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Nearly One in Four Renters Nationwide Failed to Make Their Full April Payment, Survey Finds

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Jorge Casuso

April 8, 2020 -- One quarter of U.S. tenants were unable to pay their April rents in full during the coronavirus emergency, with more than 10 percent making no payment at all, according to a survey by Apartment List.

The survey of 4,129 renters and homeowners across the country conducted between April 3 and 5 found that 13 percent of renters paid only part of their April rent bill, while another 12 percent made no payment at all.

A similar percentage of homeowners were delinquent on their mortgage obligations, the survey found.

The national rental platform concluded that "this past week marked a turning point for the U.S. housing market" as the coronavirus shutdown squeezed local economies across the nation.

The survey responses, the researchers concluded, "reflect a dire economic reality: in the span of just a month, the pandemic has already left tens of millions struggling to pay for housing."

According to the survey results, one in nine renters "had their landlord or management company proactively lower their April rent," according to the survey.

"Among those missing their full payments, 45 percent of renters and 44 percent of homeowners were able to agree to reduced or deferred payments with their landlords and lenders, respectively," the survey concluded.

Santa Monica landlords and property managers interviewed by The Lookout Tuesday reported few tenants were unable to pay their full rents ("Few Tenants Fail to Pay April Rent, Landlords Fear Numbers Will Rapidly Grow," April 7, 2020).

Some landlords have worked out ways for tenants to pay, but they worry the ranks of those unable to make rent payments will swell in coming months.

The apartment List survey reinforced those worries.

"Even among renters who paid their April rent in full, 27 percent are 'not at all' or 'not very' confident that they could continue to do so if shelter-in-place lasts through June," the survey found.

Of the respondents, 79 percent of renters believe they could make their next monthly payment "even after losing their income."

But that number drops to 55 percent after two months of lost income, according to the survey. Only 28 percent think they "can last more than three months relying on their savings or support from others."

The survey found that "poorer and younger households had more trouble affording their housing payments, as did those living in denser, more urban parts of the country."

"Renters and homeowners in dense urban centers, where social distancing wipes out more elements of daily economic life, were hit harder than those in suburbs and rural areas," researchers found.

The new “quarantine economy” will have lasting effects on the housing market that "will play out over the years," researchers found.

"To weather the storm, many renters are likely to deplete the savings that they had set aside for a downpayment," researchers wrote.

"The prospect of millennial homeownership catching up to that of previous generations is becoming more bleak."

For the fulll survey, click here

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