Landlords, Please Chime in: After CDC Eviction Moratorium & State Eviction Bans, How Big is Nonpayment of Rent, amid Sharply Conflicting Household Surveys & Landlord Data

Small and large landlords, please share your experience in the comments so we can get a better feel of what is actually happening on the ground.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

In addition to residential eviction bans issued by states and municipalities, including the one signed into law in California yesterday, there is the nationwide eviction-moratorium through December 31 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that came to light yesterday – which would be the broadest eviction ban yet.

The order covers all renters in the US below a certain income level (individuals who expect to earn less than $99,000 this year and joint filers expecting to earn less than $198,000). There are other limitations and requirements. But renters can still be evicted for reasons other than nonpayment of rent.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the House coronavirus subcommittee yesterday that the moratorium would affect up to 40 million renters. This is far broader than the eviction ban under the CARES Act that applied only to renters in properties whose mortgages were backed by the government (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, VA, FHA, etc.), which covered about a quarter of all renters.

Under these eviction bans, renters still owe the rent, but they cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent. Instead, the landlord can pursue legal action in the courts to obtain a judgement and then collect on the judgment, but cannot evict the tenant for nonpayment.

Rental properties are usually leveraged. Landlords – whether small landlords with one or two properties or large landlords with many properties or apartment buildings – carry mortgages on those properties and have to make mortgage payments. Many of those mortgages have been bundled into mortgage-backed securities, some backed by the government.

Even the massive landlords born out of the Financial Crisis, such as Invitation Homes that own tens of thousands of single-family houses each, fund their properties with debt, even if at the institutional level by issuing bonds and rent-backed structured securities.

Now there is a risk that these cash-flows up the pipeline, from renters to landlords to creditors and investors are halted, triggering a rolling tsunami of defaults and foreclosures amid landlords.

Or so it would seem. But really?

Surveys by Apartment List of about 4,000 households have indicated that about one-third of households did not make their full housing payments in July and August. One-third! That would be a huge problem.

These “housing payments” include rents and mortgage payments, and we know that mortgages are defaulting in large numbers and are entering forbearance agreements with the lenders.

In terms of rents, Apartment List says: “Among renters with unpaid housing bills, 49 percent have either negotiated, or are in the process of negotiating, an arrangement with their landlord.”

But this dismal data on nonpayment, based on household surveys, does not parallel data supplied by large landlords.

The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC), which represents landlords of multifamily apartment buildings has started to track rent payments during the Pandemic. This is based on data submitted by landlords — not 4,000 household surveys — on 11.4 million “professionally managed” market-rate rental properties.

Some renters were late even during the Good Times. But how have rent payments deteriorated due to the unemployment crisis?

The NMHC found that as of August 27, 92.1% of apartment households made a full or partial payment for August, down by 1.9 percentage point from August 27 last year (94.0%).

It provides further detail for each week of August:

  • By Aug 6: 79.3% of rent payments made, down by 1.9 percentage points from Aug 6, 2019 (81.2%).
  • By Aug 13: 86.9% of rent payments made, down by 2.0 percentage points from Aug 13, 2019 (88.9%).
  • By Aug 20: 90.0% of rent payments made, down by 2.1 percentage points from Aug 20, 2019 (92.1%).
  • By Aug 27: 92.1% of rent payments made, down by 1.9 percentage points from Aug 27, 2019 (94.0%).

The chart shows rent collections by week, compared to the same week in the same month last year. The percentages are based on total occupied units, excluding vacant units. Also excluded are purpose-built student housing, privatized military housing, and subsidized affordable units:

If this deterioration of nonpayment of 1.9 percentage points, as experienced by landlords of 11.4 million apartments, is applied to 43 million renters in the US, it would mean that roughly 817,000 households in the US have fallen behind on rent due to the unemployment crisis.

This is not anywhere near the huge numbers being thrown around in the media and by lobbying groups. For example, The Aspen Institute proclaimed that “20 Million Renters Are at Risk of Eviction.” That would be almost half the renters in the US.

So what is it? 817,000 or 20 million?

Landlords, big and small — yes, you! — please share your rent-payment experience in the comments below.

We’re trying to get a grip on what is actually playing out on the ground. If you are a small landlord with one or two units, or if you’re a larger landlord with lots of units, please share your experience in the comments below so that everyone can get a better feel for what is going on here.

You don’t need to give your actual name (screen name is fine). The more info you can provide about your rentals, the better. This might include:

  • State or metro they’re in
  • Big city, smaller town, rural
  • How many total units
  • Apartments or houses
  • How many (or %) vacant; how is this different from a year ago
  • How many nonpayments for August vs. a year ago
  • Have you agreed to temporarily reduced rent payments? On how many units?
  • Other factors that might shed some light on this.

This is just an informal survey, and it won’t have statistical value, but if enough landlords participate, we can get a better feel for what landlords and tenants face. You can come back over the next few days and read the comments to see how other landlords are doing. Thank you.

Enjoy reading WOLF STREET and want to support it? You can donate. I appreciate it immensely. Click on the beer and iced-tea mug to find out how:

Would you like to be notified via email when WOLF STREET publishes a new article? Sign up here.

  250 comments for “Landlords, Please Chime in: After CDC Eviction Moratorium & State Eviction Bans, How Big is Nonpayment of Rent, amid Sharply Conflicting Household Surveys & Landlord Data

  1. Shane says:

    I have 3 small cottages in WA state, near Seattle, in a expensive little seaport & arts community of about 10,000 people. None are vacant and haven’t been for months. My occupancy runs nearly 100%, and the town’s occupancy rate for rentals is near 100%. All of my tenants, two older & still working but also on pensions, plus one young working-class couple with a 12 y/o child, are current on rent. I have concerns about the younger couple as they still rely on income that is hard to find, but all still good.

    But, I screen my tenants very closely with credit and background checks and extensive personal interviews. They are handpicked. I think this is key to keeping the rents flowing, that and the tight rental market in the area. I could, and would, leave my cottages empty rather than rent to a tenant I had doubts about.

    I reduced the rent by 10% from April through July, then put it back at the agreed-upon rate on August 1st.

    My town’s rental market is, I believe, one that benefits to the proximity of a large, expensive, increasingly chaotic city (Seattle) that people are trying to distance themselves from. The story would be much different elsewhere, probably.

    • Dano says:

      Gig Harbor or Bainbridge?

      • Shane says:


        • Harvey Mushman says:

          Hah!!, that is what I thought. Nice area. I have relatives in Port Townsend, and Sequim.

        • Jason Whittle says:

          Have properties with bars and restaurants. zero rent for two months. Currently receiving an average of 50% rent. No relief from the banks and a 25% discount on taxes. Pretty hellish.

          As others report out of town holiday accomodation getting record bookings.

      • Les says:

        I was thinking Edmunds.

    • Dennis Hofer says:

      I am a landlord with 3 units and have had my employment cut by the virus.
      Two renters have stopped paying basically saying Trump is protecting them from evictions.
      Now I have two units that I will default on my mortgage payments, my property taxes, utilities and insurance.
      My tenants can sue me for failure to pay the utilities, the state can take my property for unpaid taxes and the insurance policies will be revoked. What the hell am I suppose to, file bankruptcy, let the rentals go and watch a deep pockets investor who can wait it then at the right time evict all the tenants and raise the rents.
      Nicely done Trump, no long term thinking, no plans, nothing but a political campaign ploy.
      I am fed up.

      • Dick says:

        I have 39 units 100% at occupancy. They are all in RI. Since the government started with the $600 per week the rents have never in 10 years come in so early and consistently. I don’t understand how a tenant could come up short unless they are an illegal and aren’t getting the bonus in employment.
        The funny thing here is that the RI governed and politicians along with the United Way are having streamed meeting to discuss the Rent Crisis. They are publishing articles as well. I have a friend with over 2000 units in RI and his experience is the same as mine. He has never in 50 years seen the rents come in like this.
        The media and politicians are fabricating this rent crisis and I don’t understand why? Is it just an attempt to capitalize on the pandemic and create more government dependency? Something or should I say something else now doesn’t add up. To my fellow landlords, keep your eye on the ball. Be ready to network and be heard. It seems like they are telling tenants they are getting a pass on their rent because they can’t be evicted. If this sticks, I will lose everything that I have worked so hard for and there will be no government bailing me out.

        • Joe Saba says:

          same for me in AZ
          but now that UI isn’t paying extra, I’m starting to see some cracks
          but 95% occupancy still acceptable
          and I’m RAISING RENTS
          but then again I don’t have MORTGAGE anymore(took 8 years to pay it off)

        • Rufus says:

          I have one condo rental in Maryland, My tenants, an un married couple with two young kids and a new baby are struggling and now owe 6k plus in rent. They’ve been With me for over 3 years and have been late several times before, however COVID has elevated the amounts and my anxieties that they can’t continue to make rent as the amounts increase. I’ve not assessed any fees since March in my effort to help that does little to help overall.

          I feel both state and local governments have left this issue untenable when it could’ve been easily addressed. There must be tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of landlords left without any options. Many will lose greatly. I feel somewhat lucky that I planned out a sustainable cash flow through a LOC, however that only works when a minimum rental payment covers the LOC each month and August I received no rental payment. Landlords are being setup to be the fall guys guys here, it’s not fair and the end game is negative for all involved.

      • quack says:

        life is short sited in US, just 4 year forward no more. It is even less then USSR five year plans. Politicians have no forward looking view just the next election.
        Go figure

      • jeff says:

        Why not invoke forebearance?

        • Chris Harrison says:

          forbearance can not be invoked on investment pr vacant properties

        • Jonny says:

          Forbearance isn’t availble for private mortgages and also isn’t an option for people who don’t have mortgages. Costs continue to be incurred making it difficult for landlords to provide quality housing.

      • Albert P says:

        You can look on youtube at the RNC proceedings and hear many ACTIONs taken.

      • Brian Dalton says:

        Sorry to hear of your plight Dennis…Congress would have implemented a similar moratorium, Trump merely did what was politically is usual for him
        Your current financial woes are the same with or without a ban, economy that relies on debt fueled consumer spending in moments of illiquidity, job losses , pandemic is a doomed economy. Took 40 years of bad bad economic policy to get to where we are’s just too late to turn it around

      • Tom says:

        Yes, I am one of those investors. I love that landlords are united as a group. I will not pay my rent, save the money then wait for people like you to default or sell for pennies on the dollar.

        Sorry, you invested…and lost! Welcome to the real world!

        • Eric says:

          Yes, but ideally you should be able to remove tenants from your property. BS laws shouldn’t interfere. You owe tenants nothing when they don’t pay.

      • Mark says:

        It is a surprise that the Eviction Moratorium is from CDC. This is not just a pandemic problem, it is an important economic problem. The government cannot expect the landlords to shoulder all the burdens of the crisis, they cannot afford to do so. There need to be comprehensive solutions, not just a simple ban.

        • Mark says:

          My tenant immediately stopped all rent payments when my state banned eviction at the beginning of the pandemic. When the state lifted the eviction ban in July, he started paying rent again. With this eviction ban, I am pretty sure that he will not pay me a penny in the next four months, regardless of whether he has money to pay or not.

      • Joe Saba says:

        maybe some more impeachment hearings
        or mueller investigation-that demostrated ILLEGAL activities of DNC
        of course we now have lots of good judges
        to bad prosecutors are FAILING TO DO THEIR JOBS

      • Heather Michelle Kimbrough says:

        We only have 4 units. They are high end, luxury apartments and we are very careful when we select our tenants and usually have a less than .05% vacancy rate. During the COVID-19 crisis, we had one of our tenant’s have to ask us to “reduce” their rent because the husband/wife pair BOTH lost their jobs. We didn’t agree to that but we did agree to allow them to make payments each week. It was a mess. Eventually, we got rid of them at the end of their year lease but several of our 4 units, 3 moved out because that tenant could obviously no longer afford the rent, one if our other tenants was planned because he got married, and the third decided he wanted to buy a house in this market. And we are screwed in this down market because we have a beautiful 1907 craftsman that we restored but my city oversaturated our market, as another commenter has stated, with luxury units. So far, we’ve filled 2 of our units but we’re having a devil of a time filling the final one after spending several thousand dollars doing more upgrades because we don’t want to attract tenants who can’t pay. We went through that already. That is not the kind of place we run because we don’t want to ge in that market since this is our retirement. Feeling very stuck.

