Aug 23

Bold highlights are mine:

https://www.zillow.com/research/zillow-weekly-market-report-27151/

 

Previous Zillow research found that this recession’s wave of layoffs disproportionately affected renters, and now the unemployed are having even more trouble paying their bills. The National Multifamily Housing Council’s rent payment tracker showed a two-percentage point increase in the share of renters who had not paid August rent as of August 13, compared to the same time in 2019. While many renters are currently covered by eviction moratoria, very few can expect rent forgiveness or extensions on the same scale, or structured similarly, to the forbearance policies that have protected homeowners. Consequently, many renters are moving out and looking for other shelter when unable to pay rent. Millions of young adults, predominantly 18-25 year-olds, moved back in with their parents or grandparents this spring. And as detailed above, many of the most financially secure renters in the Millennial generation are taking advantage of low mortgage rates to jump into homeownership. 

Aug 22

I grabbed a few of the more pertinent paragraphs, but he article is a worthy read in its entirety.
 
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/21/business/economy/rent-tenants-evictions.html

  • Instead of an avalanche, the appropriate metaphor might be a receding tide that is exposing layers of financial insecurity.
  • Even before the pandemic, about 25 percent of tenants were paying at least half their pretax income for housing.
  • Even as corporate landlords report little change, smaller landlords are reporting declining collections and in many cases expect to use loans and personal savings to cover shortfalls.
  • Partly this is because these landlords have less access to capital than large corporations, but buildings like duplexes and triplexes — the kinds of properties that many small landlords own — tend to be more affordable, so they attract lower-income tenants, who have been hit the hardest by the pandemic. 
  • Several tenants haven’t paid rent. Others are making partial payments and asking for extended payment plans. “At the beginning of the pandemic, I expected what I’m seeing now,” [the landlord] said.
  • Avail, a platform that helps small landlords manage their properties, recently surveyed about 5,000 tenants and landlords and found that 42 percent of tenants and 35 percent of landlords were pulling money from savings and emergency funds to make it through the pandemic.
Aug 21

Not our pick up or job, but …

Aug 15

HT: Joe Murray

https://www.governing.com/next/Legislative-Watch-Addressing-Americas-Eviction-Crisis.html

It’s an extraordinary dilemma, in which public health risks weigh so heavily that government is compelled to require forbearance from landlords and mortgage holders. While contagion may be held at bay, property owners are not the only ones who will suffer. Property tax revenue will be affected, and those who provide water and sewer service, gas and electricity will also feel the strain. 
 

Aug 15

July saw Milwaukee evictions up less than 4% over last year, despite local owners reporting 8-18% less rent collected than normal.

Statewide, July evictions are down 10%

The big story is January through July saw statewide and Milwaukee evictions both down just under 27% over last year, again despite the industry suffering well above normal rent losses.

Aug 15

A chilly forewarning from Bloomberg:

While landlords at the priciest, amenity-rich apartments have collected most of their rent payments during the pandemic, owners of older, less fancy units — the backbone of the nation’s affordable housing supply — haven’t fared as well.

The CEO of the National Apartment Association tells Bloomberg in the same article

Further erosion in those rent payments would endanger America’s affordable housing supply and put mom-and-pop landlords at the biggest risk of mortgage default. Should their buildings go into foreclosure, the buyers may not keep them affordable, or even as rentals, said Robert Pinnegar, chief executive officer of the National Apartment Association, a landlord advocacy group. High construction costs make adding any new supply unlikely.

“If we lose this product through the crisis, we’re never going to be able to build it again,” Pinnegar said. “We risk making the affordability crisis much worse on the other side.”

This all makes sense.

Lease Lock and others are reporting a 16% decline in July collections over pre-COVID rates in the below-median rent segment of the market. The National Apartment Association and the US Census put the net operating income of rental properties at 7-9% gross rent, with the NAA showing the higher rate of return.

If collections are down 16% and owners were only receiving 7-9% pre-COVID, it is easy to see how properties will be financially upside down in short order.

