Forbes Warns Rent Crisis Already Here
According to Forbes, one of the world’s foremost financial publications, the “rental crisis of 2020” is upon is in full swing, and is one of the worst symptoms of Covid-19. Forbes has reached this conclusion by and large through the figure provided by Edison Research, which claims that around 62% of renters are “concerned about being able to make the rent.” Keen readers on the hunt for factual information may notice that Edison’s numbers are not specific to people who cannot afford their rent; rather, their numbers focus on people who have anxiety and concerns over the rent.
While these are two different things, it’s safe to assume that a hefty portion of that 62% is indeed struggling to pay their rent, or flatly cannot pay their rent. This, of course, is not a good thing and could be devastating not only to entire families and communities but the economy as a whole.
In the United States, rental housing makes up around 40% of all housing, with over 43 million different renters in properties ranging from small apartments and condos to houses. Add in the fact that over 30 million Americans are out of work, and you’re going to get a lot of crossover here, which signifies that these fears are not unfounded. People are certainly struggling to pay their rent and thus right to be concerned.
One thing that really hit the rental market hard was that government didn’t do much in its initial $2.2 trillion stimulus to address the bulk of renters. They provided government backed protections for mortgage holders, though renters have leases, not mortgages, so it ignored over 40 million people in one sweeping stroke of the pen. Though, ironically, the people it did help were people experts claim didn’t need the help as much. For instance, government saw fit to suspend Section 8 rents for low-income residents. The odd thing here is that the average rent paid on Section 8 is around $50 per month, reaching that number in the aggregate due to the fact that so many do not have to pay a cent for rent.
In other words, if an American relied on their job to pay 800, 900, even over $1,000 monthly, they were left without aid. Whereas if a person only paid $50, or perhaps didn’t have to pay at all, their rent was suspended. Many are suggesting that this was a symbolic way to extend an imaginary benefit to Section 8 renters, while no burdens were actually eased.
An Urban Institute Survey suggests that around half of all renters are actually struggling to make their rent on a monthly basis. Even with the federal government adding $600 a week in unemployment, many people are not eligible to receive this benefit, so they still struggle with their rent.
Though this is becoming somewhat of a muddy topic, to be sure, as the pleas in mainstream society about rent are heard the loudest from people who are not actually struggling to pay their rent. They simply do not want to pay on principle.
The Deeper Look at Rent Issues Through Protests
The Democratic Socialists of America started two weeks ago in New York by protesting the entire concept of paying rent. While they started out saying that they were simply demanding that Mayor De Blasio and Governor Cuomo suspend rent until the pandemic is under control and the economy reopens, the protestors started quickly shoehorning in their political theories and principles by stating that “rent,” as a concept, was oppressive and all housing should be given freely as a human right.
No matter where one stands on this issue, the point is that this makes it very tough to see how many Americans are actually suffering. The reason is fairly simple. If the government wants to look around and find the damage that having to pay rent is causing during this crisis, the first faces they’re likely to see are middle-class New York millennials who can indeed afford to pay their rent though have taken a page out of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s book and simply want to refuse rent to rest on the principles of human rights as they interpret them.
This can create a much deeper, larger problem. The overwhelming majority of property owners aren’t corporations or the wealthy. They’re people who purchased property as sort of a job and rely on that rent to pay their own bills. So it can greatly affect the housing market overall or even force their hands at actually raising rent.
Millions of Americans need help with their rent, though one must be careful navigating this road.
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