      • Paul says:

        8-(“““` Did you save 6-12 months of expenses for every five tears in business for a emergency fund? Common business practice since the 80’s. You chose the wrong business and didn’t have an emergency fund. You relied on others and you loose. You probably have money in the stock market too. I believe you will loose 70% in three years or less. I would advise you to STOP playing the game and watch the decline or cash out and make a donation for a second citizenship and live where it’s cheaper and enjoy more freedom.

        Personally, I don’t give a damn if the US sinks or swims. I’m positioned to win either way. I’m day 18 in the US this year and leaving after a friends wedding.

    • Jon says:

      Same story with one rental in Portland and 2 houses 90 miles away in Astoria on the coast. 100% occupancy and always paid up on the 1st or early. One tenant brought extra rent when this started to reassure us they would not be flaking on us. All are rented a couple hundred below market, making for 0 turnover so far and very unattractive to move in a market with few available units. May be different in a large complex, but in our area reasonably rented houses are hard to find. All our tenants are millennial families.

    • Dixie Bell says:

      So we are 20 plus miles from Seattle. We a downstairs unit rented by painters, and a 2 bedroom condo rented by 2 retired. Our rents are reasonable so “no” both are 100% current.

  2. Memento mori says:

    We manage about 120 units in San Diego county, we had some people that gave notice to leave and probably went to live with their friends /parents but all rent was paid.
    Now we are asking double security deposit for new applicants and have almost no vacancy.
    All tenants are current with their rent payments and rent was paid on time throughout the pandemic. (typical age profile of our tenants is 30 to 40 years old)
    Our situation may not be representative of others as our units are better than average, and located near the beach.

    • Joe Saba says:

      I was 100% occupied(around 80 units) in Tucson
      class C properties
      have 1 ‘covid’ deadbeat – finally getting some RENT ASSISTANCE but he was already $3k behind
      had 2 others MOVE OUT and not pay last couple months rent using covid excuse
      GIVING 5 day notice to evict to another tenant $1,500 behind and he DOESN’T QUALIFY UNDER CDC guidelines
      I’ve repeatedly badgered him to seek assistance(there is a lot of it out there)
      new tenants – AZ only allows 1st month+1 1/2 month deposit
      so I have talk with prospective tenants before and if they would be DENIED given credit/work history(no unemployment isn’t a job)
      I inform them that I would likely TURN THEM DOWN
      but they COULD OFFER ME MORE THAN what AZ allows – I make them sign statement before accepting $1 – keeps me legal

      oh and I’m RAISING RENTS due to high demand from OUT OF STATERS(mexifornia, texas, NC, east coast)

      • Craig says:

        Your entire business will go belly up with three years max. Enjoy the ride while it lasts. BTW, you will be lowering rent before the three year mark and will probably have to take whomever has the deposit. You are about to take a very long ride on the super depression train! Also, your ego will be deflated considerably. Tell yourself everything will be ok and enjoy the ride!

  3. RightNYer says:

    After rent control, eminent domain for private developers, landmark preservation status, I see little evidence that SCOTUS will apply the Takings Clause at all.

    Read Penn Central v. NYC, Kelo v. New London, Lucas v. SC Coastal. Bunch of cowards.

  4. c1ue says:

    Self incrimination? Search and Seizure?

  5. Tamara Lucas says:

    My son just emailed me stating that for the first time ever his apartment complex sent a letter out stating that rent is due on the 1st and late after the 3rd. I shared with him the new CDC and White House agreement that was passed. I believe that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This new order will probably serve as the catalyst to increase the numbers you shared in your report, by as much as 10%-20%.

    If it does increase the number of delinquencies then I believe that you could see landlords requesting 2-4 months rent as a security deposit in 2021-2022. Also, apartment owners are stating that affordable apartment homes will no longer have any appeal to builders. Instead apartment builders will only focus on the high income apartments where someone must earn $100K+++ single / $200K+++ couples to ensure that they can evict for non-payment of rent.

    • cb says:

      Tamara said: “I shared with him the new CDC and White House agreement that was passed. ”

      Is this an actuality or a myth? Has anyone seen it?

    • Josap says:

      In my State the total deposit collectible allowed is 1.5 times the rent. Sec dep, pet dep, cleaning … no more than 1.5 times the rent.

      • Lee says:

        New law introduced to parliament this afternoon to extend the eviction ban until April next year:

        “Renters in Victoria may soon enjoy the longest eviction ban in the country, as the state government moves to prevent landlords from kicking them out until as late as next April.

        The Rent Fair amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act are set to be delayed for a similar period.

        The eviction ban was introduced in the early days of the pandemic to prevent tenants from being evicted for the non-payment of rent, in recognition of the sweeping job losses and reduced incomes seen across the country. Originally due to last six months, it was later extended to December.

        Newly minted Consumer Affairs Minister Melissa Horne introduced the COVID-19 Commercial and Residential Tenancies Legislation Amendment (Extension) Bill 2020 to the Parliament on Thursday, which will extend the support for tenants and landlords even longer if passed through the upper house.”

      • Bobby Dale says:

        There is no limit in my state as to deposit requirements, I currently have one vacant unit, a utilities paid one. Have had too many inquiries to count, but this morning I revised the online listing , now requiring 3 months in advance plus security deposit.

  6. MonkeyBusiness says:

    It will be like mortgages i.e. slumlords (the kind that probably won’t come here) are probably struggling, but people who rent to tenants with good jobs will not have a problem.

    Two track economy will continue.

    • Rock Hard says:

      Actually, probably the people on section 8 or SSI/Disability are fine, those checks keep coming. The A&B level properties will hurt worse.

      • bungee says:

        maybe not. on the low end of the housing spectrum, the threat of eviction can sometimes be the only motivator for payment. i know the owner of several SROs. he claims its the end of the world for him. he says “they know they dont have to pay” and im sure he’ll never be able to get anything from them later.

  7. NoFreeLunch says:

    Those of us who remember the S&L/oil&gas crisis in certain cities in the 1980’s (Denver, Dallas, OKC, Houston) remember the dramatic change in the well being of some parts of those cities. Those multi-family landlords who had too unsustainable negative cashflow just left and filed a quitclaim deed with the county. The maintenance stopped, joint utilities weren’t paid and got shut off. The news would report on horrible “tenant” conditions, but conclude nothing could be done for them, since no one was any longer responsible. Those buildings in turn brought the value of single homes down. Pretty soon, once popular whole neighborhoods became undesirable to live in, or travel through. In the end, you can’t force people to support others if they don;t have the money to do so. In other words, its Econ 101: you can control the supply of something, or the price of something, but never both at the same time. If the price (rent) goes to zero, before too long, the supply (the apartment) will go away too.

    • lenert says:

      Seems questionable an eviction ban is within the CDCs existing authority – not that it doesn’t make sense – but there sure as hell isn’t any money authorized for it without the president taking it from another department.

      • Anthony A. says:

        Yes, I also wondered how the CDC has the authority to dictate this kind of rule to existing citizens and businesses in the U.S. Is this some new type of delegation of authority authorized by Congress?

      • MonkeyBusiness says:

        NASA’s smart, they are using Elon’s balance sheet ;)

      • Lee says:

        Nah, they are too busy trying to think up of another scientific name for “Black Holes” – the ultimate scientific question of the 2020’s.

      • Chuck C says:

        If CDC can legally do this, then what’s to prevent NASA from issuing a eviction moratorium also?

      • yossarian says:

        yes, this seems especially bizarre because the cdc isn’t a normal government agency. it’s actually a public private partnership that is a registered charity and receives donations from the private sector.

    • NoFreeLunch says:

      I live in Venezuela where gas is mandated to be 5 cent/gal, but you can’t get it, or USSR where free bread never seems to be on the shelves. Or, best of all, at my job that provides life saving services that I no longer show up to if I don’t get paid enough for after taxes are withheld. You see, I not only vote, but decide whether I want cooperate with the result.

    • QP says:

      If you were a landlord you would recognize your sophistry for what it is.

    • deplorably stanley says:

      I remember it well, we lived in Austin at the time. Half the neighborhood was vacant with a notice on the front doors – this house belongs to HUD. Those were weird times.

    • Gerald Croteau says:

      Interesting comment. But are we seeing an increase in any markets of owners walking from properties? How does one measure that?

      I think this is the heart of the issue, but if it starts it would be a tipping point cascade for sure.

      • LDC says:

        I’m a landlord in Kentucky and I’m walking.

      • JanaChristo says:

        Home prices are going up. I don’t think owners will walk away from properties until a price reversal happens.

        • Mira says:

          It’s astonishing, isn’t it !!
          I looked at 1/21 Wewak Parade Heidelberg West, Victoria .. to be sold via expressions of interest .. a secret bid & a second bid not required nor sought.
          The unit sold for $610.000 .. well over its true value .. a profit of $70k plus .. though it was furnished & said to be lived in by the owner .. it was an empty house & still is an empty house .. a investment portfolio asset repurchased buy the owner via a sister company perhaps.
          The sale was to artificially ratchet up the value of the property.
          Custodial sentences may be in order here.

  8. Trinacria says:

    No problem buying all the crap under the sun…but paying rent, auto loans, etc…..well, that’s another matter.

  9. RepubAnon says:

    The current numbers are largely based on life with the $600/week unemployment payments. Those have stopped now. September is the month that will tell us whether the dominos start falling.

  10. Ed says:

    This is awful. What is the CDC doing getting involved in housing. Manage 40 higher end units in Missouri. Only 1 bad actor, but give people more excuses to misbehave and they will. Everyone else is current. The terms of qualifying seem to be written as if for the state of California. This disgusts me.. as owners, we’re supposed to carry the people that don’t want to spend their money on rent? When people leave owing, they never come back and pay.

    • Keith says:

      I would say they are getting more involved in politics, rather than housing. This plays more into 2020 POTUS competition and the negotiations in Congress. Politically, it can be seen as a win for Team Trump, as he appears to be trying to do something to keep people in their homes. My guess there are a lot more renters than there are landlords.

    • happy_man says:

      @ Ed

      Why do you think it’s awful for the CDC to mess with housing?

      Did you complain when the Federal Govt it could get ignore the Constitution and be deeply involved in any business, interstate or not, including local housing? Did you complain when the Federal Government decided to assume the risk of almost every mortgage and dictating the terms and underwriting of mortgages? Did you complain when the Federal Govt started paying rent for millions of people and building housing projects? Did you complain when the Federal Govt manipulated interest rates providing a kind of debt subsidy for reckless debtors to gamble on the price of houses? Did you complain when the above actions made it unbearably expensive for a family like mine to afford basic housing? Or is all the above OK with you and only this latest adventure, only the CDC order you find offensive?

      • LastFirst says:


      • Ed says:

        Happy, I’d say your name appears to be quite a misnomer? I can’t tell if you’re for Uncle Joe or Trump…. I’m not a fan of massive government involvement in anything. If you’d read the article, you’d see it was about the CDC and their involvement into housing. They have no business in doing this. If housing is too expensive, then move somewhere else. That’s what I would do. There’s cheap rent, Im certain, in areas hit by the rioters. Do you really think this will help people struggling to pay the rent? Of course not. Rental qualifications will become more difficult and rents will go up. So, these regulations help you? You really think? You write like you just finished up a PhD program with 300k in debt and prospects for a 30k a year job. Look in the mirror and take responsibility for yourself and your decisions. Beyond that, empower yourself to make changes and be as prosperous as you want to be… -or- keep being a victim, waiting for more help from a government trying to buy your vote. Tell me how well that’s worked out for you? When housing costs too much, either work more, get a different job, or move. I made a choice to not live in stupid expense areas. It’s pretty dumb to do, unless you have a large income. Not my fault or the government’s fault. It’s your fault that you’re there. Maybe the government will give you more freebies…IDK

    • J says:

      I totally agree. We put our savings into rentals and it is our retirement income right now. In January, we will owe approx $30,000 in property taxes and another $15,000 in insurance. That is if there are no repairs. Doesn’t include loans for improvements & mortgages. This is for 6 single family rental homes. We live in a small town outside of Dallas. We could not afford to not collect rent. The bills would overwhelm us very very quickly. Then only the big investment companies would win. Hmm….maybe they are the ones lobbying for this crazy legislation.

