A strong percentage of multifamily tenants paid their rent in January as new relief funds from the second COVID-19 stimulus package, which was signed into law on Dec. 27, began to reach American households.
The National Multifamily Housing Council found that 93.2% of apartment tenants fully or partially paid their rent in January in its monthly survey of 11.6 million households. This was a slight dip from the 93.8% reported for the prior month, and a decrease from the 95.8% recorded in January 2020, which occurred before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
The new $900 billion stimulus package includes one-time checks of $600 for individuals and $1,200 for couples within certain income levels, $600 per child, and an extra $300 per week until March 14 for people who continue to collect unemployment insurance benefits. As of the writing of this article, more than 17.8 million people are still accepting jobless benefits.
A $25 billion rental assistance program was also included in the new relief legislation, which provides money to states and local governments to assist renters experiencing financial hardships because of the virus and facing homelessness, easing the burden on landlords. The rental assistance program works with existing state and local initiatives. At-risk tenants may receive up to 12 months of rental assistance, and an additional three months if need is demonstrated and there are available funds. The relief aid could be used for future rent payments, rental arrears, and utilities and energy bills (and arrears). Payments will be sent directly to landlords, who may apply for rental assistance on behalf of their tenants.
President Biden recently announced his plan for a third COVID-19 stimulus package, which contains $1.9 trillion worth of relief aid, including an additional $25 billion in rental assistance.
Lawmakers in Congress are currently negotiating Biden’s proposal and drafting the new legislation. More relief aid with stimulus checks, enhanced unemployment relief benefits, and additional rental assistance, would likely further boost the multifamily industry as households receive federal support to meet their financial obligations, such as rent.