COVID & Unemployment

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 & Unemployment

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

With a slow vaccine rollout so far, how has the government changed its approach?

On Tuesday, Jan. 12, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced changes to how the federal government is distributing vaccine doses. The CDC has expanded coronavirus vaccine eligibility to everyone 65 and older, along with people with conditions that might raise their risks of complications from COVID-19. The new approach also looks to reward those states that are the most efficient by giving them more doses, but critics say that won’t address underlying problems some states are having with vaccine rollout.

What kind of help can small businesses get right now?

A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.

What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?

New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.

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