  11. Nathan L says:

    I have 2 rental houses in a Midwest state. Tenants are paying albeit sometimes late. Dropped the rent $100 for one. Property management company reports most are still paying. Didn’t get the impression it was near the 50% eviction scare figure or whatever the media is claiming these days.

    The eviction moratoriums do seem to have a lot of small time landlords angry. They seemed convinced they’re screwed and large REITs will come in and scoop all the property up cheap eventually.

  12. Krupa says:

    All tenants in my Sacramento fourplex are current with their rent, and have been their entire tenancy

  13. Jokiddo says:

    I’m renting out a house in Wayzata – a suburb of Minneapolis – to a small family where both parents work, now from home. They have never missed a payment and extended their lease, probably because moving during riots and a pandemic is too much, but also because they could never get such a perfect location for the low rent that I charge. It could be rented again instantly. My two cents…

  14. Rodney says:

    Why cant all these rent arrears etc just be past up the line to the Banksters who started this farce in the first place to make a killing, every
    one stop paying any money owed back to the the Banks , after all they have stolen it all now, with their printed out of thin air credit to put us all in debt at great interest..

  15. p says:

    2 single family homes in Atlanta 2 student residences in SC. All rents up to date

  16. Rowen says:

    Small commercial landlord in SC, ~12 units, ranging from $1K (office/retail) to $5K (standalone restaurants). All paid off w/ pre-2000 cost basis in a smallish superstar city. Urged all tenants to get PPP loans. Rent concessions from 25%-75%.

    What’s the alternative, kick the tenants out, squeeze blood from a stone, and find a different tenant who didn’t get fked by Covid? With my gains from stonks, I’m more than positive for 2020. Granted not every landlord is fortunate enough to be in my shoes, but then again, I didn’t cashout refinance my properties 10X in 30 years like the apt complex behind me…

    • Gulf Breeze says:

      I co-own mixed use commercial property in Seattle. They are pot related, plus manufacturing, plus office. Office space has been sitting empty for two years but other spaces doing just fine. Apparently people like their dope when they’re stuck at home. ‘Party on’ is all I can say!

  17. lenert says:

    They could maybe add eviction bans to the regulation but right now the measures include: “inspection, fumigation, disinfection, sanitation, pest extermination, and destruction of animals or articles believed to be sources of infection.” CDC is maybe budgeted for those things, but backstopping rent?

    • Josap says:

      The CDC is not backstopping the rent. The CDC is not spending any money. They have ruled/decided/whatever that forcing people who can’t pay rent to move in with family or friends increases the possibility of covid infection. Larger families or multi-generational families are more at risk.

      Yes, it is a political move. Because Trump’s people won’t bargain with Congress there is no help for people who do need help. Trump can ride to the rescue. Congress can’t throw a public fit about Trump helping people even if the move isn’t exactly legal.

      • Happy1 says:

        “Trump won’t bargain with Congress”

        Please. I’m not a fan of Trump, but Nancy Pelosi won’t budge from her demand of hundreds of billions for state and local governments which are struggling pre Covid-19 because of pension costs. Repubs also would like to cut the 600$ extra because it’s so generous that most people made more unemployed than employed, which is nuts. Blame is on both sides but a little more on the Dems.

  18. Brant Lee says:

    You mean this info is as hard to figure out as the actual unemployment numbers and COVID cases? So then, the gov and media can slant the figures as needed, the elections proceed as usual, and the stock market can keep roaring.

  19. I’m in Arizona. Mostly lower end rentals, but in good condition. Lots of long term tenants. Past due tenants were better than normal, but they are now about the same. A lot of the usual suspects who always paid late — very few actual Covid hardships. If there are some, assistance steps in or they seem to find a job within 30 days.

    I do have a few freeloaders though — it’s clearly taking longer to get them out. Standard stuff though — no job, and too lazy to file for assistance seems to be common on the two I’m thinking about.

    • Gordian knot says:

      When I bought my first rental I rented to my son and he brought in a friend as a roommate then my son left and his friend brought someone else in after this happened a couple more times I didn’t even know who my tennets were they just paid every month cash. Long story short I ended up with a deadbeat family that was proving difficult to evict so I had one of my sons move in and make the tennents life a living hell. They left. I started doing things correctly background check ect… After that. Sometimes you have to think outside of the box when it comes to evictions. Bring in a person that will make the tennents voluntarily leave.

  20. Steve Anderson says:

    I own close to 10 rental units in California — or manage, as opposed to own, in the case of one unit that I help my parents with. I haven’t had a single tenant miss a single payment, and I have not been late on an of my mortgage payments. And as I think about it, I don’t think any of my tenants have even been late either since this virus situation started. Maybe we’re lucky, or maybe this is the result of careful tenant selection. I have had a couple of tenants give notice to move out recently, but this doesn’t seem to be COVID-related in any way . . . just people moving on for whatever reason. My perspective is that California has for the most part provided pretty good support for its residents who become unemployed, and most of my rentals are not in the super expensive markets where a person couldn’t make the payment using unemployment benefits (at least with the extra $600 included). I have 1 rental in Silicon Valley and 1 in Napa Valley, but those tenants seem to be well able to pay the rent. For the most part my perspective is that people want to fulfill their commitments as much as possible, and I feel the same way myself. As I said, I may be lucky.

    • Jon says:

      My friend lost her job and was paid additional 600/week. Now this is gone and she is on bare minimum UE benefit. Her other benefits from state has been slashed as well.

      She is barely able to get through and I am asking her stop paying rent.

      Another friend is leaving CA for Az for good.

      I am in San Diego.

      People in SD are hurting big time but it has been masked but now gradually getting undone.

  21. Paulo says:

    Small landlord in an eviction ban area.

    I rent a small house to a friend of mine who is more like an uncle than a tenant. There is no damage deposit and the rent cheque is usually filled out 2 weeks ahead of time. I kept Hydro in my name and just give him the bi-monthly bill. He always pays that immediately. We plan on buying a neighbour’s house in the future, all depending on current owners health. (We have first refusal, supposedly). We will also rent that home to someone we know, or let it stand empty until the right person comes along.

    My son rents his house to another friend of mine, and the house is about 200 meters from my home. The rent is paid on the first of the month by email transfer and is never late. There is also no damage deposit.

    I don’t think I would ever borrow money to be a landlord. I don’t like being a landlord. All places are paid for so the rent is a nice bonus every month. Son and I are landlords solely to control who the neighbours are. If you get a shitty neighbour in a rural area you might as well move on. It can be a nightmare as there are few bylaws and no easy way to fix issues. One bonus is that I have some tough friends who will help me out if I ever have a poor tenant, plus son has a black belt and younger lethal friends. A poor tenant will move on and be glad to do so if required. The pending place will most likely have a formal rental agreement if the tenants are not personal friends. Peace and quiet is #1 priority for us and it will be addressed in the agreement. Because we live right nearby there is also little chance of any damage going unnoticed. We (son and I) buy paint and materials and simply tell renters to treat the place like their own. However, no renos to be done by tenants. I cut the grass with a tractor and plow the driveways if it snows.

    It is kind of a win win all around. We are respectful and they return it us in kind. The next place over from us used to be a rental and the owner was a dick to his many tenants. It was like he had something on them being their landlord. The renters hated him and the arrangements always fell apart, almost yearly. Thankfully, he sold the place to a young couple I know.

    It would be a tough gig to own and rent apartments. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be in these times.

    • Ghassan says:


      I wish you were my neighbor, peace and quiet are the only things that I wish for from a neighbor or anyone passing through but seems rare to find these kind of ppl.
      Very smart of you to chose your neighbors, wish I could afford that.

    • Heff says:

      “If you get a shitty neighbour in a rural area you might as well move on. It can be a nightmare as there are few bylaws and no easy way to fix issues.”

      Can happen anywhere too. We “moved on” from a very upscale suburban location due to shitty neighbors on both sides. Police were called many times due to noise issues, harassment. The great neighborhood feeling was gone, wasn’t worth it to stay. On the bonus side, we sold at the top of the market in fall of 2006! We moved farther out now on an acre. Much quieter now, but looking for more acreage and privacy.

      • Happy1 says:

        I have a good friend with similar experience in an upscale Denver suburb. Neighbor is a lawyer, they got involved in a property dispute over a few feet along a fence line, cost him tens of thousands of dollars to resolve.

  22. Eric says:

    San Francisco Bay Area: 4 condo’s in the city of San Francisco and <10 SFH's in San Jose, Berkeley, Orinda, Fremont, Mountain View.

    All SFH renters are paying rent on time. No one asks for reduction or deferral of rent.

    For the condo's in San Francisco. almost all of the them are having turn over. 2 of them were vacated and re-rented at 20% lower rent. 1 of them in the process of vacated. 1 of them is in discussion. No one has missed rent.

    Albuquerue NM: 1 SFH. Reduced rent for tenant. 36 unit apartment building: 2 vacancy. Most paid on time. A few late. This is normal. No one asked for help with rent.

  23. Sam says:

    PDX region: rents going dwn (mucho incentives on large apt/condo’s complexes offered) while SFR’s are sold before the sign goes up (re Intel/Nike mcmansion ‘hood). Remodel contractors are busy, takes four plus contacts to get one to show up.
    Btw Plenty of parking avail in dwtn PDX, though arterial traffic is back to 90% density plus lots of anger/road rage. Never have seen so many new trucks (temp in window) on the road. FCAU must be discounting hard.
    Hearing of new boats (water & jet ski mode) sales up.
    No fear by the sheeple.

  24. cb says:

    Wolf said: “Even the massive landlords born out of the Financial Crisis, such as Invitation Homes that own tens of thousands of single-family houses each, fund their properties with debt, even if at the institutional level by issuing bonds and rent-backed structured securities.”

    It was warped FED/Bush/Obama/Paulson/Geithner/Treasury/Congressional interventions that allowed Hedge Funds and other institutions to compete with families to own houses. It was a subsidization of passive investors to extract production from the working population, and it continues to this day.
    Let the “investors” go broke, and then let all the bureaucrats and politicians that created it be prosecuted for racketeering.
    A whole lot of small landlords were also heavily benefitted from the FED manipulation. Many, about to go under due to imprudence in taking on too much debt, were saved by forbearance, refinance, etc. They have since benefitted by inflation pushing up rents. Instead of becoming the losers that the unmanipulated market would have made them, many are now winners …………. thanks to being made so via FED/Govt action.

  25. Cas127 says:


    There are some (large) apartment complex owners that are publicly traded (ditto apt focused REITs).

    I wonder if their quarterly SEC filings won’t have more accurate “paid up renter” data than an avalanche of anecdotes.

    Or the press releases from either conflicted interest side.

    The legal liability attached to SEC/tax misstatements tends to cut through a fair amount of the BS strategically deployed by interested parties looking to lobby public opinion.

    That factor leaves the Pelosi’s of the world unaffected (Privilege!) but it is much harder for publicly traded landlords to evade.

  26. Nate says:

    Asheville NC here. So far so good with my little ’empire’, ie no missed or late payments. I have professional management with the exception of one kid for whom I’m giving a break for maintenance work.

  27. bob says:

    Los Angeles, Silverlake, Los Feliz…15 units…only two are paying zero since March 2020; one is paying 1/2 of $2K since March. The other twelve are current. average rent is $2100. I’m negotiating with one tenant for a buy out. The other non paying problem tenant hoping to evict when possible. The 1/2 paying rent tenant will negotiate in the future.