If you go back to the US Census research you will find that 73% of the nation’s rental housing is owned by individuals.  That number is probably much higher as many small owners hold title as LLCs.

For a more in-depth view of the economics and potential for a massive housing crisis on the other side of this read, Tenant Rights, Eviction, and Rent Affordability, a published research paper

Aug 10

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/could-federal-investment-prevent-an-eviction-crisis

DESMOND: In June, cities like Cleveland and Milwaukee saw evictions spike 30 to 40 percent above normal level when moratoriums expired.

[Ignores a greater than 30% overall decrease in 2020 evictions Year to date through June 30th. – Tim]

DESMOND: And it also doesn’t solve the landlord’s financial problems. You know, eviction right now, though, is kind of the only tool we’ve given to landlords, right? We haven’t seen a serious investment in housing from the federal government.

[Agreed – Tim]

DESMOND: And so when you’re a landlord and you’re in a pinch, you kind of reach for that pink slip.

[No landlord wants or wins when there is an eviction, rather they generally never recover the money lost. An eviction is either failure to screen or the tenant met with circumstances afterward. – Tim]

DESMOND: You know, we need a national moratorium on evictions. We need to say, look, in this pandemic, the home is medicine. The home is safety. And we have to protect that. Americans deserve that level of protection. Property owners need to pay their bills, too. And so we don’t just need moratoriums. We also need rent relief.

[There is no need for a moratorium if proper need-based rent subsidies are in place. Agreed that property owners need to pay their bills. The outcome if they can’t is chronicled at https://bit.ly/MoratoriumImpact – Tim]

DESMOND: We need a serious investment from the federal government with the recognition that everyone needs a stable, affordable place to live in normal times and especially during this pandemic. That’s true.

[Agreed – Tim]

Aug 08

Executive Order on Fighting the Spread of COVID-19 by Providing Assistance to Renters and Homeowners

https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-fighting-spread-covid-19-providing-assistance-renters-homeowners/

Aug 08

The Virginia State Supreme Court extended yesterday the judicial moratorium on eviction proceedings for another 28 days. 

While it is VA, the arguments apply universally.

https://www.baconsrebellion.com/wp/no-equal-justice-for-landlords/

Justice Kelsey finds the following faults with the majority’s approach:

  • The judicial-emergency statute exists to help folks who can’t avail themselves of the courts, or to meet schedules or time deadlines. He concludes that “Exactly the opposite will be true under this ex parte order” (italics his). This order impedes a landlord’s access to the courts, even while the courts are capable of adjudicating their claims. The majority cited tenants who might suffer from health conditions that prevent them from coming to court. This dissent calls that an unwarranted generalization, one that landlords are powerless to contest on a factual basis in each case.

  • The legislature passed in April a bill that provides relief to tenants facing evictions, giving them an of-right 60-day continuance. That provision lasts as long as the Governor’s declaration of emergency does, so as Justice Kelsey points out, it’s still in effect. By entering this order, the court has stepped into the legislative and executive arena. He concludes, “Whether this legislative response to the housing crisis is adequate or not, we have no authority under separation-of-powers principles to issue an ex parte judicial order expanding the statutory remedy.”

  • Next, the dissent points out that this order singles out and targets one type of litigant: landlords. And it deprives those landlords of a remedy while doing nothing to prevent a tenant, even one who hasn’t paid rent since March, from suing the landlord for breach of some lease provision. Justice Kelsey argues that the order “rests on a wholly untested factual assumption,” namely, that tenants would have paid their rent but for the pandemic. What about those tenants who didn’t lose their streams of income? What about those who received alternative income streams, such as CARES Act payments? They get relief, too, and landlords have to sit on their hands and fume.

  • The dissent next notes three “constitutional concerns” that the order ignores. First, no one has the power to suspend the execution of generally applicable laws. But this one does that, hampering landlords to the benefit of tenants, in a specific class of cases. It matters not to Justice Kelsey that the judiciary, rather than the executive, is doing the suspending. Next, he posits something that I’ve mused about: This deprivation of a remedy may be a taking of private property for a public purpose, triggering a landlord’s right under Art. I, section 11 for just compensation. And third, this order at least appears to impair the obligation of contracts.

