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Most Americans think everyone should benefit from rent moratorium, survey finds

Photo via Getty Images

BY BETH DEDMAN

PropertyNest, a real estate listing site, conducted a national survey to ask Americans who they thought should receive rent during the pandemic and found that most people think everyone should receive some kind of assistance. 

With the federal government and many local and state municipalities announcing a moratorium on all mortgage payments and foreclosure proceedings during the coronavirus pandemic, some people are asking for further protections for renters.

PropertyNest asked Americans, “If the federal government announces suspension of rent payments due to the coronavirus pandemic, who do you think should receive this benefit?”

Of the 2,038 adult respondents, 24.5% of participants thought “Everyone” should receive rent, while 21.4% selected “only those who have lost their jobs or hours.” The third most popular answer was “No one” with 15.8% responses.

More men thought no one should be allowed to suspend rent payments than women, with men making up 59.7% of respondents who selected “No one.” 

While younger people were more likely to believe that everyone should be able to stop paying rent, 25-34 year-olds generally made up the largest age group that felt that no one should stop paying rent, according to the survey.

All age groups under the age of 54 selected “everyone” more frequently, while respondents aged 55 and older were more likely to believe that only people who had lost wages or jobs should receive this benefit.

Only 8.1% of respondents thought the benefit should exclusively go to people who lost their jobs.

“The results of the PropertyNest survey show that the U.S. government and the local governments’ measures may not necessarily line up with the needs of the average citizen,” said Ruth Shin, founder and CEO of PropertyNest. “According to our survey, 84.2 % of all respondents, representing all age groups and genders in all 50 states, favor some rent moratorium for people who might be adversely affected.”

A previous PropertyNest survey showed almost 40% of New Yorkers would not be able to pay the rent if they lost their jobs. Even with the predictions that 1 in 5 Americans will lose their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been no moratoriums on rent payments announced. 

“The coronavirus pandemic will increase the divide between the haves and have-nots even more,” Shin said. “Affordability will become a bigger issue for apartment seekers and renters. It will especially become more difficult for those who never really had the means to save up for hard times. The COVID-19 crisis is a wake-up call that we need better solutions for affordable housing.”

Shin thinks there could be a rise in evictions after the COVID-19 crisis is over because people cannot afford rent on a limited income. Having an eviction on record will make it even harder for people who remain jobless to find a home. 

PropertyNest is focusing its research on affordability in the city, which has been a growing problem in New York City and across America. 

“The COVID-19 outbreak shows the need for affordable rents,” Shin said. “We believe that everyone deserves a home.”

The full survey is available on the PropertyNest website.

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