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Corporate landlords still collecting rent; little guys expected to take biggest hit

The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC)’s Rent Payment Tracker found 80.8 percent of apartment households made a full or partial rent payment by June 6 in its survey of 11.5 million units of professionally managed apartment units across the country.

This is a 0.7-percentage point decrease in the share who paid rent through June 6, 2019 and compares to 80.2 percent that had paid by May 6, 2020. These data encompass a wide variety of professionally managed market-rate rental properties across the United States, which can vary by size, type and average rental price.

DOUG BIBBY

“These are trying times for the country, and we are reminded on a regular basis how crucial safe and secure housing is during a period of uncertainty and upheaval, so we are glad to see that residents who live in professionally managed properties continue to pay their rent,” said Doug Bibby, NMHC President.

“While our Rent Payment Tracker metric continues to show the resilience and strength of the professionally managed apartment industry, it does not necessarily tell the whole story, as it doesn’t capture rent payments for smaller landlords or for affordable and subsidized properties, and according to Harvard, more than half of renters with at-risk wages due to the pandemic live in single-family and small multifamily rentals with 2–4 units.”

In a recent blog post, the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies noted lost income will put renters and small landlords in a vulnerable position.

If too many rent payments are missed, there will be ripple effects in the form of unpaid property taxes, deferred maintenance, and mortgage delinquencies.

Some small landlords may have to leave the market, opening the possibility of more corporate landlords and loss of rental units to owner-occupancy. T

The loss of small landlords, who own more than half of the stock renting for less than $750, may also threaten the already dwindling low-rent stock.

“Whether delivered through tenants or directly to landlords, rental assistance is key to protecting both renter households and small landlords from economic hardship,” said Harvard research associate Whitney Airgood-Obrycki.

To date, there is little data on how small landlords are faring and whether their tenants have been able to continue paying rent.

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