Coronavirus has impacted the real estate market in many ways from home buying, selling, to collecting rent payments. In this episode, Theo Hicks will be sharing information on how May rent collection was with so many Americans out of work.
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Joe Fairless: There needed to be a resource on apartment syndication that not only talked about each aspect of the syndication process, but how to actually do each of the things, and go into it in detail… And we thought “Hey, why not make it free, too?” That’s why we launched Syndication School.
Theo Hicks will go through a particular aspect of apartment syndication on today’s episode, and get into the details of how to do that particular thing. Enjoy this episode, and for more on apartment syndication and how to do things, go to apartmentsyndication.com, or to learn more about the Apartment Syndication School, go to syndicationschool.com, so you can listen to all the previous episodes.
Theo Hicks: Hi Best Ever listeners. Welcome to another episode of The Syndication School series, a free resource focused on the how-tos of apartment syndication. As always, I’m your host, Theo Hicks. Each week, we air two podcasts episodes that focus on a specific aspect of the apartment syndication investment strategy, and for the majority of these episodes, we offer a free resource for you. These are PowerPoint presentation templates, Excel template calculators, PDF how-to guides, some resource to help you along your apartment syndication journey. These free resources as well as past Syndication School episodes are available at syndicationschool.com.
Today we are going to return to talking about the Coronavirus. So we’ve taken a break from that the past few weeks, but I wanted to do an episode that goes over how rent collection was during the month of May.
So I’m recording this on May 20, the data is in. Definitely check out some of the episodes that I recorded last month, either late April or early May, about the Coronavirus and how that is impacting apartments. Those are also at syndicationschool.com or if you just go to joefairless.com and search Coronavirus, you’ll see all the blogs and podcasts we’ve got about that topic. But today, we’re gonna talk about how the Coronavirus has impacted rent collection for landlords, more specifically how it has impacted rent collections for the month of May, because obviously, it has caused a lot of uncertainty for landlords, property management companies, really anyone involved in real estate in general, but we’re gonna focus on apartments obviously, and this is due to things that have to do with rent collections and people losing their jobs, and evictions, eviction halts and foreclosure halts.
So in an attempt to help tenants who may be struggling financially, many states have restricted evictions. It has been a scary time for a lot of investors, because that might translate to less income if you are not able to evict a tenant who can’t pay rent. So obviously, because of all these changes in the rent collections, we’re expecting a lot of people who are saying it’s gonna go down a lot, or it’s not gonna change a lot. Now we have data to support and determine who’s right, and fortunately, it seems like according to the recent rent collection data, landlords may not be as impacted as some people initially expected, and it shows that rent collection is down by only a few percentage points. So just because while the new eviction laws seems scary, the data shows that it’s not as bad as it seems, at least not yet. So let’s go over the data and see how rent collection has been impacted.
So first of all, well, rent collection is down. So it has dropped, but as I mentioned earlier, this was expected. Whenever you’re going into a recession, whether it’s caused by some financial instrument like it was in 2008, or a pandemic, like it is now, typically that means people are making less money, and when people make less money, that means they can’t pay the rent sometimes. But luckily, as I mentioned, the rent collection has not been affected as much as compared to previous economic downturns, and it really has not been as affected year over year either.
So this is for rent collection as of the 6th May. Basically, people who are paying their rent on time. In 2019, by April 6th, 82.9% of rent payments were made, and the next month in May, by the 6th of 2019, 81.7% of rent payments were made. So from April 2019 to May 2019, it was down about a percentage point.
Now moving to 2020, April 6th of 2020, the percentage of rent payments made was 78%, which was about a 5% drop year over year. However, by May 6, 2020, 80.2% of rent payments were made. So it actually went up from April to May. So obviously, April 2019 to April 2020 is down, and May 2019 to May 2020 is down very slightly, but a promising part is that April was lower than May. So rent collections actually went up from April to May. So this increase from April to May seems to be promising, and also for the time being, the spread of virus seems to be slowing down, additional steps seem to have been taken to get the economy rolling again. So in the short term, the worst may be over. April, May have been the worst month. Of course, we don’t really know for certain. Nothing is a fact yet, but what we do know is that rent collection is only slightly down. From April to May, it’s actually going up.
