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Nearly One in Three Americans Failed to Make Full Housing Payment This Month, Survey Finds

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Jorge Casuso

July 13, 2020 -- More than one-third of U.S. renters and homeowners failed to make full on-time payments in July due to the economic fallout of the coronavirus shutdown, according to a survey by Apartment List.

The survey of more than 4,000 persons in all 50 states shows that the percentage of those failing to keep up on their rent and mortgage payments has held relatively steady since May.

The payment rate rose from 24 percent for those unable to make a full, on-time payment in April to 31 percent in May, then dipped to 30 percent las month, before tickig up to 32 percent, the survey found.

"Missed payments continue to concentrate among renters, young and low-income households, and residents of dense urban areas," the researchers found.

The rate was higher among renters -- 36 percent -- than homeowners-- 30 percent, the survey by the national rent platform found.

For those under 30 years of age and those making less than $25,000 annually, the missed payment rate exceeded 40 percent in July.

"Missed payments also remain correlated with population density," the researchers found.

"In medium- and high-density areas where the early spread of the virus compounded the existing stress of high housing costs, over one-third of residents are still finding it difficult to pay their bills," the wrote.

The survey also found that "renters in large multifamily apartment buildings show higher payment rates than those living in smaller buildings and single-family homes."

A survey conducted by the Santa Monica Rent Control Board found that approximately 10 percent of Santa Monica rent control tenants did not pay their full rent in April and May ("One in Ten Santa Monica Rent Control Tenants Failed to Pay Full Rent Last Two Months, Survey Shows," May 28, 2020).

The survey has been discontinued due to the lack of responses from tenants and landlords, said Dan Costello, the Board's public information manager.

Since May, the Board has five more responses from landlords -- representing just 20 units -- and 20 more responses from tenants, Costello said.

"With diminishing returns and a recognition that the responses were not great enough to be statistically relevant, we took the survey down in mid-June," he told The Lookout.

According to the Apartment List survey found that "more Americans are concerned about evictions and foreclosures" than they were last month, despite federal and local protections, such as Santa Monica and Los Angeles' eviction moratoriums.

Under an emergency order issued by the City, Santa Monica tenants who can show they were unable to pay rent due to the impacts of COVID-19 have a year after the moratorium is lifted to come up with the back rent.

The City this month launched a program to provide rental assistance for tenants impacted by the virus ("City Launches Rental Assistance Program for Tenants Impacted by Coronavirus Shutdown," July 1, 2020).

The COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program will give as many as 300 households as much as $5,000 each to pay for up to three months of rent starting in August.

The program does not cover back rent deferred by the local eviction moratorium, City officials said. Those who qualify will be entered into a lottery for final selection.

The application deadline is noon Friday, July 17. For online applications and program details visit

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