  28. R says:

    Two SFH in SC portion of Charlotte NC suburbs. One multi-year tenant paying slightly below market, one <1 year tenant paying market. Both current, no requests for accommodation.

  29. Satya Mardelli says:

    Metro Phoenix – 2-4plexes, 2SFRs. All tenants gainfully employed and none experienced C19 related layoffs. All tenants current through 9/1/2020.

    On a side note I witnessed an unusual number of homeless people last week walking around Mesa right at daybreak. Pushing grocery carts with their personal belongings in it. I’ve never seen it this bad. It broke my heart seeing this human condition. Except for one young man the entire group were elderly. These people appeared to be completely impoverished. Very sad.

  30. Butte Bill says:

    100 “garden” 4plex units in Tulsa area. 2 vacancies, with lease ups scheduled for mid September. At end of August 2 tenants are behind in rent a total of $184. Had one tenant leave in August owing 3 months rent.

    (In my town in northern California, CSU announced freshman have to return home a week after classes start. Of approximately 16,000 students, 10,000 came back to study as they were told 10% of classes/labs would be “real”. About a week into classes University announced 100% online and dorms would have to be vacated by end of week (affecting only ~ 750 students). So bottom line, University gave students the ole bait and switch and enabled local landlords to get about 3-4,000 leases signed by students w cosigning parents before saying sayonara to said pupils. (Not nice))

  31. D220 says:

    I have a small 1 br unit in a highly desirable high rise condo building in the Amazon area of Seattle. It was my residence for a few years until I turned it into a rental in 2011.

    My most recent tenant left on July 1 of this year (for non covid related reasons). I am hesitant to re-rent the unit as I see only grief ahead if I do. Between the rental moratorium for Seattle that is in place until March 1 (the covid moratorium followed by a winter moratorium) and Seattle’s restrictive tenant-landlord laws (well-intentioned, perhaps, but full of disincentives to being a small landlord), a decision to continue renting out the unit at this time does not seem rational. I feel bad about leaving the unit empty but the risk of not being compensated followed by the potential of associated legal headaches is too high for me. The place will remain vacant until the end of the moratorium(s). To cover HOA dues, taxes and insurance, I’ll be using my savings.

    • GirlInOC says:

      Can you sell? You should snoop around on #housingtwitter. There is so much on there about empty units making the housing crisis worse. Down here at least the market is hot as ever so I imagine this as good a time as any to sell.

  32. WAW says:

    I own a small 2 bed/1bath single family home in Los Angeles a mile from the high rent district of South Pasadena. The area the house is in is becoming gentrified from a low-middle class suburb. The renters are a young couple. The husband works in the film industry and has been on unemployment since March. The wife continues to work from home for a nonprofit company. No kids. They are good tenants and have paid their rent consistently. Their water bill was excessively high and I gave them a $600 discount on one month’s rent as the cause may have been the sprinkler system. I keep the rent low and have no mortgage.

  33. Faye says:

    Seems like the government should put taxes on hold since the government is preventing the collection of rent.

  34. J Sup says:

    Rentals in Queens, New York, Nassau County, NY and Southampton, NY. All tenants are paying in full and on time.
    One thing us landlords cant figure out is how the tenants will catch up once they defer their rent payments.
    Unfortunately some people did not save for a rainy day or are living beyond their means and we feel bad for them but if landlords defer their mortgage payments, the bank will eventually make them pay in full after the forbearance period.

  35. Wolverine says:

    Ann Arbor, Michigan home of the University of Michigan

    6 SFR – all rented. all paid and paying on time. Student tenants
    7 Apts – all rented, all paid and paying on time. Student tenants.
    4 Commercial, Total rent forbearance for April, May & June, all paying now. Negotiate mortgage forbearance in March for April, May & June.

    Small Northern Michigan Community

    3 SFR – all rented, all paid and paying on time. All tenants are on Social Security.

  36. Kasadour says:

    I’ve explained the Oregon state eviction moratorium in a couple places on this blog, so I won’t go too much into detail, but the state moratorium, set to expire Sept 30 2020, blocks the eviction at the very last step in the process- the writ of execution. Meanwhile, the writs are piling up. Each county is responsible to carry out the writ via Sheriff’s office. I can’t comment on how big this is in dollar terms (I sound like Gartman), but rather in terms of how long this is backed up once the moratorium is lifted- for example, Clackamas county (one of three high population counties in Oregon) is behind on executions of writ by at least one year. Multnomah county, the most populous county, same or longer. I know this because I used to handle plaintiff’s evictions in Oregon at the trial level, and I have friends and associates still active in this cottage industry.

    • MCH says:

      Yikes…. this is literally the most scary case of all, a year in delayed execution. Depending on the situation and when this finally resolves, the tenant could be there through most of 2021.

  37. cas127 says:


    Those NMHC rental pmts stats are defined to include *partial* pmts…which is a pretty big hole to drive messaged stats through.

    If the % of *rent* due vs. % of full/partial payors were good numbers, my guess is that the NMHC would be using them (note the NMHC lobbies hard further down in the press release for extending the $600 covid unemployment bonus…money that would go to rent…).

    Apt owners have at least some interest in manipulating the payor stats upward…since rent flow (misunderstood or not) forms the basis of potential sales price (to a incautious buyer…) and collateral value underlying loans (can apt lenders call loans if collateral value falls the way oil lenders can? Are there periodic collateral revaluation periods in apt lending, as in oil exploration lending?)

    Since lenders tend to have been to every rodeo since the beginning of time, I tend to think almost all lending agreements (default versions at least) are drafted to heavily favor the lender (especially regarding impairments in collateral value).

    If that is the case, large apt borrowers have a lot of incentive to distort claimed rent pmts upward (not to mention trying to avd further non-pmt contagion…)

    • Wolf Richter says:

      “Those NMHC rental pmts stats are defined to include *partial* pmts”

      What matters is the year-over-year comparison — the difference = 1.9 percentage points.

      • Cookdoggie says:

        So, ten people paying full rent last year and the same ten people paying 5% of their rent this year would show as no change year over year. That’s his point Wolf. The report shows number of renters making any payment, without regard to what level of payment is being made. Without more detail that stat is meaningless.

    • tara says:

      I work for a small company in the Phx metro area. We own/operate about 15 apartment complexes and manufactured home communities in the SW. The mortgage stipulates that monthly income must be at least 15% higher than the monthly mortgage payment. If it falls below that, then the mortgage is in defaut.

      Rent collections so far have been only slightly lower than last year, as Wolf’s charts show, but this new eviction moratorium combined with the reduction in unemployment benefits could make our company lose everything.

      If this action results in a wave of defaults will it be an unintended consequence of pandering for votes or a calculated wealth transfer to the REITS?

  38. Ken says:

    KJP. I have a 3 story building in Nyack, NY. Paid off my mortgage many years ago. So no mortgage forbearance for me! And rents down almost 50% even as I greatly reduced the rents on two stores on the ground floor. Four folks with offices departed (can’t pay rent, work from home, no clients, etc,).
    Yet I have my TAXES to pay!!! Property, County, School, Village. I wonder if I may have to sell in this horrible economic/political situation? FOUR months with NO rents from a few tenants.
    HELP, someone, please. Reduce my tax bill proportionately!!
    And now can’t evict till Dec 31st???

  39. Old Engineer says:

    The NMHC numbers are not a surprise to me. Here in Huntsville, AL, most renters at risk are those in lower wage categories. And those people make up the bulk of the “essential” workers, who have kept working through the epidemic. Many have a done a little (incrementally) better due to more hours, hazard pay, etc.
    Lawn workers and construction workers have continued as normal. However, in the last two weeks while on my bike ride I have seen two houses with all (and I mean all) the contents piled out by the street for the trash. I haven’t seen that for 10 years. A small percentage of total housing in this part of town, but…

  40. Peter Winton says:

    Dispersed in Connecticut suburban units, single family houses and mutiunits
    22 units totals
    All occupied. Same as year ago
    4 outright nonpayment rest paying on time. For timely payers payments have been better than a year ago. For non payers nothing Outright refusal to respond to phone calls etc.
    No reduced payments

  41. George Harris says:

    I have 3 homes free and clear in Jacksonville, Fl. average rent is $1,300 a month. None of my tenants have been late or struggle with payments. I have a Real Estate license also 25 years and professionally manage 18 other homes for a variety of individual owners. I have one tenant who is struggling to keep up as she works in hospitality industry but thus far she is current. All 18 are current an I have not had to post any 3 day notices or evictions this year.

  42. Lisa says:

    I manage 3 rental properties for my elderly father in Salem, OR. Two small houses and an apartment above my father’s home. All are month-by-month. Apartment is rented to my nephew and he always pays on time. One of the houses is long time renter who also pays on time. The other tenant has been problematic. She is late nearly every month, makes partial payment, then tries to catch up. I have tried to work with her for the past year. Since Covid it has gotten worse, but I’m unclear whether it’s really a Covid employment issue or if she is using that as an excuse for late or non-payment. She and her bf both work for Amazon distribution center. They are hiring constantly, so her claim she & bf’s hours are reduced due to Covid is questionable. I have asked for proof, but nothing received thus far. At this point she is behind around $2,000 and now says she can’t make Sept rent either. My father needs part of the rent $$ for mortgages so is dipping into savings to cover. We also cover the water bill, which has doubled in the past couple of months. Not sure what she is doing, but it’s not watering the lawn. We are planning on eviction as soon as we can do so legally.

    We are also considering selling the home, so need to look into how that would affect the moratorium/eviction situation.

  43. Photon says:

    Small landlord here. I rent a single 2br condo in a small Lake Tahoe community on the NV side. My tenants run alternative medicine clinics and manage vacation rentals. They were completely shut down for over a month. The vacation rental business also tanked briefly but then the influx of Bay area dwellers looking to escape ensued when NV began opening back up.

    I gave them a 50% discount on April rent. Nothing after that. They are working again and making timely and full payments. They recently notified me that they will be moving out of state soon. Housing is in great demand in this little resort town. I already have a few possible tenants lined up with a 15-20% rent increase from the current tenants’ rate. Tahoe real estate, including rentals, is crazy right now!

  44. myron j sharp says:

    I own property on chicago south side. A little rougher area but i get good cash flow. I have half section 8 and half market tenant. Most of the market tenant are back on there rent or not paying at all. I screen very good. Non have previous evictions. If there the tenant dont need to pay rent the government need to pay the landlords. My area will be boarded up and the foreclosures will hit hard. Many owner have fha financing and own with only a few thousand dollars out of pocket with no rent coming in they will be giving the property back to the bank

  45. Erik says:

    7 apartments in San Diego (1 and 2beds). Thus far all tenants have paid their rent on time. Tenants in the 25-35yo age range.

    I also have an expensive longer term Airbnb in LA (1-2 months at a time) and that has been devastated. Completely empty for the best 3 months of the year….and now renting it out at short notice for 30-50% discount.

  46. gnokgnoh says:

    Three single-family homes in immediate northern suburbs of Philadelphia. No mortgages, all tenants fully paid up, no reductions in rent, working class or middle income, small (two-bedroom) homes. My wife tells me not to jinx us…

  47. seb says:

    Time will tell. It’s probably too early to get good data.

    With the $600/week from the feds now either reduced or eliminated entirely and more high paying jobs being laid off after the PPP ran out and companies are realizing what the landscape looks like, I would assume that increases will be a few months off.

    Here in CA, so many factors from the government stepping in regarding RE that it will take a while to see what is actually happening with the markets.

    • RightNYer says:

      I agree. I think the government stimulus would have been effective in preventing long-term damage IF and only if Americans had cooperated, distanced and wore masks, and basically neutralized the virus by the end of April or beginning of May. But we didn’t, so the pandemic has gone on far beyond the ability of small businesses (and some large businesses) to weather the storm.