So why is this happening and will it get worse? Well, the obvious reason that the rent collection went up from April to May are those government stimulus checks hitting people’s bank accounts. People get their stimulus checks towards the end of April allowing them to pay their May rent on time if they weren’t able to pay their April rent on time, but of course, right now, as of this recording, this is the only confirmed stimulus check going out to Americans. With our talks right now, I just looked up today, they’re still talking about potentially sending out a second round of stimulus checks, which would obviously be very helpful for June rent, especially because data is showing that 63% of Americans will require a second stimulus check in order to pay bills within the next three months. Although we do know that people do pay their housing bill first, so this is just bills in general… But it’d still be helpful to these people.
So depending on whether the economy reopens, the next few months could potentially be unstable compared to April and May, but the good news is that many states are ramping up unemployment efforts since 15% of the country’s unemployed. So just because they’re not getting stimulus checks on a national federal basis, states are also helping with unemployment benefits. So with all this federal and state help citizens are currently receiving, it’s hopeful that rent collections won’t be fluctuating too much, but again, disclaimer, none of this can be said for certain.
So what about the evictions we’ve talked about earlier? What’s perhaps more important is to know when the current rent collection numbers might go up or down. So not all states have implemented new eviction laws, but many states have, and so it’s important to know which ones they are. For example, there was a recent case in Minnesota where a landlord was criminally charged for evicting a tenant during the pandemic. So states are beginning to require a landlord to allow tenants to live in their properties even if they cannot pay rent. Right now, 15 states have to suspended or changed their eviction laws until further notice with really no end date in sight. So each state’s eviction laws are a little bit different, so make sure that whatever state you’re in, you’re up to date on that. So if you go to Google, then you can set up a Google Alert to “evictions” and then your state name. Each day, you’ll get a Google Alert will send to your inbox, updating you on the eviction laws in your state or examples of landlords getting charged or whatever.
Most states have changed their eviction laws to require landlords to keep tenants in their homes even if they cannot pay rent. So in New York, for example, they declared an eviction and a foreclosure moratorium and prohibited late fees for up to 90 days, allowing tenants to use their security deposit to pay past rent.
So luckily, as I mentioned earlier with the April, May 2019, 2020 data, these eviction laws haven’t seemed to change rent collection too much, but the disclaimer here again is yet; it’s still something that might happen in the future, especially if there’s not a second round of stimulus checks, if these halts on evictions are extended for many months; it really just depends.
I talked about this on some of those previous Coronavirus episodes. Just make sure you’re trying to work with your tenants as much as possible during this difficult time, just because even if you’re allowed to evict them, it might be hard to find a resident currently. So just work with them, help them out as much as you can.
So the last thing I want to talk about is just because you got these eviction changes and rent collections seem to be down year over year, rent growth is slowing down, people are unemployed, everyone just keep in mind that this is going to be temporary. We don’t know when, but eventually, the economy will recover, things will get back to normal and we hope, and we’ve got an article on our blog about this, it’s called, Will Apartments be Stronger in the Post Coronavirus World? Ideally, apartments are going to be stronger after all this is over and we come out of this pandemic, recession, whatever you want to call it.
So overall, rent collections have been slightly affected, but it’s nothing too concerning as of now. Obviously, these are just average numbers. So some places aren’t affected at all, other places are affected a lot worse, but on average, these rent collections have been slightly affected. I should’ve just said on average a little bit earlier. So just be sure that you’re staying up to date on your state’s eviction laws, foreclosure laws, really any changes in laws to the Coronavirus pandemic, and then think of practically how that’s gonna affect rent collections come June, July, August, etc.
So that’s an update on the rent collections. Again, just to go over the data one more time, these are all percentages of rent payments made by the 6th of the month. So April 2019, it was 82.3%, May 2019 was 81.7%., April 2020 was 78%, May 2020 was 80.2%. So year over year, April was down about 5%, May was down about a little under 2%, but looking at the 2020 data, the rent collection in May was higher than it was in April. So we saw a bump, again, due to stimulus checks, but it’s still a good thing to see from a landlord, from a property management company, from a apartment syndication perspective.
If you want that data, it’s from the National Multifamily Housing Council. So you can find June data for there as well. And depending on how June goes and depending on if the Coronavirus is still top of mind topic, we’ll do another episode talking about the June 2019 and June 2020 rent collection data by the 6th of the month here in the next few weeks.
So a little shorter episode, but that could give you time to check out some of our other Syndication School episodes available at syndicationschool.com. We’ve also got our free documents there as well. Thank you for listening, have a best ever day and I’ll talk to you soon.
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