Nearly six months into the pandemic, the share of American homeowners and renters who have missed or been late with their monthly housing payments is holding steady, despite government stimulus initiatives and protections including the CARES Act.
Eleven percent of respondents to an Apartment List survey, including both renters and owners, reported paying their rent or mortgage for August by the end of the first week of the month, a small decrease from the previous month. And 22 percent reported making none at all, a slight increase from July (19 percent), but a notable increase compared with April, when 12 percent were unable to pay on time.
The survey, on which we previously reported in June, is the source for this week’s chart. This and Apartment List surveys from previous months reflect the answers of 4,000 respondents who collectively matched the gender and age distribution of the United States.
The National Multifamily Housing Council, which tracks rent payments from about 11.5 million U.S. households, showed that by Aug. 20, about 90 percent had completed their monthly payments. But both surveys showed that those who made late payments were more likely to miss the next payment.
And there are a few reasons some may not make next month’s payment: Protection from eviction under the CARES Act expired in July (a 30-day grace period ends in a few days), though local eviction moratoriums are still in place in some areas. In addition, the $600 emergency pandemic unemployment benefit also expired in July, and President Trump’s recent executive order would provide a lesser amount — nothing that would suggest a reversal of late housing payments or growing debt.
Entering August, 32 percent already owed money on missed or partial rent or mortgage payments, the Apartment List survey showed. As in previous months, renters have been struggling to make payments more than owners have.
The survey does offer some hope: Many landlords are negotiating payment plans. Among renters with housing debt, nearly half have negotiated a payment plan, or are in the process of doing so. After all, it’s in a landlord’s interest to have some rental income rather than be sitting on a vacant unit.