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As market rate renters keep up payments, worry grows for the rest

The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC)’s Rent Payment Tracker found 89.0 percent of apartment households made a full or partial rent payment by June 13 in its survey of 11.4 million units of professionally managed apartment units across the country.

This is a 0.1-percentage point increase from the share who paid rent through June 13, 2019 and compares to 87.7 percent that had paid by May 13, 2020. These data encompass a wide variety of market-rate rental properties across the United States, which can vary by size, type and average rental price.

DOUG BIBBY


“Once again, it appears that residents of professionally managed apartments were able to largely pay their rent,” said Doug Bibby, NMHC President. “However, there is a growing realization that renters outside of this universe are experiencing profound hardships as the nation continues to grapple with historic unemployment and economic dislocation.


“In the midst of a pandemic and a recession, it is critical that those on the front lines are safely and securely housed. Accordingly, we urge lawmakers to take swift action to create a Rental Assistance Fund and extend unemployment benefits so we can avoid future eviction-related problems and don’t undermine the initial recovery.”

In New York,  tenant advocates have urged Governor Cuomo to extend the current eviction moratorium to cover all tenants at least through the end of 2020.

They also urged Cuomo to Cancel Rent, given that many low-income and unemployed tenants have no ability to pay rent for the foreseeable future.

On a press call on Monday, tenant advocates exposed the Worst Evictors in New York City, and highlighted what they called a growing threat of mass evictions that Black renters face.

In 2019, evictions carried out in New York City primarily impacted low-income Black and brown renters, according to new eviction mapping and analysis jointly released by Right to Counsel NYC Coalition, the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, JustFix.NYC, and Housing Justice for All.

The roll out of the Worst Evictors list comes amid growing concern that Black renters in communities hit hardest by COVID-19 are particularly at risk of losing their homes when New York’s current eviction moratorium expires June 20.

Any renter who can’t prove lost income due to COVID-19 will be vulnerable to eviction when housing courts reopen later this month.

In New York City, eviction proceedings begin in housing court and are carried out by marshals.

Current data shows that evictions are most likely to occur in neighborhoods with a large number of Black and brown renters – the same neighborhoods where New Yorkers have been harmed and killed by police in recent years.

Landlords on the Worst Evictors list include a number of well-known corporate property owners with large portfolios of rental buildings in New York City.

According to the list released today, the top ten Worst Evictors in 2019 were:

1)    Ved Parkash; 2) Ron Moelis; 3) Eugene Schneur; 4) Phillip Wischerth; 5) Peter Fine; 6) Jonathan Wiener; 7) Larry Gluck; 8) Steven Finkelstein; 9) Douglas Eisenberg, Donald Hastings, and Maggie McCormick (all tied for ninth place); 10) Mark Engel.

A spokesman for Moelis’ L+M Development Partners said, “In 2019, we recorded 72 evictions — not the 151 noted on this list — which totals less than half of one percent of our 18,000 apartments under management. Further, we worked to settle 61 evictions cases, which resulted in those residents being able to remain in their homes. Those settlements require a court process, so they may have been wrongly included on this list for that reason. Given the seriousness of this issue, we felt it was important to correct the record and provide some context.” 

While evictions have been down so far this year as a result of the COVID moratorium, they have also been falling in general since the city introduced to Right to Counsel legislation and the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act.

In 2018, there were roughly 21,000 evictions, most for non payment of rent or rule-breaking such as illegally Airbnb-ing an apartment.

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