March Rent Collections Hit 80 Percent: NMHC

The result indicates an upward trend for resident payments in early 2021.

Image by Jo Wiggijo via Pixabay

More than 80 percent of U.S. rental households have made rent payments as of March 6, according to the latest National Multifamily Housing Council report on rent collections.

The report comes the same week as a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden.

According to the NMHC study, 80.4 percent of rental households made a full or partial rent payment by March 6, a 4.1 percentage point decrease from the same time period last year and a 1.2 percentage point increase from the same time period last month, when 79.2 percent of renters had made payments by Feb. 6.

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The payment data was pulled from 11.6 million professionally managed, market-rate rental units across the country that varies widely by size, type and average rental prices. The tracker is intended to be an indicator of resident financial challenges, and it helps monitor the recovery, including the effectiveness of government stimulus and subsidies. This week’s report is the latest in the series from the NMHC Rent Payment Tracker, an initiative that partners with industry firms Entrata, MRI Software, RealPage, ResMan and Yardi.

While the figures represent a large swath of professionally managed rental properties, they do not reflect many single-family and small multifamily rental properties that are less likely to be professionally managed and are more likely to have residents with at-risk wages, according to research from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

More Assistance Expected

The latest rent collection figures come the same week as a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill is likely to be approved by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden. The Senate passed the bill on party lines over the weekend and the House of Representatives is expected to vote on it today.

The bill includes $1,400 stimulus payments to many Americans and the extension of the $300 per week unemployment aid along with rental assistance. The $900 billion stimulus package signed into law in late December included a $25 billion emergency rent relief fund, $600 stimulus checks and the $300 weekly unemployment payments, which is slated to expire Sunday, March 14, without the new extension, which will run through Sept. 6 if approved.

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Doug Bibby, NMHC president, said in a prepared statement the new bill, known as the American Rescue Plan Act, includes $40 billion in essential housing and homelessness assistance, including $26 billion for rental assistance and $5 billion to assist people who are homeless.

“We are essentially pleased that the bill includes NMHC-supported provisions that will assist the nation’s apartment residents and housing providers – including rental assistance, direct stimulus checks and expanded unemployment benefits. Taken together, along with the funds included in the stimulus package passed in late 2020, this represents a truly significant investment in the 40 million Americans who call an apartment home and the nation’s rental housing industry,” Bibby said.

Bibby added it is vital that these new funds are distributed as quickly and efficiently as possible because Americans are still facing economic challenges due to the pandemic.

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