Aug 08

NAR and other industry partners sent this to the President this afternoon – message “Rental Assistance and Eviction  Moratorium- Can’t do one without the other!

August 7, 2020 

The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Washington, DC 20500 

Dear Mr. President: 

The undersigned national associations that represent for-profit and non-profit owners, developers, managers, housing cooperatives and housing agencies involved in providing affordable rental and cooperative housing to millions of American families urge you to take meaningful action now to protect the housing stability of millions of American families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The relief provided by the CARES Act was successful in helping Americans meet their housing needs, and we strongly urge the Administration to support critically needed policies as you consider further action.

As you know, over 54 million Americans have filed initial claims for unemployment since the beginning of the pandemic, and many are struggling to pay everyday expenses – chief among them, rent. As the pandemic drags on, the country’s 109 million renters are expected to be disproportionately impacted because they are more likely to work in industries hardest hit by layoffs. In fact, the Census Bureau estimates that 46 percent of all renters are currently unemployed. Moreover, as the crisis continues and renters’ savings are depleted, these ongoing challenges will interfere with renters’ ability to pay their rent: Nearly 24 million people have little or no confidence in their ability to pay next month’s rent, according to the Census Bureau. 

If residents are unable to pay their rent, housing providers will also be unable to meet their mortgage obligations, fund their payrolls and pay their property taxes to state and local governments that have been hardest hit by the pandemic. That, in turn, is likely to catalyze a chain of events with potentially devastating financial and economic effects.

We urge you to consider two items of great importance to the housing sector:

• Financial Assistance/Emergency Rental Assistance – Renters impacted by the pandemic need federal rental assistance to continue meeting their financial obligations. Federal and state unemployment assistance benefits have helped many renters make their rent, but without that supplemental assistance or another financial lifeline, many will not be able to meet their financial obligations. An extension of now-expired federal unemployment benefits, in conjunction with direct rental assistance for those not able to access those funds, is necessary to protect the housing stability of millions of Americans.

A variety of rental assistance proposals have emerged, and our groups urge policymakers to ensure whichever delivery mechanism(s) is chosen, swiftly distributes funding at the property-level, while also protecting struggling renters at all income levels and geographic regions including urban, suburban and rural areas throughout the country.

• Eviction Moratorium – The CARES Act included a temporary eviction moratorium that responded to the immediate uncertainties and difficulties at the outset of this crisis. Today, we better understand the scope of the housing challenges we face and must establish long-term solutions to avert serious damage to America’s renters and housing providers. An extended eviction moratorium is not the answer to the financial distress that renters may experience and could in fact cause considerable injury to the housing sector as a whole. 

A protracted eviction moratorium is unsustainable and does nothing to address a renter’s underlying financial distress or risk of housing insecurity. In contrast, the creation of a robust rental assistance program, as outlined above, or other financial aid would provide real support for American families, while also helping preserve critical stability for property owners. An eviction moratorium without a federal funding commitment creates conditions for a systemic market failure where lost, and likely irrecoverable, rent payments jeopardize property owners’ ability to maintain critical property operations and ensure the ongoing financial viability of the property. These efforts put the stability of the entire rental housing sector in danger and further complicate our shared efforts to address long- standing housing affordability challenges across the nation.

As you continue your work to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that continued direct financial support and emergency rental assistance provide solutions for residents and housing providers alike and are necessary to help those with financial hardships, without undermining the stability of the housing market and the financial health of our communities. By taking meaningful action now, the Administration can keep roofs over families’ heads, save small businesses and pull the country back from an emerging housing crisis.

Sincerely, 

CCIM Institute
Council for Affordable and Rural Housing
Institute of Real Estate Management
Manufactured Housing Institute
National Affordable Housing Management Association National Apartment Association
National Association of Home Builders
National Association of Housing Cooperatives 

National Association of REALTORS
National Leased Housing Association
National Multifamily Housing Council
Mortgage Bankers Association 

cc: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin White House Coronavirus Task Force

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