COVID-19

Nearly a third of tenants either missed or couldn’t pay full July rent, survey finds

Mitchell Hartman Jul 10, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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One reason tenants have been able to pay at all is the $600-a-week federal pandemic unemployment payments. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
COVID-19

Nearly a third of tenants either missed or couldn’t pay full July rent, survey finds

Mitchell Hartman Jul 10, 2020
One reason tenants have been able to pay at all is the $600-a-week federal pandemic unemployment payments. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

At the end of this month, the $600-a-week federal pandemic unemployment payments that millions of out-of-work Americans are now getting will run out, if Congress doesn’t extend them.

And, just after that, millions of Americans struggling financially will face another challenge: paying their August rent. For people who’ve been laid off or furloughed in the pandemic, and don’t own a home, the first of the month always looms large.

And, in July, making rent hasn’t gone so well for tenants.

“Thirty-two percent had either a missed or partial payment in the first week of July, indicating some pretty alarming levels of difficulty with housing costs,” said economist Chris Salviati at the rental site Apartment List.

Salviati says the group’s tenant surveys find the problem is worse among people making $50,000 a year or less.

One reason tenants have been able to pay at all is the $600-a-week federal pandemic unemployment payments. Michael Karpman at the Urban Institute said its recent survey found, among those getting the money, “pretty big declines in the share worried about paying for basic expenses in the next month, such as the rent or mortgage, food, utility bills and medical care.”

When it comes to the potential end of federal pandemic unemployment payments, it’s not just renters who are worried. Apartment List found nearly 20% of homeowners are now seriously concerned about foreclosure.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s going on with extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

The latest: President Donald Trump signed an executive action directing $400 extra a week in unemployment benefits. But will that aid actually reach people? It’s still unclear. Trump directed federal agencies to send $300 dollars in weekly aid, taken from the federal disaster relief fund, and called on states to provide an additional $100. But states’ budgets are stretched thin as it is.

What’s the latest on evictions?

For millions of Americans, things are looking grim. Unemployment is high, and pandemic eviction moratoriums have expired in states across the country. And as many people already know, eviction is something that can haunt a person’s life for years. For instance, getting evicted can make it hard to rent again. And that can lead to spiraling poverty.

Which retailers are requiring that people wear masks when shopping? And how are they enforcing those rules?

Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, CVS, Home Depot, Costco — they all have policies that say shoppers are required to wear a mask. When an employee confronts a customer who refuses, the interaction can spin out of control, so many of these retailers are telling their workers to not enforce these mandates. But, just having them will actually get more people to wear masks.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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