While apartment dwellers wait for the federal government to provide another Coronavirus economic relief package, multifamily property owners are paying the price of the delay with declines in the number of rent payments being made.

Measuring the number of households that made full or at least partial rent payments by November 6th, the National Multifamily Housing Council’s Rent Payment Tracker posted a year-over-year drop of 1.1%—a decrease of 131,712 households.

Full month payments this fall also slipped from 2019 levels. In October, the Rent Payment Tracker posted a total of 94.8%, compared to 96.6% a year prior. For September, 94.6% of households made payments this year, while that number came in at 95.5% in 2019.

In its survey of 11.5 million units of professionally managed apartments nationwide however, the Tracker did find that all was not lost. A total of 80.4% of apartment households did make payments this month, a 1% uptick from the 79.4% of households who paid up by October 6th.

Still, federal aid for renters is sorely needed to boost rent collections, said Doug Bibby, NMHC president. “November’s opening rent payment figures show that the additional support apartment residents received over the summer…continue to provide renters with some degree of security against the economic distress facing communities throughout the country.”

He continued, “As the results from last week’s elections come into focus, NMHC calls on policymakers in both parties and on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to put aside partisanship and instead focus on delivering a comprehensive COVID relief package that helps apartment residents meet their housing obligations, keeps them safely housed and protects the stability of the nation’s rental housing sector.”

Other industry data points up the struggles of renters as the pandemic drags on. In the United States Census Bureau’s most recent Household Pulse Survey, nearly one-quarter of all renters said that, in the past seven days, they’d borrowed money from friends or family to meet spending needs (all spending, not just rent) in the past seven days. The data also shows that every type of rental unit has groups that are struggling. 

That’s in keeping with another recent report from NMHC,  which found that some of the hardest hit industries by COVID-19, including hotels and food services, are the biggest occupiers of apartments.