Renters and Landlords Brace for Bills

May 26, 2020

Stimulus payments, unemployment checks, and local resources are providing temporary cushions. But there’s a cutoff date ahead for a portion of unemployment payments, and it’s unclear how long the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic will last.

“The anxiety is setting in, people are concerned about what they’re going to do next,” said Moureen Kaki, an organizer at the Tenants Union San Antonio.

So far, rent collections in Texas in May seem to be improving compared with April, said Mark Hurley, president of the Texas Apartment Association.

Most landlords are working with tenants on payment plans and other options, such as discounts.

Despite a wave of job losses, many tenants have been able to make rent on time so far, said Adam Couch, a market analyst at RealPage.

Stimulus checks, unemployment assistance, and other aid are helping, in addition to landlords’ payment plans. However, the outlook for the months ahead is murky.

A lot will depend on whether the number of COVID-19 cases keeps declining or spikes as economies reopen, and whether federal officials green-light further aid for laid-off workers. A provision giving unemployed workers an extra $600 per weekend after July.

“There could be challenges in early August,” Couch said.

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