Nearly 20 percent of U.S. tenants behind on rent

On his first official day, Biden signed an executive order extending though March the moratorium on evictions from rent that's overdue.

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The financial crisis created by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic can be evidenced by newly revealed data that shows approximately 18 percent of renters are behind on rent payments. 

According to a new report from CNBC, the number of renters across America who are behind on rent payments — 10 million — outpaces the seven million homeowners who lost their homes during the Great Recession. 

A tenant in Phoenix, Arizona speaks with a Maricopa County constable who had just arrived with an eviction order. President Joe Biden has signed an executive order extended the moratorium on evictions through March 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

On his first day officially at work, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that extended the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s moratorium on evictions through the end of March. However, that may not be enough for true economic recovery. 

Moody’s Analytics conducted an economic analysis on the issue and found that the average delinquent renter owes up to $5,600 in rent, as well as utilities and late fees. The amount, which includes monies owed from renters not impacted by COVID-19, is totaled at an astounding $57.3 million. 

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“Compared to renters that are making their rent payments on time,” note the authors of the analysis, “currently delinquent renters are more likely to be lower-income, less educated, Black and with children.”

Renters and landlords were afforded some relief in the $900-billion relief package passed in the Senate, but those funds are disbursed by states. Applicants must show financial hardship or risk of homelessness to qualify for assistance. 

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The new Biden $1.9-trillion coronavirus relief package would provide additional rent relief and extend the eviction moratorium through September. However, passing the massive plan through Congress is the sticking point. 

“We can’t wait,” White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters this week. “Just because Washington has been gridlocked before doesn’t mean it needs to continue to be gridlocked.”

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In addition to renters finding it difficult to make payments, landlords are subsequently struggling to stay up to date on the mortgages on their properties. 

The National Multifamily Housing Council released a statement in which it noted: “Allocated rental assistance funds do not fully address the $70 billion in outstanding debt nor accruing debt moving forward. The industry simply cannot continue operating under these policies without disastrous harm to housing affordability.”

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