      The point was for the stimulus to “make up” the lost revenue. That might have worked had revenue been down for 1-2 months, and then sharply rebounded back. But it is now almost 6 months, and really, no end in sight.

  48. Anthony A. says:

    Until the free money runs out. It always works like this to “solve” the problems.

  49. MikeLebos says:

    I have 4 houses in Orange County CA, and 5 houses in Phoenix,AZ area. Every single tenant has paid on time. There were a few turnovers with lease expiring (all three moved out to buy their own house!), and they left the place in a good condition.

    I think the predictions of “millions of evictions” are akin to “millions of deaths” from covid19. Both seem bogus.

    Is this a ploy to “shake out the tree”? First, you encourage people to not pay rent, even though they can (government “conditions” notwithstanding, because do you have any faith in the U.S. court system that you, as a landlord, will ever be able to see it through? If you do, I have some sweet unicorn milk to sell you….) . Then, any property owner who can’t hold on to their property must sell. And the question is who’s buying?

    Because I get about 2-3 texts every day from “Linda”, “John” etc. asking to pay full price for my rentals in cash. They are not low-balling. I think these are shadow buyers flush with newly printed money. What do these companies know that I don’t?

    Because in the Phoenix area, prices of houses (not so much condos, which have declined by maybe 2-3%) are up 15% from March. That’s 15% increase in 6 months!! Not a hyperbole, for real. I am always on the lookout myself, and I look at everything, from Buckey to North Phoenix down to Chandler and San Tan Valley. Inflation in housing is rampant.

    Rent prices in CA are up about 13% in the same period of time. The demand for rentals is insane. I am turning over a house now and I have 14 showings today. This has never happened before. I used to rent it for $1800 (in the past year, which was market rate), now I can get $2150 for it.

    Perhaps some people can’t pay rent. But there is so many more that can. Feels like money is sloshing all around.

    Eviction moratorium will only serve to kill investment in low-income housing, because money is here. The Government is doing it all wrong, and under wrong pretenses. I was thinking of buying a few more rental properties. I will not do that anymore. Too much government interference, too much communism as it were. I feel on thin ice as a rental property owner.

    What Government is saying, and what’s really happening are two different things.

    What I can’t figure out is, why? Is it:

    1) stupidity of our elected brethren?

    2) a collusion between Gov and shadow RE buyers to shake out the tree and get properties for cheap before the dollar is killed off (last year if you asked me I’d say conspiracy theory, now I will seriously think about it) or

    3) a deliberate attempt to erode property rights so only the biggest and best connected survive and continue to exist in a corrupt shady USA, where your right to own a rental property depends on whether you’re close to political power?

    I don’t know, but whatever it is, the whole “apocalypse now” with evictions isn’t happening.

    What I am afraid of is that something else is happening, meaning 2) or 3). And nobody is talking about it. Property owners are the only ones in our society asked to provide something for free (again, if you tenants can’t pay now, do you really think they’ll pay later?). Other businesses, they either provide something and get paid (i.e. groceries, deliveries, cars etc.), or they don’t provide nothing and don’t get paid (i.e. restaurants, gyms). Property owners are the only people asked to provide crucial service for free, under duress and criminal penalty. It’s like slaves with property.

    Even though my tenants are paying rent for now, the rental property I own feels like a dumbbell around my neck while I try to swim in deep waters.

    • Zantetsu says:

      Very astute comment. I am also afraid that (2) or (3) is what is happening …

    • DB says:

      Best comment so far. I think it’s #2. or possibly a 4th possibility you didn’t think of.

      A new buyer has shown up- a “local” who isn’t- he just moved here from out of state in December 2019, IIRC. His website IP is also the IP of 1,893 different websites of various “local buyers”, “we pay cash for homes” all over the country; “There are 1,893 domain names hosted on this IP address”.

      I think he is a front man- he himself got foreclosed on several years ago. His business is untraceable- registered in Nevada and tons of sub shells or whatever you want to call them. He has no business registered in the county he lives in. Or MAY live in, as his phone # has a San Francisco prefix- not his county’s prefix. Each house bought is registered as a separate LLC and is not findable under his name.

      & If I’m interpreting the company stuff I found correctly he is invested in a company which went from a shell company to supplying gold to Alibaba.

      However, the same person (definitely) has been involved in stupid lawsuits- many of them. I think he’s a front man. He has an English name, a White photo of himself, and a possibly Chinese alias. As does his wife.

      • DB says:

        I should clarify; “1,893 domain names hosted on this IP address”. Those 1,893 domain names all pertain to “local family businesses” buying house with cash.

        • Bologna says:

          Maybe he works for blackrock?aren’t they slowly purchasing the whole world ?

        • BD says:

          Bologna, all I know is it’s probably not Jack Ma. In 2013 Ma announced he was wanted to deflate residential real estate prices by e-commerce. So people could afford them. He didn’t succeed, but I have to say I’m impressed he had that sensibility. Good for him.

    • stan6565 says:

      I am with you on 2) and 3); and especially with the real weight a property can be. A large and illiquid sitting target that guvmint can tax at will to cater for any and all budgetary shortfalls.

      We have a holiday let that’s been extra busy since June July and is now being booked well into next year. We’ll keep this one for at least another few years (not least because we get 10k+ worth of free holidays per year).

      Our commercial lets are still paying on time although we can Just see our office tenants leaving in not too distant future – they are bound to reduce their space requirements thanks to WFH. So, we will be converting that into 3-4 flats, as soon as we receive their notice. Once we cash all that, what then? Back into flipping?

      2 pennies from U.K.

    • Just Some Random Guy says:

      Absolutely agree with #3.

    • Synergy says:

      This is my line of thinking as well with regards to #3. They want to shake out the weak hands and let the big property holders control it all. Nothing for the plebes.

  50. I have 2 SFRs in low-income neighborhoods in Las Vegas. My tenants are employed by the government and have never missed rent.

  51. Flyover Rube says:

    I have 60 apartment units and a couple of duplexes in a small midwest town. Solid class C stuff. No felons or young professionals – but a lot in between.

    Collections are way up and vacancy is below normal. My general sense is people have cash and are willing to pay for stability. The state program provides generous support to renters who are behind.

    However, some of the problem people have become bigger problems. It’s very frustrating. For example, I have a guy who hasn’t paid since January and refuses to even talk to me, a lady with a drug problem impacting the neighbors, and even someone throwing cooking grease off their balcony. I could go on, but what these people have in common is that they know the only tool I have to rein them in – eviction – isn’t available.

    The spreadsheet looks great right now, but there are festering problems with significant indirect economic effects that will compound with time.

  52. MonkeyBusiness says:

    I don’t trust the media, but I can’t help thinking that answers here can only be anecdotal in the end. Sampling needs to be done properly, otherwise it will be Landon vs Roosevelt all over again. I’ll leave this to Wolf though.

    In the end I feel the answer is somewhere in between. Is it all sunshine? Absolutely not, but it’s not doomsday either.

    It will be interesting to overlay this with data on people’s savings.

    • Gerald Croteau says:

      Patterns i’m noticing are distress in some commercial properties.

      Residential stronger, but not universally. Possible owners walking away in markets where little equity is common.

      Most people want to maintain a home rather than move in with another household.

      Readers here are more savvy (ie this is more of an assets and economics blog) so likely bias in being more savvy renters and owners.

  53. David Hall says:

    There have been more homes for sale with tenants in them than this time last year.

    • Petunia says:

      I see this too in my area, they are discounted about 10%, so they stand out.

  54. JK says:

    I have 5 rentals. All tenants paying. I even had one tenant pay last month for both August AND September. She doesn’t want to be on the street. She lives with her sister so there is some sharing of rent. All houses paid off, but one and fortunately, I have money to pay off, but trying my luck in the markets. What I have extra in rent, I put some towards metals and bitcoin. I think it’s a matter of time (regardless who is in office) before our currency is replaced with a new, metals backed currency and our current one will be debased and what you have in the bank with be 10 cents on the dollar.

  55. beavis says:

    I have homes in Portland(OR), been here since the 1970’s.

    Pretty much in this biz, its all screening, what I have always done is rent nice homes ( free&clear ) to nurses and school teachers. They get paid, and especially teachers, by law are required to pay debts, otherwise their jobs are in jeopardy.

    I have friends who own Section-8 apartments, and meth-hotels and of course they’re getting crushed, but then their property’s are all in +100% debt, so the lack of cash-flow means they can’t pay debt. For me where my propertys are free&clear, even if somebody didn’t pay, wouldn’t hurt me.

    In this biz its screening, screening, and screening. Most rental applicants are fairly easy to deny, so you can be very selective.

    IMHO the places that are hit the worst are the people who rent out their homes through 3rd party rental agency’s, there they’ll rent the home to anyone, and then the tenants will sublet the closets, this where the ‘protestors’ lived in the first place, so now these places people are living ‘rent free’.

    Largely this about are you a participant in society or not? Lastly, on this subject everybody I know here in Portland, has quit going downtown at night, for fear of death. I suspect that urban-jungle will be hit hard on this subject of renting, I have always bought inner-city single family homes.

    • Kurtismayfield says:

      All of these posts are a humble brag.

      If you were in a negative situation, why would you post in this thread?

      Wolf is just asking for landlords to show off their portfolio status.

  56. Wisdom Seeker says:

    It was interesting a few years ago how some people saw the unconstitutional federal mandates in Obamacare (such as taxing people for NOT doing something, e.g. buying healthcare) as being perfectly legal… at least until the court overruled them.

    Now, others see the Trump administration’s stretching of the Constitution as being perfectly reasonable in the middle of a national pandemic.

    The U.S. has a long history of bending the rules as needed to meet the exigencies of a crisis. And benefiting politically while doing so. I even remember that the Federal Reserve once had a legal mandate to only buy federally guaranteed securities, and in 2008 those mortgage securities were marked, right on the front page, as NOT being federally guaranteed. And yet the Fed owns trillions of dollars of them now.

    In the current situation, the CDC acting to slow the spread of COVID, 42 CFR 70.2 applies the Interstate Commerce clause, which is entirely Constitutional although frequently stretched beyond reasonable bounds. The CDC is within the legal bounds to argue that preventable evictions would accelerate interstate spread of the disease and cost lives. CDC has many precedents for something as economically significant as halting evictions: “destruction of animals or articles believed to be sources of infection”. I think it’s an open question what the courts will say in this case, and anyone claiming the answer is obvious either way is displaying their own bias.

    Personally I think the county- and state-level economic shutdowns are on somewhat shaky legal ground too. Something Needed to Be Done in March, but here it is 6 months later and it’s pretty obvious that we wasted a lot of that time Not Fixing The Problems with the crisis response. One of those problems is that many jurisdictions have been arbitrarily destroying many livelihoods without compelling public health justifications. It makes no sense to read articles about how wineries can have outdoor wine-tastings but bars, oh no, they can’t serve socially-distanced beer outdoors. I don’t drink so I don’t have a bias either way, but it’s pretty obvious that those are identical activities in terms of COVID safety, so why the hairsplitting? Then we read about politicians flouting their own local shutdown rules, rather than working to make them morally defensible, and we realize we need to de-fund every one of them.

  57. PS says:

    I have a single mom& 2 teenagers in my 1+ acre, , single family 1,496 ‘home with award winning school district in City of Milton, suburb of Atlanta .She cannot move even an hour north to the Country as my rent is dirt cheap for her. I need to go up after 7 years, but, don’t feel comfortable in a pandemic. Rent coming every month& she knows she will be evicted if she does not pay when the pandemic is ever over.New kitchen, plumbing, HVAC, electrical& septic sewer lines this past march( her fault). Even a well for drinking water . County water put in years ago. No mortgage. Lower taxes.

  58. Robert says:

    I would think that given banks are becoming stricter in lending, those people who don’t make the grade must go into the rental market.

    So in the short term, this flow will keep rental units full.

