Eviction Pressure Mounts as Apartment Dwellers Fall Behind

HOUSTON – (By Dale King, Realty News Report) – Eviction pressure mounts as apartment dwellers try to avoid COVID-19 while striving to maintain their health, employment and a roof over their heads, as the coronavirus pandemic pushes  closer to the brink of eviction.

In August, for the fourth straight month, roughly one-in-three Americans failed to make a full, on-time housing payment by the end of the first two weeks. Late and unpaid housing bills are accumulating, putting financial pressure on many families and deepening concerns of near-term evictions, says the Apartment List Monthly Housing Payment Survey.

The threat of eviction has raised tension in Houston, where an eviction moratorium is no longer in place.

Protesters: “F— YOUR RENT,  F— YOUR LEASE”

In Houston last week, protesters carrying signs saying “Stop Evictions” and “Housing is a Human Right” gathered outside the Harris County Courthouse annex on Chimney Rock Road, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.

Inside the courthouse, the newspaper said, Judge Russ Ridgway was handling a heavy docket of evictions, prompting the protest organized by a group called the Tenants Union.

The protesters chanted: “NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE!  F— YOUR RENT!  F— YOUR LEASE,” the Chronicle reported.

As the federal eviction moratorium expired and many local and state eviction bans continue expiring across the nation, 32 percent of renters and homeowners entered August with unpaid rent. More than 20 percent were more than $1,000 in arrears.

The Apartment List report says landlords are showing a willingness to negotiate payment plans with their tenants to keep their properties occupied. Among renters with unpaid housing bills, 49 percent have either negotiated, or are in the process of working out, an arrangement with their apartment owner.

However, some smaller multifamily investors with thin capitalization have noted that unpaid rents can put landlords under extreme financial pressure that cannot last forever. A major industry group, the National Multifamily Housing Council, says foreclosure concerns are looming.

Multifamily dwellers who can work-from-home have an easier time keeping their jobs and remaining current on rent. However, apartment complexes with more of a blue-collar tenant profile tend to have more delinquency issues.  Houston-based multifamily advisory firm, ApartmentData.com recently commented: “Rent collection looms as a huge problem as Congress painfully crafts a second stimulus package.”

NMHC: Households Under Duress

Honing in on how finances are vulnerable to the rigors of coronavirus, the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC)’s Rent Payment Tracker found that 86.9 percent of apartment households made a full or partial rent payment by Aug. 13 in its survey of 11.4 million units of professionally managed apartment units across the country.

This is a 2-percentage point, or 222,543 households — decrease from the number of people who had paid rent through August 13, 2019 and compares to 87.6 percent who had paid by July 13, 2020. These data encompass a wide variety of market-rate rental properties across the United States, which can vary by size, type and average rental price.

“At a time when the country is continuing to face a pandemic and is suffering from a recession, lawmakers in Congress and the Trump administration must come back to the table and work together on passing comprehensive legislation in the next COVID-19 relief package,” said Doug Bibby, NMHC President.

“While NMHC’s Rent Payment Tracker continues to show that many residents have continued to meet their monthly housing obligations that is due in large part to the relief enacted under the CARES Act. With that support now having expired, households across the country are grappling with even greater financial distress.”

NMHC is “strongly urging Congressional leaders and administration officials to extend critical unemployment benefits and create a rental assistance fund so that America’s tens of millions of apartment residents can remain safely and securely housed.”

Evictions are not just a threat to renters, but potentially costly for landlords as well, says the NMHC report.

“Given the current circumstances, landlords have to decide whether an eviction makes sense financially, even if their tenants are behind on rent. With so many Americans out of work, a vacant unit may be difficult to fill, creating long stretches of lost revenue for the landlord. So, for some, providing leniency to tenants who are in a financial bind (on the grounds that rent debt will be repaid eventually) could be mutually beneficial. With that in mind, our data show that many landlords are showing a willingness to negotiate repayment plans for their tenants who are struggling.”

“As unpaid housing debt builds, concerns around eviction and foreclosure are mounting,” the document adds. “Although landlords and lenders are showing a willingness to negotiate, housing security is currently in jeopardy for an unprecedented number of Americans.”

Aug. 24, 2020 Realty News Report Copyright 2020

File: Eviction Pressure Mounts

File: (2) Eviction pressure mounts as NMHC Rent Payment Tracker found that 86.9 percent of apartment households made a full or partial rent payment by Aug. 13. 8-24-20




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