Study Finds 75 Percent of Renters Paid in December

The latest report on nationwide rental collections comes weeks before the CDC’s nationwide eviction moratorium expires.

Image by Luke van Zyl via Unsplash

More than 75 percent of U.S. rental households have made rent payments as of Dec. 6, according to a just-released report on rent collections from the National Multifamily Housing Council.

According to the study, 75.4 percent of rental households made full or partial rent payments by Dec. 6, a 7.8 percent decrease from the same time period last year and a 5 percent decrease from the same time period last month, when 80.4 percent of renters had made payments by Nov. 6.

The report comes a few weeks before the CDC’s nationwide eviction moratorium and unemployment benefits for close to 12 million Americans are both set to expire.

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The payment data was pulled from 11.4 million professionally managed, market-rate rental units across the country that vary widely by size, type and average rental price. 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 manager rental apartments across the country, they do not reflect many single-family and small multifamily rental properties that are less likely to be professionally managed are more likely to have residents with at-risk wages, according to research from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

“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,” said NMHC President Doug Bibby in prepared remarks. The report noted that Dec. 5 and 6 fell on a weekend in 2020 and may not be a direct comparison to last year’s figures. “However, it should not come as a surprise that a rising number of households are struggling to make ends meet.”

Bibby pointed to the country entering the winter season with an increasing number of COVID-19 cases and continued economic distress, as evidenced by last week’s “disquieting” jobs report.

“It is only a matter of time before both renters and housing providers reach the end of their resources,” he said.

Industry groups are hopeful that federal rent relief could come for the multifamily industry before the end of the year, when both the CDC eviction moratorium and unemployment benefits passed in the CARES Act are set to expire.

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