Feds Step In So Group Homes Can Get Mortgages
Federal officials are working to ensure that financing doesn’t get in the way of developing new group homes.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Finance Agency say that Freddie Mac is clarifying its policies related to home loans for properties owned by an individual and rented to a group home for people with disabilities.
Freddie Mac, a government-backed corporation that buys up mortgages from lenders, is making clear that it will purchase loans secured by these types of homes. Freddie Mac said that it has always been willing to buy mortgages secured by group homes, but the policies in the latest version of its Seller/Servicer Guide released earlier this month are intended to clear up confusion.
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“We have updated our property eligibility requirements to specifically state that a property being used as a group home for individuals with disabilities is not considered an ineligible property. A mortgage secured by such a property may be eligible for sale, provided it meets our guide requirements,” the guide states.
The move comes after a Department of Housing and Urban Development investigation of a mortgage lender who declined to loan money to a homeowner who was renting to a company operating a group home. The lender refused the loan based on the inaccurate belief that Freddie Mac would not buy the mortgage.
In response, Freddie Mac worked with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Finance Agency to revise its policies.
“Clarifying these policies regarding the eligibility of group homes for the secondary mortgage market is an important step to fulfilling the Fair Housing Act’s promise of providing individuals with disabilities equal access to housing opportunities,” said Marcia Fudge, secretary of housing and urban development.
The updated policies should work to encourage lenders to provide mortgages for properties that will be used for group homes and allow for more community-based living options for people with disabilities, the Department of Housing and Urban Development said.
The federal agency noted that group homes must still meet other eligibility requirements in order for mortgages to be acquired by Freddie Mac.