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NMHC Reports Rent Payments Down To 76.4%, The Lowest Yet

Only 76.4% of U.S. apartment households had made a full or partial rent payment by Sept. 6, according to the latest National Multifamily Housing Council’s Rent Payment Tracker. That is the lowest level since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, down from 79.3% as of Aug. 6.

The drop in payments comes about a month after the federal government quit paying an additional $600/month to recipients of unemployment insurance payments, which was in addition to what states were paying in job benefits.

As of May 6, total payments stood at 80.2%, a figure that actually went up as of June 6 to 80.8%. On July 6, the total was back down again, at 77.4%.

Last year, from May 6, 2019, to Sept. 6, 2019, the total number of apartment households that made rent payments was always above 81%, with the exception of July 2019, when the total was 79.8%.

The organization calculates the total based on 11.4 million units of professionally managed apartment units nationwide, which encompasses a variety of market-rate properties by size and rental rate.

"Falling rent payments mean that apartment owners and operators will increasingly have difficulty meeting their mortgages, paying their taxes and utilities and meeting payroll," NMHC President Doug Bibby said in a statement.

Since May, Congress has been unable to pass another stimulus package, some versions of which would pay $300/month to the unemployed, but not offer direct support for renters.

Bibby also called the nationwide eviction moratorium, which was ordered recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the behest of the Trump administration, a stopgap.

"[It] did nothing to help renters or alleviate the financial distress they are facing," he said. "Federal policymakers would have been better advised to continue to provide support as they successfully did through the CARES Act."