Collecting Rent: Patience Pays Off

by Chris on June 3, 2020

Over 90 percent of renters paid in May, just not on time. The latest information from the National Multifamily Housing Council, which covers over eleven million units nationwide, proves that, for landlords, patience is a virtue.

As of May 27th, 93.3 percent of renters had paid their landlords, according to the survey. That is slightly higher than April, and on par with rent payment history from May, 2019. Ninety-one percent of renters had paid by May 20th.

That is great news for landlords who earlier braced for a worst-case scenario.

Doug Bibby, NMHC’s President, concludes that these numbers indicate tenants are prioritizing rent and landlords’ efforts at flexibility are working. However, he warns that more needs to be done to sustain this trend, including continued government stimulus support specifically aimed at the residential rental industry.

NMHC points out that the U.S. Census Bureau’s real-time economic tracking, the Household Pulse Survey, is showing that renters are being hit hard by the economic downturn. Well over half of all respondents are suffering job losses or underemployment. Respondents in this category range in age from 18 to 54, demonstrating that unemployment is impacting a broad swath of the country.

Those respondents who are unemployed say that they are struggling to come up with rent and many need to defer payments. This supports the NMHC’s position that additional support for tenants and landlords will be crucial in buoying the rental industry during the coming months.

Earlier, Bibby expressed concern that some renters were paying with cash reserves or credit cards, methods that likely will become unsustainable if the economy does not recover quickly.

Given these factors, and in light of what many expect to be a glut of evictions over the summer, landlords should remain flexible and allow tenants to pay as they can, in installments or later in the month when unemployment checks arrive. Waiving late fees and picking up payment transaction fees are a show a good faith that can encourage rent payments. Keep lines of communication open so tenants are comfortable asking for help rather than going dark or disappearing without a forwarding address.

Keep in touch with the latest trends in the rental industry by visiting NMHC’s Rent Payment Tracker and Coronavirus Hub.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Marge June 4, 2020 at 5:16 am

Pandemic or no pandemic, I always am patient with my tenants. I have only 3 rentals, so I can’t be generous enough and just forgive the rent. But – I have made arrangements for the one tenant, who’s struggling right now. She will pay what she can, and carry a balance. No penalties, no interest, no fees. Once she goes back to work, she will catch up with the delayed rent pretty much at her convenience. I will give her a year to catch up. So far, she’s $600 behind, but it looks like the things started picking up. Landlords who don’t negotiate, only shoot themselves in the foot.

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