Exhibit A: As of April 5, some 31% of American renting households had not paid for the month, the National Multifamily Housing Council said on Wednesday in a report that follows how the pandemic is affecting the housing market.
“The COVID-19 epidemic has posed significant health and financial challenges for apartment residents and multi-family owners, operators and employees in communities across the country,” said NMHC president Doug Bibby. in a press release.
If 69% of tenant households were able to pay the rent for April, that figure is down from 81% the previous month, according to the group, whose data covers 40 million tenants. Tenants in Louisiana and New York experienced the largest increase in unpaid rent in April.
These financial difficulties arise as millions of workers, most of the country shutting down all activities, except essential businesses, in an effort to contain the virus that causes COVID-19. Economists expect the country’s unemployment rate to double-digit soar this month.
Concerns over those who keep a roof over their heads have led some states, including Arizona, California and Massachusetts, to temporarily suspend evictions.
Bibby said on a conference call Wednesday that most landlords still expect the majority of tenants to continue paying rent. But many landlords work with struggling residents, offering them payment options such as letting people pay in installments or letting tenants use their security deposits as a payment. Other owners waive late fees or credit card transaction fees.
Bibby said he expects more residents to pay April rent in the next two weeks.
“Housing providers have financial obligations that they must meet regularly, including mortgages, utilities, wages, insurance and taxes,” he said. “And if tenants are unable to pay their rent, rental property owners will not have the resources to meet their own financial obligations or manage their communities in a safe and hygienic manner. “
In addition to financial difficulties, other factors likely deterred people from paying rent this month. Tenants who send in their payments or use a deposit box may have been reluctant to venture outside, according to the rent processing companies. Many owners have also temporarily closed their offices, making it difficult for residents who do not pay electronically to make the payment.
“Checks must be deposited, checks must be retrieved – there is a human element in this process,” said Brian Zrimsek of MRI Software, a manufacturer of lease management tools, during the conference call. “People just can’t activate electronic payments if they don’t already have it.” “