Vice, May 7, 2020: A Third of Americans Didn’t Pay Their Rent or Mortgage in May, Survey Says
As May 1 approached, fears began to spike among landlords that their tenants would not be able to pay rent. Millions of Americans had already not paid April rent, and that number was expected to rise in May, as more people ran through their meager savings and struggled with the consequences of layoffs, furloughs, and lost income.
An equal proportion of renters and mortgage holders were unable to make payments in March, according to the survey, but most of the pain was being felt by the poorest households, with 41 percent of those earning less than $25,000 a year being unable to make a full payment in May compared to 23 percent of those earning more than $100,000.
Coupled with the finding that 60 percent of those who couldn’t pay in full in April haven’t paid anything in May, that number paints a grim picture of people stretching their budgets and trying to negotiate with landlords, but still coming up short. Despite widespread and well-publicized calls for tenants to engage in “rent strikes” to pressure landlords and policymakers to waive rent and mortgage payments for the duration of the pandemic, no city or state appears to have taken that radical step.