More residents in professionally managed apartments paid their rent this month than in December, but they still trail the number of renters who paid a year ago, according to new figures from a multifamily industry advocacy group.
About 76.6% of apartment residents had made full or partial payments toward their January rent by the 6th of the month, according to data from the National Multifamily Housing Council, a Washington, D.C.-based group that represents 11.3 million professionally managed multifamily units in the United States.
That reflects a 1.2 percentage point increase over the number of renters who paid their December rents, according to the data, but represents a 1.7 percentage point decrease in those who paid January rent before the pandemic created widespread economic uncertainty.
“While there is light at the end of the tunnel with the rollout of vaccines, the country and the multifamily industry continue to face steep challenges,” Doug Bibby, NMHC president, said in a statement.
Rental payment patterns have hovered stubbornly around 75% of tenants paying their apartment rent since the pandemic began in March, creating a surge in unemployment as well as in residential eviction moratoriums to help protect struggling renters.
December was the worst month for rental payments during the health crisis, as about 75.4% of renters made payments toward their rent by the 6th of the month. That compares to the best month for rental payments, which came in June, when roughly 80.8% of apartment dwellers made full or partial payments, according to the data.
The rate of rental payments in any month may be influenced by a slew of factors, such as closed leasing offices or the effect of stay-home orders on residents being able to pay rent in-person or via mail.
Vaccines that could help to bring an end to the pandemic could also help bring more stability to the multifamily market. As of Jan. 10, more than 150,000 people in the United States have received their two doses of the coronavirus vaccine, according to a survey conducted by The New York Times. And roughly 6.7 million Americans have received their first dose of the vaccine, per the Times.
The NMHC has been advocating for additional government support and stimulus payments that could help more residents pay their rent. Bibby encouraged an efficient rollout of the newest federal COVID relief package that he said included $25 billion in “desperately needed rental assistance as well as expanded unemployment insurance.”
And with President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration quickly approaching, renters could be poised to receive another stimulus check. Biden is expected to unveil a comprehensive coronavirus relief package that he has said will be “in the trillions of dollars” and is expected to contain measures to send a $2,000 relief check to many Americans.
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