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Nine in Ten Renters Expected to Pay Full Rent by End of Month, Nationwide Survey Finds
 

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica Apartments

Santa Monica College
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Santa Monica, CA 90405
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By Jorge Casuso

September 15, 2020 -- Nine in ten U.S. renters paid their rent in full last month and are expected to do the same in September, although many will once again pay late, according to a nationwide survey by Apartment List.

The apartment rental site -- which has been surveying more than 4,000 tenants nationwide every month since the coronavirus emergency began -- found that 68 percent of renters made an on-time payment in the first week of September.

Once again all but ten percent will likely make their payments in full by the end of the month, the survey found.

"Although one-in-three renters did not pay their rent in the first week of the month, we continue to find that the majority of these missed payments are made up with late payments by the end of the month," the survey found.

"Based on the consistency of this trend in prior months, we expect that nine-in-ten renters will pay their September rent in full by the end of the month," researchers for Apartment List said.

While tenants are catching up on more recent rents, 31 percent of renters surveyed began September owing back rent for previous months; nearly half owed less than $1,000, the survey found.

September marks the second straight month showing "minor improvement" in the number of tenants making on-time payments and the highest on-time payment rate since June, researchers said.

The finding came as "a pleasant surprise," they said.

"Given the recent lapse in expanded unemployment benefits, it may have reasonably been expected that missed rent payments would exhibit a notable worsening this month and so even the modest improvement that we observe could be considered a pleasant surprise," the three researchers wrote.

"That said, it may be the case that some renters who are continuing to struggle have moved back in with family or friends and are simply no longer appearing in our sample."

The survey found that rent debt is much more common among Black and Hispanic renters.

Forty-one percent of Black renters and 48 percent of Hispanic renters still owe rent from Spring and Summer months, according to the survey.

The survey found that renters are "making significant financial sacrifices to try to stay afloat.

"Among renters that have fallen behind on their payments, 30 percent report running up credit card debt, 31 percent have had to sell off assets, and 16 percent have dipped into their retirement savings."

Santa Monica renters are protected by both state and local measures that bar landlords from evicting residential tenants who can show they cannot not pay rent due to the coronavirus emergency.

Under the state law that went into effect September 1, California renters are protected from eviction through January 31, as long as they pay at least 25 percent of their rent.

The law works in conjunction with Santa Monica's eviction moratorium, which lasts through September 30 and offers stronger tenant protections for those who fail to pay their September rent, City officials said.

"Whether or not you pay 25 percent of your September rent by January 31, 2021, the protections of the City’s moratorium will still apply to that September rent," said Chief Deputy City Attorney Eda Suh.

"If you meet the requirements of the City’s moratorium, you will have until September 30, 2021 to pay that September rent, and cannot be evicted for nonpayment until after that date," Suh said.

Tenants who comply with the state law owe the landlord "for any remaining unpaid rent due between March 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021 "as a form of consumer debt," according to an analysis of the law by the California Apartment Association (CAA).

The law -- which sunsets on February 1 of next year -- applies to all residential rental tenants and mobile home residents, including single-family home and Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) rentals, the CAA said.


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