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More market rate renters struggling to pay their landlord

The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC)’s Rent Payment Tracker found 75.4 percent of apartment households made a full or partial rent payment by December 6 in its survey of 11.5 million units of professionally managed apartment units across the country.

 This is a 7.8 percentage point, or 894,864 household decrease from the share who paid rent through December 6, 2019 and compares to 80.4 percent that had paid by November 6, 2020.

It should be noted that December 5 and 6 fell on a weekend in 2020 and therefore may not be a direct comparison to last year’s figures.

The data encompass a wide variety of market-rate rental properties across the United States, which can vary by size, type and average rental price.

“While the initial rent collection figures for the first week of December are concerning, only a full month’s results will paint a complete picture. However, it should not come as a surprise that a rising number of households are struggling to make ends meet,” said Doug Bibby, NMHC President.


“As the nation enters a winter with increasing COVID-19 case levels and even greater economic distress – as indicated by last week’s disquieting employment report – it is only a matter of time before both renters and housing providers reach the end of their resources.”

“The recent news that legislators in Congress may be coming closer to finding common ground is encouraging, but it is critical that any package includes meaningful rental assistance and other critical support such as an extension of unemployment benefits and short-term liability protections. At the same time, lawmakers should be cautious of extending eviction moratoria – an approach that will only result in untenable amounts of debt for households across the country.”

The NMHC Rent Payment Tracker metric provides insight into changes in resident rent payment behavior over the course of each month, and, as the dataset ages, between months. While the tracker is intended to serve as an indicator of resident financial challenges, it is also intended to track the recovery as well, including the effectiveness of government stimulus and subsidies.

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