Millions of Americans struggling to pay rent; steps to take if you’re impacted

Posted at 4:19 PM, Apr 15, 2020

These are challenging times, and it’s reflected in alarming numbers. Numbers like 27,112, which represents how many people who have died from COVID-19 in the United States, or 618,923, which is the number of people who have been diagnosed with the virus around the country.

Last week, the U.S. hit an all-time high number of 16 million, that being the number of Americans who have to filed for unemployment since the pandemic began to spread.

“Everyone is having a hard time,” said Igor Popov with Apartment List.

Apartment List recently conducted a nationwide survey among renters and homeowners, and that has revealed other concerning numbers.

“One in 4 renters couldn’t make their full rent for April, and 1 in 4 homeowners couldn’t make their full mortgage payment,” said Popov. “Half of the people that couldn’t make it in full couldn’t make a payment at all.”

That’s an estimated 80 million Americans who struggled to pay one of their most essential bills, and that survey is actually more optimistic than one done by the National Multifamily Housing Council. NMHC’s study showed as many as 1 in 3 Americans were unable to pay rent in April.

“One of the things we found was that among those who weren’t able to pay their April rent in full, almost half those had reached some sort of agreement with their landlord or property manager to either defer payments or have reduced payments,” said Popov. “Also, 1 in 9 renters actually said that their landlord proactively lowered their rent for April.”

With stimulus checks getting out to millions of Americans this week, Apartment List found many people plan to use those checks to pay their backed up or next month’s rent or mortgage.

However, should shelter-in-place mandates continue into May and June, Apartment List found we could see 27 percent of renters and 13 percent of homeowners unable to pay their rent or mortgages.

“I think that what is becoming apparent is that the sooner that the conversation can begin the better,” said Popov. “We are finding that a lot of landlord renter pairs are able to work out arrangements.”

The same applies for homeowners and their lenders. Federally backed mortgages are allow people to defer or reduce their mortgages up to a year, while private lenders are offering flexibility, too. The key here, is also, contacting your lender as early as possible.