Rental payments improve in February after stimulus payments

Monthly survey of 11.6M rental units showed slight uptick from January

(iStock/Illustration by Alexis Manrodt for The Real Deal)
(iStock/Illustration by Alexis Manrodt for The Real Deal)

In the first week of February, 79.2 percent of renters in 11.6 million market-rate units paid all or some rent.

That’s a slight uptick from last month, when 76.6 percent of renters made a payment by the first week of the month. It’s also an improvement from December, when landlords reported the lowest rent collection levels since the start of the pandemic.

But compared to the same period last year, 216,479 fewer households paid rent — a 1.9 percentage point decrease.

The National Multifamily Housing Council has published its findings each month since April 2020, providing a snapshot of the health of the multifamily market. The survey does not include student or military housing, subsidized affordable apartments, public housing or rent-regulated units.

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RuthAnne Visnauskas (Twitter, iStock, by Alexis Manrodt for The Real Deal)
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“As we approach almost a full year of navigating the pandemic and the resulting financial distress, we remain encouraged by the Covid relief package passed at the end of 2020 that included critical support for apartment residents and the nation’s rental housing industry such as $25 billion in rental assistance, extended unemployment benefits and direct payments,” said NMHC president Doug Bibby.

The slight uptick from January comes after Congress passed a relief bill in December that included $600 payments to households and $25 billion in rent relief, which is distributed to states and large localities according to population.

New York will receive $1.3 billion of that federal aid for rent relief despite having a disproportionately large share of the nation’s renters. And New York City will receive only 19 percent of that $1.3 billion, despite having 63 percent of the state’s renters, according to an analysis by the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development.

Democrats, who now control both houses of Congress, have pledged to send additional direct payments to low-income households, in addition to providing federal funding for state-administered rent relief, as part of a $1.9 trillion relief package.

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