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Coronavirus Deals & Dealmakers

Most tenants still paying their rent, says NMHC

The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC)’s Rent Payment Tracker found 87.7 percent of apartment households made a full or partial rent payment by May 13 in its survey of 11.4 million units of professionally managed apartment units across the country.

This is a 2.1 percentage point decrease in the share who paid rent through May 13, 2019 and compares to 85.0 percent that had paid by April 13, 2020.

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.

“Once again, despite the economic and health challenges facing so many, we have found that apartment residents who live in professionally managed properties are meeting their obligations,” said Doug Bibby, NMHC President.

DOUG BIBBY

“But it’s important to understand that our metric does not capture rent payments for smaller landlords or for affordable and subsidized properties.  These excluded properties are the ones more likely to house residents experiencing financial stress. In addition, as current federal support programs begin to reach their limit, it will be even more critical for Congress to enact a meaningful renter assistance program.  It’s the only way to avoid adding a housing crisis to our health and economic crisis.”

“It is heartening the degree to which apartment operators, their employees and their residents have come together during this crisis,” said David Schwartz, NMHC Chair.

“As COVID-19 expanded, apartment workers quickly became frontline workers, tasked with not only maintaining a safe and clean place to shelter in place, but they also proactively checked in on residents, helped them access benefits and provided creative ways to keep them engaged and create community. This crisis is not over, and we will need to maintain the same spirit of solidarity in the coming months.”

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.

However, noteworthy technical issues may make historical comparisons imprecise. For example, factors such as varying days of the week on which data are collected; individual companies’ differing payment collection policies; shelter-in-place orders’ effects on residents’ ability to deliver payments in person or by mail; the closure of leasing offices, which may delay operators’ payment processing; and other factors can affect how and when rent data is processed and recorded.

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