Thirty-one percent of American renters did not pay their rent earlier this month, according to data from the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC).
According to the group, only 69 percent of families had paid their rent by April 5. That's marks a 12 percent decrease from the previous month and a 13 percent decrease from April 2019.
That 69 percent also includes renters who only paid a portion of their rent. The group adds that many renters will likely pay their rents later this month. The dataset includes information from more than 13 million apartment units from across the country.
“The COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in significant health and financial challenges for apartment residents and multifamily owners, operators and employees in communities across the country,” said Doug Bibby, President of NMHC. “However, it is important to note that a large number of residents met their obligations despite unparalleled circumstances, and we will see that figure increase over the coming weeks.
April marked the first month of rent payments after local governments across the country ordered the closure of non-essential businesses in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. According to the Department of Labor, more than 16 million Americans have filed initial unemployment claims since many of those orders went into effect in mid-March.
Many states have already enacted temporary laws to protect tenants from eviction during the pandemic. But according to The Wall Street Journal, analysts worry that unpaid rent could lead to a series of mortgage defaults on commercial buildings and apartment complexes.