it is a consequence of unpaid rent. The pandemic puts an entire industry in jeopardy be- cause it disproportionately affects those who are most at risk: low-income renters and their low-cost market-rate housing providers. As a group, Independents provide the largest proportion of all rentals and the highest proportion of low-cost market-rate rentals. Nationally, post-pandem- ic unpaid rent monies disproportionately impact indepen- dent investor rental providers more than “large” institu- tional rental housing providers. THE REAL CONSEQUENCES OFUNPAID RENT Independent rental housing providers often cannot absorb multiple months of unpaid rents from normally thin margins. This group often lacks access to additional capital, making them particularly vulnerable. Those who have some savings will likely exhaust it all to pay their mortgages and utilize whatever means of credit they have to “subsidize” unpaid rent, hopeful that better days will come. Why? They are optimists, intent to keep a bad situ- ation from turning worse and will often stop at nothing to protect their credit scores. As funds deplete, the cascade begins: deferred maintenance or under-maintained rent- als and an inability to pay the mortgages, property taxes, and utilities. Backlogged courts are further burdened with unpaid rent defenses due to lack of maintenance. Risk of criminal charges, fines, or even jail time percolate in the minds of independent providers who are scrambling for funds to keep the utilities on, even though rent is unpaid, where state retaliatory laws exist. With eviction protec- tions in place, the unprotected independent rental provid- er, who relies on maintaining good credit scores, will burn
through personal savings to protect their score and to stay afloat.
PANDEMIC-INDUCED EVICTION RISK IS OVERSTATEDWHILE RENTAL DELINQUENCY IS UNDERSTATED We normally picture large institutional housing provid- ers when we think of rental housing. And it is not surpris- ing given the representation by the National Apartment Association and the National Multi-housing Council in Washington. However, the majority low-cost rental housing is typically owned and managed by independent housing providers who do not have a representative body to speak collectively about how the pandemic has impact- ed them. There are scores of renter-advocate organiza- tions focused on evictions, while low-cost rental housing providers remain underrepresented. This group is dispro- portionately affected by the pandemic, and both the renter and the housing provider are financially vulnerable. The eviction risk tallies are not reliable data sets for predicting outcome; they are largely derived from monthly opinions taken from a poll, and the monthly tallies are not additive as many of those organizations suggest. The total rent delinquency for some housing providers, say six or maybe nine months, may not be recoverable, causing long-lasting industry consequences at a scale never be- fore experienced — all induced by the pandemic.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS The NAA representation for the rental housing industry is critical and much appreciated. The independent housing
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