Coronavirus: Bay Area tenants still paying rent, despite upheavals

High unemployment, coronavirus worries and social upheaval have
done little to prevent Bay Area residents from paying their
rent.

Roughly 9 in 10 tenants in the Bay Area made at least some
payment by the first week of June, according to a survey released
Tuesday by real estate data firm RealPage. The payment rate fell
from the previous year in the East Bay (down 1.8 percent), Santa
Clara County (down 3.5 percent) and San Francisco and San Mateo
County (down 4.8 percent).

Real estate professionals attribute the strong June performance
to stimulus checks, enhanced unemployment benefits and tenants
prioritizing their rents. “The results continue to be good, with
some little tiny fraying at the edges,” said Doug Bibby,
president of the National Multifamily Housing Council.

The coronavirus pandemic has put 4.94 million Californians out
of work. Supplemental unemployment benefits and stimulus checks
have filled in some of lost income, but some federal benefits are
expected to run out at the end of July. Although renters have been
meeting obligations during the first three months of the pandemic,
there’s widespread concern about the months ahead.

California lawmakers are considering measures to allow landlords
to receive tax credits in exchange for forgiven rent. Tenants would
be given years to repay back debt, and some may be eligible for
rent forgiveness, according to a budget proposal from Senate
Democrats.

The state and several Bay Area counties and cities have enacted
eviction moratoriums, allowing vulnerable renters to stay sheltered
during the health crisis. But some temporary measures could be
ending; the Judicial Council of California this week will consider
ending their ban on eviction hearings in state courts in
August.

Tenant advocacy organizations have also organized cancel rent
protests throughout the state. About 60,000 have signed an online
pledge to stop their monthly payments, according to Alliance of
Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE). Advocates say many
poor tenants simply cannot pay. Related Articles

Nationally, 80.8 percent of tenants made at least some payment
during the first week of June, down slightly from the 81.6 percent
from the same period last year, according to the council’s survey
of 11.5 million professionally-managed apartments. The rate of
payments has increased from the first weeks of April (78 percent)
and May (80.2 percent).

Last month,95.1 percent of renters in the survey made payments,
a drop from the May 2019 rate of 96.6 percent.

Greg Willett, chief economist at RealPage, said renters in
cheaper, older apartments — typically home to lower-income
workers — have struggled more recently.

Willett added that the state’s political environment is “not
friendly†to landlords, and it could affect payments in coming
months. Many counties and cities have enacted eviction moratoriums
and other renter protections.

Since the pandemic began, Bay Area rents have started to fall in
more expensive cities.

The median rent for a one-bedroom in San Jose dropped about a
half of one percent to $2,420 from the previous year, according to
listing site Zumper. The price of a typical one-bedroom in San
Francisco plummeted 9.2 percent to $3,360, still keeping it among
the most expensive in the country.

But rents in more affordable cities grew from last June. Median
rent in Oakland increased nearly 5 percent, to $2,350, and jumped
9.3 percent to $2,350 in Walnut Creek, according to Zumper.

Zumper CEO Anth Georgiades said the increase in remote work has
made it easier for techies to move farther away from their offices,
choosing cheaper rents and bigger spaces.

Typically, rents move just a few percentage points,
year-over-year, he said. “We’ve never seen anything like
this.â€

Source: FS – All – Real Estate News 1
Coronavirus: Bay Area tenants still paying rent, despite
upheavals