More than one-third of landlords have not received 100% of rent payments during September, according to new data released by the Urban Institute and Avail, a property management platform.
In an October survey of 1,381 landlords who own rental properties, 35.2% of respondents said they did not receive the full amount of rental payments from tenants during September, while 38.1% were not expecting to receive full rent payments in October. More than three-quarters of respondents stated their September situation was due to tenants who were struggling financially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and either did not or could not make full rent payments.
The survey also found 18.6% of landlords reported their vacancy rates have increased since the start of the pandemic. The combination of non-paying tenants and vacant units has created great financial stress on landlords, with 31% of survey respondents admitting they felt more pressure to sell their properties during the pandemic than before the crisis started.
However, higher-income landlords and those without a mortgage were under less pressure to sell their properties. More than 47% of landlords with under $50,000 of income reported increased pressure to sell, while just over 20% of landlords with income of $150,000 or more stated they were pressured. And a little less than one-third of landlords with a mortgage said they experienced increased pressure to sell their properties, whereas slightly more than one-quarter of respondents without a mortgage experienced the same stress.
Despite the increased vacancy rates, landlords are not rushing to fill empty units, with 35.6% if respondents tightening – 30% of respondents demand higher credit scores and 50% expect higher income relative to monthly rental rates. The survey also found Black and Hispanic landlords were more likely than their white counterparts to intensify the screening process, by a 50% to 35% measurement. But the survey also noted that Black and Hispanic landlords are more likely to own two-to-four-unit rental buildings in lower-income communities where eviction rates are higher.
As for the near-future, 37% of landlords feared the remaining months in 2020 will see the continuation of their problems due to the extension of the federal eviction moratorium, while 34.5% cited the expiration of pandemic-related unemployment insurance benefits as the primary source of their dilemma.