LeaseLock Rent ChartLeaseLock Rent Chart

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May Day apartment rent payments are promising, according toearly rent collections data from LeaseLock.First-day rent payments in May increased slightly compared tofirst-day payments in April. More than 15% of renters paid in fullon the first in both April and May, according to the report. Thetrend shows that renters that can afford to pay rent areprioritizing the payment.

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"The people that pay on the first of the month are veryreliable," Derek Merrill, CEO and co-founder ofLeaseLock, tells GlobeSt.com. "Those people are still paying theirrent, and there was even a slight uptick in people that are payingon the first. That could be attributable to a number of things, butas long as people have the money, it looks like they areprioritizing paying rent. That is a really good thing because thebig worry is first if they have they money, and second, if they dohave the money, how they are prioritizing their housingexpense."

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Despite strong first-day payments, total rent collections areexpected to fall in May compared to April. "We are seeing a slightdip, even deeper than April's decline, in the second- and third-daypayments. We are still sizing up the magnitude of that," saysMerrill. However, the drop won't be as dramatic as expected. InApril, there was a 7% decline in total rent collected, and May willlikely see an increase of a few percentage points. "The drop offbetween April and May is looking like it will be a drop off of afew percentage points," Rochelle Bailis, VP of marketing atLeaseLock, tells GlobeSt.com. "It would be unlikely to see a bigdrop off at this point. Interestingly, we are seeing that class-Aand class-B are both doing well. A lot of the drop off we areseeing is in the class-B space, but the difference is prettymarginal."

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For the optimists, May is not likely to have the world-ending,cliff-dive that was expected by many apartment owners andforecasters. "The decline in total rent collected [in April] wasn'tsubstantial considering the magnitude of what has happened," saysMerrill. "Then, everyone was expecting for May to drop off a cliff.Early data indicates a decline, but it isn't a drop-off-the-cliffdecline. That is the big reveal." Of course, there is alwaysJune.

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Although, if April rent patterns are any indication, there couldbe a fairytale ending waiting at the end May. April rentcollections surged at the end of the month as renters receivedunemployment and other federal assistance. Those funds arecontinuing to make their way into renters' pockets in May. "As wesaw unemployment checks coming through and federal relief checkscoming through at the end of the month, people made rent payments,"says Bailis. The grace period for May collections ends today, andmore data will be available to reveal the full scope of rentcollections for the month.

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.