As eviction bans expire, many are finding it harder to pay rent


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As eviction bans expire across the nation, the U.S Census Bureau’s most recent data shows 31 percent of Tennessee adults missed last month’s rent or mortgage payment, or have slight or no confidence that their household can pay next month’s rent or mortgage on time.

It’s no secret. For many, bills are billowing in this harsh new economic reality.

“I am still employed even though my hours and pay were cut,” said Malory Luciane, who lost her second job due to COVID-19. “Anything fun, I’ll have to dip into savings to do that.”

Right now, money is tight and she has just enough to pay rent.

“I would say we saw a spike to about 15 percent of our units on April 1st not paying or late on paying,” said Jonny Lee, Co-owner of The Ashton Real Estate Group Re/Max Advantage.

Lee manages 80 properties locally and says as of now, only one person is on a payment plan, but fears that could change come next month.

“I think were 2% on late payments, that should get resolved in the next few days,” said Lee. “I don’t know what September is going to look like that will be interesting.”

The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC)’s Rent Payment Tracker found 79.3 percent of apartment households made a full or partial rent payment by August 6 in its survey of 11.4 million units of professionally managed apartment units across the country. That’s nearly 2 percent or a 223,000-household decrease from the same time last year.

Apartment List’s new housing payment survey shows four key findings:

In the first week of August, 33% failed to make their full housing payments on time.

  • Across the U.S, 22 percent of respondents have not yet made a housing payment for August, and an additional 11 percent have made only a partial payment. Missed payments remain common for renters and homeowners alike.
  • Half of renters that have accumulated pandemic rent debt owe less than $1,000, which could be covered by the proposed relief checks debated in Congress.
  • Among renters that have outstanding unpaid rent, 28 percent have agreed to new payment terms with their landlord or property manager. Another 21 percent report that such negotiations are in progress.

Unemployment benefits from the CARES Act allowed many to pay their bills, specifically rent, but now, that extra $600 a week has run its course. For renters, time is running out.

“I know so many people that are so dependent on that unemployment to live because even if they have one shift a week they can’t pay their rent with one shift a week,” said Luciane.

Property managers and landlords like Lee are willing to negotiate payment plans in order to keep their properties occupied. Amid a pandemic, where many are not working, a late payment is sometimes better than no payment at all.

However, rules stand and evictions are still a go, though Davidson County’s eviction moratorium has been extended through August 31.

According to Circuit Court Clerk Richard Rooker, there have been 3,671 eviction filings in Davidson County since the first of the year. (Data as of 8/12.)

A study from financial advisory firm Stout estimates 416,000 rental households are unable to pay rent and are at risk for eviction. The study also estimating a shortfall of rent totaling $390,000,000.

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