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One-Third of Americans Failed to Make Housing Payments Again This Month, Survey Finds

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Jorge Casuso

August 10, 2020 -- For the fourth straight month, about one-third of Americans failed to make a full housing payment in August, with one in five renters now owing their landlords more than $1,000, according to a nationwide survey.

The monthly survey by Apartment List of more than 4,000 tenants and homeowners also found that 32 percent of the respondents entered August with unpaid bills.

"We find that missed housing payments remain distressingly common, with 33 percent of Americans having failed to make their full rent or mortgage payment in the first week of August," the researchers said.

The survey found that in the first week of August, 22 percent of those surveyed had not made any rent or mortgage payment, while 11 percent made a partial payment.

About half of the renters with unpaid housing bills have either negotiated, or are in the process of negotiating, an arrangement with their landlord, the survey found.

"Landlords are showing a willingness to negotiate payment plans with their tenants in order to keep their properties occupied," researchers said.

August marks the fourth month that between 30 and 33 percent of survey respondents have missed or made only partial payments.

However, researchers found that "many payments missing in the first week of the month are eventually made whole with late payments."

But there are indications renters and homeowners are falling behind, with 10 percent of respondents by the first week of August failing to make a full payment for July, the survey found.

"As a result, unpaid housing costs are piling up for many Americans, renters and homeowners alike," researchers wrote.

"This is creating a deep sense of housing insecurity for those struggling to keep up financially."

Another stimulus check of $1,200 would "alleviate" half of the nation's outstanding rent debt, but the problem would persist as new rent payments come due, researchers said.

"A one-time payment does little to address the underlying economic crisis causing this problem, so it is likely that housing debt would again accrue as widespread unemployment continues," the site warned.

The late and non-payment of rent are putting landlords in a difficult position, according to Apartment List.

"Evictions are not just a threat to renters, but potentially costly for landlords as well," the report said.

"Given the current circumstances, landlords have to decide whether an eviction makes sense financially, even if their tenants are behind on rent.

"With so many Americans out of work, a vacant unit may be difficult to fill, creating long stretches of lost revenue for the landlord."

The survey found that many landlords are willing to renegotiate payment plans with tenants struggling to pay the rent.

Of the tenants who entered August with unpaid bills, 28 percent said they had reached an agreement for a payment plan or renegotiated lease terms, the survey found.

Another 21 percent were in the processes of doing so, according to the survey. (for the survey click here)

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