  59. Zantetsu says:

    Simple – enlightened landlords read Wolf Street and enlightened landlords know how to pick tenants/properties/locations to minimize problems like this. And so we are seeing a skew towards better outcomes. Judging the overall market requires more than sampling WolfStreet readers. To be quite honest I was a bit surprised that Wolf even called out for this data given that it’s all going to be anecdotal and heavily skewed.

    • GirlInOC says:

      Exactly. I wonder how many landlords here rent out section 8 or accept vouchers. Low-income households were already severely rent burdened before Covid. That said a new study just came out from UCLA & USC that helped kill the myth that eviction moratoriums give renters an excuse not to pay.

      Also, Wolf I follow the Eviction Lab out of Princeton on twitter @evictionlab and they always have interesting data. And another great follow is the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

    • Wolf Richter says:


      We have very conflicting “data” out there — from “817,000 haven’t paid rent in August” to “20 million face eviction” – the two bookends of the data I cited in the article. So you can pick the data that you would like. The range of the data out there is HUGE which makes any and all data that is available useless by itself — because, which do you believe?

      These comments here will show us a sample of maybe up to 200 landlords after a couple of days, spread around the country, and their experience.

      As I said above, this is not a statistically meaningful survey, but it gives us a feel for the difficulties the rental market is facing, and whether we’re closer to the “817,000” or to the “20 million.”

      • Zantetsu says:

        By the comments here we are closer to the 817,000 … but I will say this about you Wolf: you have a knack for timing. Your previous short was one example (not yet sure about the more recent short, but you certainly did pick an inflection point at any rate). You wrote about TSLA’s peak right before they had a big decline today. And I think you are writing about rent forbearance right at the exact moment when it’s about to start happening with greater frequency — because the momentum from the $600 per week free money just ran out.

        In other words, I think your survey would show very different results 3 months from now than it is showing now.

      • VintageVNvet says:

        Actually Wolf, it MAY be statistically valid if the kind of analysis used to produce most epidemiology is used. After all, epidemiology is really nothing more than anecdotal information that is assembled and dissected by various techniques.
        So there can be some level of statistical validity for almost any data set, and as long as that validity is expressed clearly, there ya go, results can be just as good as every other basis for all the various and sundry social theory out there.

  60. Brian Dalton says:

    We’re at wee beginnings of a total collapse of the US economy..a downturn that will last a decade or more. Maybe you should revisit this later ..

  61. Dave k. says:

    I have 10 units in MA, and RI. Not far from small cities. One single family, and 3, Tri plex. Single family is late, but pays. (both lost jobs, but recently re-hired) Rest have been paying on time. I have a very rigorous agent who does my screening, AND willing to leave units vacant if the right people don’t come along. I also am at each property weekly for maintenance etc. so people see me a lot. Rents have risen a lot, but I feel they were stagnant for years during the housing crisis. I’ve also noticed barely any inventory for sale, and even for rent. A year ago, I had similar vacancy (one unit open).

  62. Dave says:

    Collecting everything here, Wolf… so far. I’ve worked very diligently on finding good Tenants though.

  63. MCH says:

    “Our government is no longer the servant of the people, it is a tyrannical dictatorship.”

    Which part? I ask sarcastically. There are these moratoriums at many levels, Federal, State, and in some cases, county and city.

    One of the things that this country was built on, property rights seem to be suddenly be eroding. I wonder what’s next… life… liberty… or pursuit of happiness.

  64. pc says:

    I have one rental house in San Jose, CA. The rent payments are current. I did not temporarily reduce the rent since it is already lower than similar properties in the area because they’ve been there many years. The tenants are all still employed – two are working from home and the third is an essential employee.

  65. Junior says:

    Run 8 proprieties (mobile homes with the land), Boca Raton, Fl.

    All paid and paying on time.

    They know how hard it is to rent a place nowadays in south Florida.

    Even before COVID-19 we have a huge low income House crises. US lack 7 millions of affordable homes

    • p coyle says:

      the us lacks a market for low income homes. the temporarily inconvenienced millionaires have their (credit funded) standards, after all.

  66. Brendan says:

    Two units in TN and one in TX. Tenants have paid in dribs and drabs, but all are current.

  67. Karl says:

    San Francisco Silicon Valley
    Six units low end (2k per month each) all tenants current. Professionally managed.

  68. rhodium says:

    Capitalism is a false idea, it’s idealistic form is a historical unicorn. All that matters is the specific distribution of power and application of law within a society. End the dichotomy of capitalism vs socialism and maybe people can have sensible discussions for once.

  69. The Bob who cried Wolf says:

    8 unit apartment in San Diego County, all paying on time. I’ve been very lax collecting their share of the water to help out and didn’t raise rents this year.
    8 other units comprising mostly houses or house type units. All current. The couple that went vacant this spring were quickly rented to students. Seems parents with resources are clamoring for house type accommodations for their kids to keep them out of the covid cubes.
    The only real miserable situation we had was a tenant who used the covid laws to prolong their tenancy without a lease (MTM) while they house hunted and then gave me 2 days notice, after getting an attorney involved.

  70. Mike says:

    I currently rent. In March when the Covid, they made us work remotely. I was close to getting furloughed but told me if I took a crappy shift no one wanted they would keep me. I work as an import specialist for a customs broker. I work crazy hours now and can barely function with the crazy hours I work and alternating sleep schedule. It is bad, but at least I am still working. Luckily, I sold my house last summer for cash but have lost 14% because I was trying to short the market not knowing that stocks can go higher then a 35 p/e ratio. Thanks federal reserve. I decided I am now going to invest in some up and coming Canadian miners. Hopefully I can triple my money (fingers crossed). If I lose my job, there are plenty of low paying jobs I can float won working 50 hours a week but life has not been easy during this pandemic. I am emotionally drained after working remotely 7 months and feel isolated from the rest of the world.

    • p coyle says:

      good luck with the canadian miners. i have a teeny stake in a couple myself.

  71. Patrick McCarron says:

    I am a landlord the has the lowest rents in my city. I rent by the room and I rent weekly $125 a week which includes utilities, cable, wifi, your own furnished room with refrigerator, ac unit, bed, etc. I rent to many low income, disabled, and recovered drug addicts – they rent a room and 4 or 5 share a townhouse together.

    The REAL HOUSING ADVOCATES are Landlords.

    Not these phony baloney “Housing Advocates” who advocate socialism.

    The unconstitutional order tries to avoid taking of property without just compensation by stating the tenant will have to properly reimburse landlord for all back rent and fees – like that is ever going to happen.

    Even if a landlord wins a civil judgement for all back rent – good luck ever collecting it.

    What is next? Will grocery stores be required to provide free groceries? Those who qualify can pay the grocery store back later? Require HVAC servicers to work for free for those who need air conditioning during pandemic? Will CVS and Pharmacy Stores be required to provide free masks to everyone?

    THIS IS A CLEAR VIOLATION of the 5th and 14th Amendment Rights to DUE PROCESS and deprives landlords of their property by government without just compensation. Furthermore these moratoriums are an unconstitutional impairment of the right to contract protected by Article I, Section 10, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution.

    I voted for Trump in 2016, and I am a life long Republican Party Voter. Yet I have been betrayed by the very politicians I have supported 100%, including Donald Trump. This is socialism. This is communism 101. This is illegal taking of property without just compensation – period.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Dan Romig,

      “Signing an apartment rental agreement is a legitimate and legally binding contract, is it not?”

      Yes, the lease continues to be a binding contract, and courts will uphold it and the rent is owed and the landlord has the legal right to pursue past-due rent in the court system, get a judgement, and then collect on the judgment. That has not changed. But it will be a standard civil debt.

      What has changed is that the landlord can no longer use the power of the state to have tenants evicted by sheriff’s deputies.

      The only thing these eviction bans do is halt the power of the state to evict tenants. It’s not the state that prevents landlords from collecting rent or suing tenants for nonpayment. Just exactly what is unconstitutional about halting a police force’s ability to throw tenants out at the request of private landlords???

      • Lisa_Hooker says:

        Wolf you raise an interesting point. What happens if a landlord “privately” evicts a delinquent tenant without resorting to any civil authorities? The ex-tenant could probably sue in civil court, providing they find a place to live. Don’t want to sound heartless. But landlords will be foreclosed and lose decades of savings.

      • Cas127 says:


        Defense of property rights (somebody’s house, your wallet, etc.) is a fundamental expectation/duty of government.

        Once the G goes too far down the road of ignoring that responsibility, pimping it out for political power, etc., the people who produce have less and less reason to feel any loyalty whatsoever to that G.

        Some temporary abrogation of property rights may be reasonable in a time of true pandemic (but we’re going to need to define percentage deaths above baseline in order to have a workable system) but we both know that private property rights have been more and more eroded for reasons far, far less significant than pandemic.

        Endless political pimp-ery for one.

        Twenty years of ZIRP is evidence of that.

        The G has had to largely destroy the earning power of the USD through printing in order to cover its utterly failed stewardship of the State.

      • Dan Romig says:


        Thank you for your response back at my comment.

        As Lisa_Hooker brings up, will we see landlords “privately” evicting delinquent tenants as a consequence of not having county sheriff’s deputies doing that task?

        Cas127 brings up property rights – which the real quotes of historical figures I wrote relates to. Where does society draw the line between landlord and delinquent tenant? Wolf’s response to my comment makes me wonder if there will be a new industry of for-hire tenant removal.

        And, the “quote” I attributed to myself was merely my belief of what is fair and just. I have never been a property owning landlord, nor do I plan to be, as having to evict someone (and their children possibly) who has fallen on hard times through no fault of their own (a young, recent collage grad with student debt who’s a bartender in these COVID-19 times for example) would be heartbreaking.

        I hadn’t looked at this issue in constitutional terms before reading Wolf’s response, and I agree, there is nothing unconstitutional about keeping the police from evicting deadbeats. But suing in Court for nonpayment and forcibly removing a delinquent renter from a property that isn’t generating its normal and “proper” income to the owner, and can’t be rented until vacated is quite a sticky dilemma, I reckon.

        The Third Amendment of the Bill of Rights: “No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner prescribed by law.”

      • Lee says:

        “Yes, the lease continues to be a binding contract, and courts will uphold it and the rent is owed and the landlord has the legal right to pursue past-due rent in the court system, get a judgement, and then collect on the judgment. That has not changed. But it will be a standard civil debt. ”

        But the state has put in place other roadblocks that limit the use and protection of those property rights such as being able to generate income during that time period.

        These roadblocks have reduced the value and income of the owner and increased costs.

        So what if you can go to court to try and get the unpaid rent?

        The increased costs to get it will create an even bigger loss in time and money spent by the owner and in most cases the owner will never collect the judgement anyway.

        The court system is going to be so full of cases that it will be years before the owners ever see any money.

        Up in Queensland, Victoria there are a lot of people that play this system by stiffing other businesses.

        They don’t pay and won’t pay ordinary small bills. The time and cost of trying to collect is not worth it.

        Are you going to pay a lawyer or spend hours and hours of your time running around to collect what amounts to nothing?

        I knew a guy in this situation and the business in question owed him something like A$200 for a job done. The guy sent numerous invoices to get paid and the was ignored.

        So the guy went to the business which I guess was a take out pizza place and asked for payment. The guy said he didn’t have his chequebook. So he told the pizza guy that he’d take cash. The guy said he didn’t have cash.

        So in the end I think the guy told the customers coming into the shop that the guy wouldn’t pay his bills and they shouldn’t have to pay for the pizza.

        Evidently the pizza shop owner took out his chequebook and wrote a cheque. And I later heard that the owner actually contacted the guy to do more work for him. It was turned down.

        I actually used this a while back when I moved to Victoria.

        I contracted with an outfit to put solar panels on my roof and paid for the system up front. It was a big national company that had done a huge number of systems.

        The day I sent in all the paperwork was the day the government canned the program late in the afternoon after I mailed my application. Great timing as usual on my part.

        I was assured by the company that if I sent it in by email that they would forward it all to the government by the deadline.

        Guess what?

        They lied and didn’t.

