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Connect Media: UCLA-USC Study Finds 1 in 5 LA Tenants Struggle to Pay Rent During COVID-19

August 31, 2020

A joint UCLA-USC report found that 22% percent of Los Angeles County tenants paid rent late at least once from April to July, while between May and July, about 7% did not pay any rent at least once. The report documents the hardships faced by tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it traces those hardships overwhelmingly to lost work and wages as a result of the economic shutdown.

Among households in the county that did not pay rent, either in full or partially, about 98,000 tenants have been threatened with an eviction, while an additional 40,000 report that their landlord has already begun eviction proceedings against them. California’s moratorium on evictions is scheduled to end Sept. 1, but lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would extend certain protections through Jan. 31, 2021.

The study found that tenants have been facing unprecedented hardships during the COVID-19 crisis, substantially more so than homeowners. Overall, the study also found that most tenants are still paying their rent during the pandemic but are often doing so by relying on unconventional funding sources. The majority who pay late or not at all have either lost their work, gotten sick with COVID-19 or both.

Among the findings:

  • About 16% of tenants report paying rent late each month from April through July.
  • About 10% did not pay rent in full for at least one month between May and July.
  • About 2% of renters are three full months behind on rent. This translates to almost 40,000 households in a deep financial hole.
  • Late payment and nonpayment are strongly associated with very low incomes (households earning less than $25,000 annually) and being Black or Hispanic.
  • Nonpayment is more common among tenants who rent from friends and family.

The original article can be found here.