with price cuts that have great future potential. 

Additionally, mortgage rates have been historically low for some time and even during this pandemic, it has maintained its low rates. However, it is important to note that since the pandemic has made the market unstable, buyers should research and shop carefully for the best rates as it can fluctuate in a small amount of time. Lenders are also still taking on new applications, but due to the lack of staffing, borrowers have to expect the mortgage process to take longer than usual. The traditional application process could also be different as it moves from in-person to online.

With the current discussions of providing relief to tenants and mortgage borrowers, it can be a good opportunity to buy, whether it’s for investment or a starter home. This is because you can possibly invest into a space that has price drops due to the pandemic, low mortgage rates, and potentially payment relief if a legislation is passed in the near future.

Houses for sale New York City

If you’re looking to buy in NYC and take advantage of the low mortgage rates, here are a few apartments and houses for sale currently on the market that have price drops!

322 West 57 Street, #19S

Price: $1,799,999

Neighborhood: Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan

Space: 2 beds, 2 baths, 1,045 sqft

This condo in Manhattan not only has a price drop, but according to Localize’s insights, is considered a low price. This is because its asking price is not only lower than Localize’s price estimate at $2.07m, but is also lower than other similar properties. Not only is this space near Central park, it also has panoramic views of Midtown Manhattan and gets a moderate amount of natural light. The neighborhood it is located has below average crime rates and has 16 transit lines within walking distance and 14 Citi Bike stations nearby.

Is buying an apartment in New York City a good investment?
322 West 57 Street, #19S Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan

220 Riverside Boulevard, #15V

Price: $880,000

Neighborhood: Upper West Side, Manhattan

Space: 1 bed, 1 bath, 707 sqft

This Upper West Side condo is another great opportunity space with a price drop and low price. Its asking price is lower than Localize’s price estimate of $970k and is also lower than other similar properties by at least 5k. The space has 11-foot ceilings with cityscape views and gets a moderate amount of natural light. The apartment is located in a neighborhood with a below average crime rate and the nearby schools are high-rated and is among the strongest for teaching and leadership.

Is it cheaper to buy or rent in NYC?
220 Riverside Boulevard, #15V Upper West Side, Manhattan

1673 Ocean Avenue, #7G

Price: $445,000

Neighborhood: Midwood, Brooklyn

Space: 1 bed, 1 bath, 543 sqft

This Brooklyn apartment is a new development and is expected to finish this summer. There are also other similar units also having price drops. The apartment is in a pet-friendly building, has a private balcony, and is near Brooklyn College. The neighborhood it’s located has slightly below average crime rates and although it has six transit lines nearby and bike lanes available, there are no Citi Bike stations.

Should you rent or buy in NYC?
1673 Ocean Avenue, #7G Midwood, Brooklyn

82 Irving Place, #2B

Price: $600,000

Neighborhood: Gramercy, Manhattan

Space: 1 bed, 1 bath

This apartment space in lower Manhattan has limited natural light of about 1 hour of direct sunlight and 2 hours from the east during the summer and has a renovated kitchen with an island dining. The building is located in the Gramercy Park Historic District and has no violations, no recent building complaints, and no elevator issues. The neighborhood it’s located has slightly below average crime rates and the nearby schools are highly-rated and ranks very high on school quality measures.

How much is a condo in New York City?
82 Irving Place, #2B Gramercy, Manhattan

155 Henry Street, #3D

Price: $599,000

Neighborhood: Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn

Space: 1 bed, 1 bath

This one bedroom apartment is located in a pet-friendly, prewar building in Brooklyn Heights and has oversized windows and a floor to ceiling closet space. The building is also located within the Brooklyn Heights Historic District and currently has 5 open building violations that include water leaks, leaking faucets, and a few other issues. The neighborhood it’s located has below average crime rates and there is a construction site nearby that is estimated to end in 2021.

Is it a good time to buy a house in New York?
155 Henry Street, #3D Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn

560 Mac Donough Street

Price: $1,699,000

Neighborhood: Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

Space: two-family home

This is two-family home in Brooklyn features three king-sized bedrooms, a twin-sized bedroom, and a master bedroom with a walk-in closet. It also still has some of its original prewar details, skylights, formal dining room, garden, 21 windows, 6 decorative fireplaces, and much more. The neighborhood it is located in has slightly above average crime rates and has good connectivity to most hubs with 8 transit lines, bike lanes, and 1 Citi Bike station nearby. 

Homes For Sale: New York
560 Mac Donough Street Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

325 Marine Avenue, #A3

Price: $219,000

Neighborhood: Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

Space: 1 bed, 1 bath, 600 sqft

This apartment space in Bay Ridge has high ceilings, a renovated windowed bath, and eat-in kitchen. Its building amenities include a live-in super and new video security system. There is one construction site near the building and is estimated to end 2022. However, the neighborhood the apartment is located has a below average crime rate and the nearby schools are high-rated as it ranks high on citywide school quality measures and it has strong teaching & leadership.

new york real estate prices
325 Marine Avenue, #A3 Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

With the discussions of financial relief for tenants and borrowers along with the proposal of Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, it can be a great opportunity to purchase housing. This is especially true with the low mortgage rates and listings with price cuts on the market. With all these price drop listings on Localize, you can easily apartment hunt right from your home! Stay safe and happy house hunting.

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