        I was caught between the company saying that they did and the government saying that they didn’t. I wasn’t the only one caught up in this mess with hundreds of others caught out as well.

        Request for documentation to prove that they sent it all in on time were not forthcoming.

        No refunds as the government was holding up the process. Well, after about 8 or 9 months the government denied the application.

        So the company ‘offered’ an upgraded system as an ‘apology’ that would be installed in a couple weeks if I kept the order. So like a fool, I didn’t record the telephone conversation with the company.

        A couple of weeks passed and nothing. So I again went round and round with the company and they lied stating that no offer was made. I did have the emails and letter of the offer though!!

        So they had my money and I had no system and lots of wasted time and I begain hearing rumours that the company was in trouble and using previous customer deposits to fund the company……….

        So I read the contract in detail and found a clause that stated that upon deposit the company would order and have in stock the solar panels needed for installation of the system.

        I was able to get them to admit in writing that they couldn’t install my system as they didn’t have the panels in stock.

        Wrote a letter by registered mail stating that they broke the contract and to refund my money. They agreed. We’ll send you yor money back in a week.

        Hah, hah.

        So the first complication was that they had ‘no record of my payment’. Well I paid by credit card so that problem was solved when the information was provided.

        We’ll send you yor money back in a week.

        Hah, hah.

        Another week and no money.

        More emails, calls, and a letter the company.

        We’ll send you yor money back in a week. “I’m taking the cheque up to get signed now.’

        Hah, hah.

        So I used the above situation and told them that if I didn’t have a cheque in the mail in a couple of days with the tracking number I was going to go to their headquarters and stand in front of it and tell everybody going in what was going on.

        In addition I told them that I had letters written and ready to send to every newspaper and radio station in the city, if needed.

        Two days later I had my cheque, paid for a hand carry collection, and had my money back.

        A couple of months later they went belly up stuffing hundreds and hundreds of customers.

        So after a wasted year and still no solar system, a loss of not getting any electricity from one, and a loss of huge subsidy from the government, I still wanted one.

        A new company opened up just down the road from me within a five minute drive. Called them up on a Wednesday and asked when they could get an inspection and an install.

        Oh, maybe a couple of weeks to a month and I explained that I wasn’t going to pay them a cent until the system was installed, inspected, and turned on. I explained what had happened to me.

        On Monday they showed up, did the inspection, and installed the system on Friday. Just over a week. It took another two months to get the inspection and get the system turned ‘officially’ on. They got paid on that date.

        It took another couple months after that to get the ‘smart meter’ installed.

        Oh, by the way, the company that installed my system also went belly up a few years later.

    • sierra7 says:

      Patrick M.:
      It’s called, “National Security”
      (Patriot Act, Homeland Security)
      It’s not “communism, or socialism”.
      Not even close.
      It’s a government that really doesn’t know what to do with this pandemic.
      And, it is largely global.
      Other countries have done different things to cope with different outcomes.
      It’s still early days.
      But, the US has and will use “national security” to justify whatever it does.
      Just make sure your seat belt is fastened securely.

    • Cas127 says:

      Don’t disagree but…almost twenty years of ZIRP (benefitting leverage users enormously) and very, very few pointed out how G money printing can easily be characterized as an unconstitutional Taking.

      Bottom line for all situations, the G is/has been/is going to be acting more and more illegally to cover for the accumulated cancer of decades of its own habitual f*ck ups and endless political graft.

      More and more people realize this and so the established order (US 1.0) is drawing to a close.

      Best guess, states break up into regional/ideological blocs, some of which will defend future money as store of value.

      Others (NY/CA, handful of others) will try to keep fiat schemes alive.

  72. Patrick McCarron says:

    Yeah, not that easy.

    Easier said then done.

  73. nick kelly says:

    While I might agree that landlords should have rights, your basic premise about the limits of federal law needs ‘tuning’.

    Roosevelt seized almost 10,000 US banks.
    Truman nationalized the US steel mills.
    In the 14 years up until 1933 it was illegal (actually unconstitutional ) to have a beer in the ‘home of the free’
    Roosevelt ordered all US gold surrendered, Nixon placed drastic limitations on gold ownership.

    And no, you will not be granted standing by the USSPC, who rarely grant appeals.

  74. Paul says:

    Lucky for me, most of my rental property was not federally funded or had a Fannie loan. So I was able to start evicting dead beat freeloading squatters making $600 to $800 a week in unemployment (more than had they kept working) and stimulus checks, and not paying rent – thinking they could not be evicted until September. About 20 of my 90 tenants took a free ride at my expense and were surprised when I finally got court orders for eviction in July when Louisiana allowed evictions to proceed. By late August – the nightmare was done – the deadbeats for out. Tenants started behaving better and paying on time. And now this – this is awful – because I may end up going bankrupt and losing everything I have ever worked for in 20 years, if I cannot pay my business lenders and banks back. Furthermore I am currently trying to refinance and worried they will not approve me. I was barely keeping my head above water until August – and now I have to do this all over again – only this time it will be like 5 months before I can get an eviction hearing instead of 3 to 4 months.

    This is not good. Especially for landlords like myself who rent to questionable low income tenants with horrible credit (i do not even look at credit scores or even do a background check). I deal with tenants that most landlords refuse to rent to. If this continues, landlords like me willing to rent to low income – will no longer do it and be out of business.

  75. California Bob says:

    I have a couple townhomes in Vero Beach. One tenant is a trustafarian that has been there a couple years and pays every 6mos., presumably when she gets a deposit from the executor. The other has a couple of guys who, when they rented, had low credit scores. But, they were just out of welding school, probably had school debt and had just landed (heh) jobs at Piper Aircraft. I’m a dormant pilot and like to weld, so I took a chance on them. So far, so good; Piper was contracted to make respirators for a while, and I hear the demand is good for private aircraft. The Piper Malibu Mirage is a beautiful turboprop and now has Garmin ‘Autoland,’ which, unlike Tesla ‘Autopilot,’ can actually fly an aircraft from one-switch activation to the nearest suitable airport–including communicating with ATC–and land the aircraft, with no human intervention (NFI; I just like cool aircraft and gadgets).

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      I thought the Mirage had a big Lycoming and the Meridian was the turboprop?

      • California Bob says:

        You are correct, Lisa. I got’em mixed up; been out of the aviation world for a couple years (unfortunately).

        • Lisa_Hooker says:

          Thanks for verifying. I have to stop coveting unattainable million dollar aircraft.

  76. Yort says:

    Per CNBC September 2nd article titled: ‘Extraordinary’ move by CDC to stop evictions draws heavy criticism from housing industry and tenant advocates”:

    Small, mom and pop landlords make up the majority of single-family rental homeowners. Close to 23 million units in 17 million properties are owned by individual investors, according to the most recent count by the U.S. Census Bureau. If they don’t have rental income, they can’t pay their mortgages, taxes and the insurance on the home. That could trickle into the broader health of the housing market.

    “Without sufficient rental income, a number of properties would be pushed into foreclosure.

    It is possible that some entity like BlackRock whispered this creative CDC scheme into the ear of some higher entity at the White House for re-election purposes, and pick up another few hundred thousand or so rental units in foreclosure over the next five years (just like last recession). Guess it is true that you really can’t fight the fed, on any level, no matter how illegal the actions taken. Good luck to all rental owners, as the last thing business owners need is more uncertainty and the inability to solve their own issues without government regulation intruding on private ventures. The scary part is few in government seem creative enough to brainstorm unintended consequences that could take decades to play out. At this point, the entire economy is one never-ending experiment on how far we can stretch human trust before something irreversibly breaks…

  77. John says:

    Las Vegas
    1 unit – high rise condo just off strip
    – Tenant refused to renew lease when I refused to extend credit for restricted access to pool/fitness area during covid.
    – Tenant vacated at end of lease.
    – Tenant had paid full year at time of lease pre – covid
    – Unit Has been unoccupied for past 60 days
    – Three price reductions in that period – total of $300.00
    – recent activity – app from unemployed single male w 620 credit score. I declined applicant as I was concerned that he would take advantage of eviction regulations upon gaining access to unit.
    – 2nd applicant offered to pay full year in advance – I accepted
    – An additional price reduction of $100.00 due to full payment up front
    – total reduction of $400.00 per month

    Mortgage company recast my loan due to high equity in unit. My payment was lowered by an amount that helps me absorb the rent reduction.

  78. Colin says:

    We have a mattress problem here on Cape Cod. The amount of furniture and mattresses being thrown away is incredible. Some landfills have stopped accepting them. I have been trying to throw away a box spring all summer. Could this be people moving out of rentals or just everyone buying new furniture?

    Layoffs are just starting up now in higher-end jobs. Cape Cod Health Care just fired 120 people. My sister-in-law just lost her job in the health care field after 27 years.

    • Petunia says:

      It’s a downsizing thing. Also look at websites where furniture and appliances are sold. If you have a lot of listings, you have a lot of downsizing, and people who have to move.

    • Lisa_Hooker says:

      @VV – we could always turn the stone into cement for new housing. ;-)

  79. Dave says:

    It’s too early to ask the question. Other than undocumented workers everyone with median income and less was made whole thru July.

    The skipped rent issue and the impact from it will not be felt for months but it will be HUGE!

  80. Mron says:

    We have 4 single family units in Springfield MO, so far, so good, rents in on time, everyone employed. This action by CDC is just going to encourage bad actors and make otherwise productive citizens throw in the towel and join the FSA, why not, when irresponsible behavior is rewarded and responsible behavior is penalized. That said, our tenants are pretty great, hard working normal people. Another thing, this town is full of “Now Hiring” signs. Maybe not the greatest jobs but at least something, mild cost of living helps as well…

  81. Dan says:

    We have about 100 rental units in Atlanta and all of our tenants are current. In April and May, our 3 commercial tenants skipped payment, but they are current now and have partially repaid the missing rents. We are very responsive to our tenants needs and believe that they appreciate this.

  82. Astropuppy says:

    I have 3 units in Boise ID. Everybody is paid up. What the government has failed to address is lease terminations. Those on a month to month lease can still be terminated with 30 days notice. Hence, forced to move out. Also rents can also be increased during these times. As far as I am concerned this is just another way the government is taxing us. FYI I like my tenants and doubt I would force any of them out onto the street.

  83. Happy1 says:

    It’s working so well in Venezuela…

  84. rich says:

    State or metro they’re in
    Surf City, NC, Carolina Beach, NC, Hampstead, NC, Sunset Beach, NC

    Big city, smaller town, rural?
    Mostly island beach towns

    How many total units?
    15 single family houses

    How many (or %) vacant; how is this different from a year ago
    Zero vacancies this year and zero vacancies last year?

    How many nonpayments for August vs. a year ago?
    Zero non-payments this year vs one non-payment last year

    Have you agreed to temporarily reduced rent payments? On how many units?
    In February, when I first heard about the corona virus, I cut the payments of my four longest residing tenants by 25%. The quality of my houses is well above average, and my rents are already well below average. Consequently, much like the Hotel California, tenants move in but never leave.

    Other factors that might shed some light on this.

    I have one short term rental house (400sf), that I built myself, and it has been fully rented @$160 a night, all season. Now we are getting re-bookings for September. That hasn’t happened before (if there was a way to send photos, I would). It’s extremely secluded at the end off a peninsula, and, since the virus outbreak, folks seem to want to be secluded.

  85. Christopher Herbert says:

    Why are you complaining? Private concerns have been running the government for four decades. Now they not only own 84% of all private assets, they own the federal government too. Go ahead Mr. no government needed. Meet your new masters, Mr. and Mrs. One Percent!

  86. Happy1 says:

    Not a landlord, but I do volunteer work with the working poor in Denver suburbs.

    Of the people I work with, about 8 families and individuals, none have stopped paying rent, although 2 are receiving assistance to make those payments from charitable organizations.

