New NMHC survey shows property owners remain focused on supporting renters

New data come as federal eviction moratorium ends and federal rental assistance helps keep families in homes.

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A new National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) survey of apartment owners and managers shows that 100 percent of multifamily firms surveyed worked with residents facing financial hardships since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. The new data come as the $4 trillion of economic relief (including nearly $47 billion in rental assistance) has stabilized the rental market, allowing the federal eviction moratorium to end on July 31.

“At the onset of the pandemic we issued a call to our industry to halt evictions, create payment plans and work with residents as they faced this unprecedented hardship. The new data demonstrate how both the multifamily industry and residents alike made monumental sacrifices to meet their obligations during this crisis,” said NMHC President Doug Bibby. “As we transition away from these emergency pandemic orders, we ask apartment firms to continue their efforts to work with residents during this wind-down period.”

Last month, NMHC issued new principles and encouraged member firms to adopt during the transition away from COVID-19 emergency measures, including:

  • Encourage residents to seek rental assistance and apply on behalf of residents or assist with the application process where able.
  • Offer solutions to help residents avoid eviction including payment plans, deferments and extended or flexible lease periods for residents who fell behind in rent payments due to the pandemic.
  • Provide notice of at least 30 days to residents before filing an eviction for non-payment of rental obligations.
  • Work with jurisdictions to break down artificial barriers to rental assistance benefits that stand in the way of residents receiving the help they need, like onerous documentation requirements.
  • Identify governmental and community resources to broadly help residents secure food, financial assistance and healthcare and share that information with residents.
  • Communicate with residents that it is a priority for the industry to partner with them to help them retain their housing.

The NMHC Pulse Survey on Eviction Mitigation Practices ran from July 19 to 26, with 74 leading multifamily firms responding. One-hundred percent of firms offered solutions for residents facing financial hardships. The most widely offered assistance options included:

  • Payment plans – 100%
  • Waived late fees – 96%
  • Deferred payments – 78%
  • Extended, shortened or other changes to lease terms – 58%
  • Cash for keys – 54%
  • Fee-free ability to charge rent on credit card – 50%

The survey also asked what additional steps firms took to support residents during the pandemic:

  • Increased cleaning and sanitation – 95%
  • Connecting residents with food backs, charities and other local support resources – 86%
  • Informing residents of healthcare protocols and best practices – 86%
  • Hosting virtual social or exercise events – 57%
  • Creating on-site services at communities to support residents – 50%
  • Made it easier to work from home – 49%

The full survey results are available here.

NMHC remains committed to keeping residents stably housed and participated in this week’s White House call to action to alert housing providers and residents about available resources. Information for renters is available here, and housing providers is available here.