The strain on apartment renters is increasing as the pandemic continues. Research from Apartment List found that more than 30% of apartment renters in the US owed back rent payment in September. The number was nearly unchanged compared from August. About half of renters owe less than $1,000 and only 5% owe more than $2,000; however, the report suggests that another round of stimulus checks would be helpful if not necessary to help renters settled these debts and to help landlords recoup losses.

Back rent debts remained stable from August to September, suggesting that renters are working toward making full rent payments, but are struggling to repay past rent. Landlords are also reporting that tenants are actively looking for ways to settle the debt, either through a repayment plan or alternative lease structure. In many cases, this also includes a lease renewal, which will help landlords maintain occupancy. Apartment List data shows that two-in-three tenants have requested a lease renewal and three-in-four tenants have reached a re-payment agreement. Landlords are also meeting tenants part way. Only one-in-four tenants requests to reach an agreement have been denied.

Unfortunately, rent debt issues are the most severe among minority groups. The Apartment List report found that 48% of Hispanic renters have accrued rent debt, 41% of Black renters have accrued rent debt and 35% of Asian renters have accrued rent debt. All of these group individually have a greater rent debt proportion than the overall rate of 31%. By comparison, only 24% of white renters have accrued rent debt.

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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.