    All have been out of work for at least part of the last 5 months, but only 2 are as of now. One landlord cut rent by 10%. 2 of the families are section 8, both of them were briefly unemployed but quickly secured other employment (one was driving Uber, the other working for day care). Only 1 passed up employment in June because it paid less than unemployment, I advised her strongly not to do that, but she foolishly did. All are good hard-working people, 3 are immigrants from other countries. None of them have ever been evicted. One of them is chronically late with payments to the landlord for many years. Two of them have large corporate landlords and the rest small private landlords.

    The other person without employment prefers under the table payment and does construction and handyman type work. He has been in financial trouble as long as I have known him, which is about 6 years. Of all the people I work with he is the most financially foolish and simply cannot keep spending below income. But even he is making rent payments because he recognizes that eventually he would be evicted if he doesn’t.

    Overall for lower-income working people, the Denver suburbs are still full of 12 and $15 an hour jobs, the shutdown was lifted relatively early here, and there does not appear to be a shortage of basic work yet.

  87. Karen says:

    As others have said, it sounds like there haven’t been too many rent failures YET, given government support payments, still-tight housing markets and landlords’ forbearance on behalf of good tenants.

    The real question comes next: how many tenants might be influenced by a perceived general amnesty, with covid conditions that cannot be verified/enforced and past-due rent that can never be collected? The one thing every landlord agrees on is that, once a tenant has moved out, there’s no hope of collecting rent, much less past-due rent.

    I speak as someone who owns a duplex apartment. I offered a 4-month rent forgiveness–prior to the covid crisis–to a good tenant who had experienced exceptional personal difficulties. For the other tenant, in the interest of fairness, in early March I waived 2 months of rent. She hadn’t asked, but I could see was was coming, and she subsequently lost her job. Both are back to paying in full. Meaning: there’s mutual and sincere goodwill, but I am not stupid: I don’t want to lose good tenants. That said, I am not counting on this nice story continuing.

    One of these tenants will do whatever she can to pay me, regardless of her circumstances; the other may or may not–she’s more savvy about the law and government benefits. It will be an interesting test and, as others have said–let’s revisit in 3-6 months.

    Wolf, even though this survey is not statistically significant, the information is valuable and revealing, so thank you for asking the question.

    P.S. I continue to travel under the name Karen, which has fallen into disrepute ;-)

  88. Dasripper says:

    California – Solano County I rent out an ADU above my detached garage to someone in the service economy that whose industry was very affected by the COVID shutdown.

    My tenant has paid throughout but has taken the full 5 day grace period. Come to think of it, he often does take the full 5 day grace period, pandemic or not.

  89. Robert Williams says:

    I only have two rentals – both SFH –
    one is in Columbus Ohio – major metro area and long time tenant was just laid off – we agreed to a reduced rent until they are re-employed and then make up the difference.
    The second rental is in a small town nearby – tenant is currently two months behind and will not communicate – tenant is not unemployed – works in healthcare – so has no legitimate excuse. I was in the process of filing an eviction complaint when news of this broke and am now unsure of next steps…
    We’ve worked hard to invest in these properties and owned both long enough that they no longer have mortgages. Still, the lost rental income will have an impact on my ability to pay my bills, including taxes.

  90. Apt guy says:

    Wolf –
    I was a regional partner for a large sunbelt development firm. I developed over 2500 luxury urban multifamily units over the course of the past 10 years. I left in 2018 to start my own firm because I believed that the Luxury apartment market was overbuilt and that the true demand was for less expensive suburban garden apartments. Apartment construction costs for all types of construction has nearly doubled in every market. Investment yields have become an absolute joke. Most urban high-rises were losing money BEFORE covid – 19. I currently still have ownership in 3 institutional grade properties. One in southeast major metro built in 2014 has seen rents drop from over $2 per foot to $1.60 per foot. Another in another southeast major metro built in 2016 has seen rents drop from $2.70 per foot to $2.30 per foot. Finally a garden deal in the same city (significantly less expensive to build) has had rents stay flat at $1.50 per foot. Occupancies at all properties are under pressure. The first two lose a significant amount of money per year. The 3rd does well but the basis is much lower than the first two. I’m sorry for being vague but I don’t know who reads this blog and I’m not the sole owner of these properties. I believe strongly that we are in the process of a market shakeout. It has been well documented on your website that the developers have delivered too much luxury product. As it relates to COVID – 19. Delinquencies are up from less than 1% to over 5% in all properties. I expect that the market will get hammered on both the low and high end after the end of the stimulus. I would love to have a conversation about this offline if you want to learn more. Enjoy your site. Thanks so much for what you do!

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Apt guy,

      You can reach me via the “Contact us” tab.

      • GirlInOC says:

        Wolf, tell him we desperately need more low-income & workforce housing in CA!!! ?

        BTW here’s a good thread on upcoming housing bills:

        • Wolf Richter says:

          In terms of affordable housing, a crash in the housing market will do that on its own, including a crash in rents, which is already underway. The Fed needs to raise short term rates to 3% and it needs to start selling its security portfolio to push up long-term rates and mortgage rates, and it needs to justify this by saying that it’s going to help make housing affordable, and voila, we’ll have affordable housing in California. For all Californians, not just a few thousand. Are you ready for affordable housing across California?

        • GirlInOC says:

          Thanks Wolf, I really appreciate the observation. I’m stuck on this whole housing crisis, & it’s so framed as a “not enough houses” issue that sometimes i forget that the industry is currently in a bubble. Im an older millennial & a renter. I get anxiety when I think how I’ve missed out on housing wealth by not buying earlier.

          So thanks, you’re really the best. Fingers crossed for you that as our country enters into the depths of economic crisis, you’ll find a BIG audience with a lot of money looking for grains of truth in a field of BS! ? ? (And don’t forget if you end up getting thousands of commenters & need a moderator, I volunteer to help out!)

  91. Petunia says:

    I agree with you. However, the mindset of tenants is a lot different this time around. Many are former homeowners who will never own again. So watch for national rent control to become a political football. The biggest losers will be the largest owners. I see a lot of public housing on the horizon.

    I also suspect many here are talking up their books, as they say, on wall street.

    • Bill Carson says:

      Why would they never own a home again? What is their thinking about that?

  92. Petunia says:

    I think the non payment is very regional. I read the New Orleans news regularly and see evictions were high there the minute the first moratorium was lifted. People reported piles of furniture on many streets in the not high rent side of town. The high rent side has many airbnbs which are hurting as well because nobody is going there during the travel ban. Read the airport there is running at ~10% capacity.

    It’s all on NOLA dot COM if you want to look for yourself.

  93. Dano says:

    I’m actually actively seeking to purchase a MFP in a few select markets and not finding any worth buying.

  94. Bg - Florida says:

    have 2 homes i rent florida – one is an older man who i have always given a large discount on rent to – he is golden – no worries . My second house i rented to a couple in Feb this year, yes they had baggage so yes i am to blame but this punishment i am getting doesnt fit the crime so to say – as soon as they knew they didnt have to pay rent in march they decided not to – just like that …they did con the Catholic charities one month when they got a bit nervous, but with what is on the news about eviction laws they are fully confident in the fact that they get to live there free and now have no fear at all – wife is collecting unemployment and the fed subsidy (until recently it ended – but coming back) the husband actually bragged he had so much overtime he couldnt keep up at work. but each month was ill get u next month pal. Until last 2 months they dont even bother lying about it. The WORST WORST part is the politicians kick me in the nads EVERY day by claiming landlords arent losing anything! They are still owed the rent! Tenants will have to catch up! Ha not one will pay anything! it will be cya later , So all I want is the politicians to stop with that and just say we have to give away RENT free – stop the stupid lie we will get back rent B.S. oh by the way I was a big Trump guy – wont bother to vote this time –

  95. In “Rent Control” America do you want to be a landlord? If no one has any money, except for government aid, which comes directly to you, is that the best outcome? Doesn’t seem like you would want to leverage up to take on new property, but if you have the units, this should be a way to ride out the storm?

  96. Jeff T says:

    I own a duplex unit (34 years) eight blocks from my home. 3 bed, 2 1/2 bath double car garage and 2 bed, 2 bath double car garage in a desirable Eugene OR neighborhood. On the 3 bed side the tenant of 22 years moved out at the end of December 2019 and I had to do a total remodel. It still had yellow and green bathroom fixtures from the 70’s. I had some trouble with the sheet rock painter crew and had to spend extra time and money fixing a bad job. I decided to leave it vacant until it was clearer what was happening with rental rules. Rented it August 15th to a lady who’s daughter lived across the street. They called the day the for rent sign went up. I am getting $1800 per month instead of the $1200 per month from the previous tenant, but it will be a long time before I recover the remodel costs. The other unit is rented for $1900 per month ( guys love the garage on that side). He works for the city and all payments current. In 34 years my vacancy rate has been very low. Don’t rent any more to relatives as it is hard to raise rents. Never rent to friends. My wife and I screen all tenants ourselves. I make tenants sign an agreement that I will come in every four months to service heat pumps, garage doors and fix small problems and inspect the inside. After looking for the right income and qualifications for an applicant, I always look inside their vehicle to see if they keep it clean. If they don’t care about their transportation, they are not going to care about your property.

  97. Bruce Turton says:

    Just curious…. Why is it that the pain of economic retraction coupled with Covid-19 is not pursued upchain from renters/mortgagees through the taxes, interest due, utility payments to those who provide these services? Did not the big banks get enough liquidity already and again? Why is not the system of “help” from the federal government up and down the whole system?

  98. Wolf Richter says:

    The rental data below is via phone from John McNellis who is a regular author on WOLF STREET. He had earlier spoken with four people he knows who are among the largest apartment owners in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Owner 1 — 4,000 apartment units, about 90% leased, rents dropped 10%.

    Owner 2 — Walk-up properties are “close to normal,” rents off about 2%; But San Francisco high-rise rents off 15%, occupancy moving down toward 80%. Rental income is off by 25%-30%.

    Owner 3 — Silicon Valley occupancy around 85%-90%, rents down 10%; San Francisco occupancy 80%; rents down 15%.

    Owner 4 — “A-urban” (high end high-rise) rental in downtown is “getting slayed,” people are moving out in droves. Bay Area is particularly distressed; Oregon, Washington not so bad; Los Angeles “hit pretty hard.” New York City and San Francisco hardest hit. Owner 4 said: “There is no reason to spend $5,000 a month when you don’t have to be anywhere.”

  99. Heather Michelle Kimbrough says:

    We only have 4 units. They are high end, luxury apartments and we are very careful when we select our tenants and usually have a less than .05% vacancy rate. During the COVID-19 crisis, we had one of our tenant’s have to ask us to “reduce” their rent because the husband/wife pair BOTH lost their jobs. We didn’t agree to that but we did agree to allow them to make payments each week. It was a mess. Eventually, we got rid of them at the end of their year lease but several of our 4 units, 3 moved out because that tenant could obviously no longer afford the rent, one if our other tenants was planned because he got married, and the third decided he wanted to buy a house in this market. And we are screwed in this down market because we have a beautiful 1907 craftsman that we restored but my city oversaturated our market, as another commenter has stated, with luxury units. So far, we’ve filled 2 of our units but we’re having a devil of a time filling the final one after spending several thousand dollars doing more upgrades because we don’t want to attract tenants who can’t pay. We went through that already. That is not the kind of place we run because we don’t want to ge in that market since this is our retirement. Feeling very stuck.

  100. Jeff says:

    Bozeman MT here, a town of about ~50,000.

    6 units: 2 townhomes, 2 duplexes. Rents here are just over $1/sq ft.

    I gave one tenant a one-time monthly discount. Other than that, nothing more than late payers (eventually all paid). But Bozeman is one of the destinations that folks are fleeing to. Supply vs demand here is the strongest it’s been in the last 6 or 7 years. That’s anecdotal, but I have a Property Manager for 4 of my six units and he agrees.

    I brought in new tenants to one of my duplexes, 3bed 2ba 1800 sq ft, and the rent was $1875 – that was back in March/April. If it was vacant and I was pricing it to current market, it would go for $2000-$2100.

Comments are closed.