Renters’ Experiences During COVID-19: Missed Payments, Eviction Worries, and How Renters are Making Ends Meet

Posted by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on April 6, 2021

Renters’ Experiences During COVID-19 provides new evidence of how the pandemic has increased housing insecurity among renters and how households have navigated this ongoing hardship. Drawing from the January 2021 wave of the Consumer Financial Institute’s COVID-19 Survey of Consumers, which was designed to explore in detail renters’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, this research brief summarizes missed or partial rent payments, the amount of back rent currently owed, interactions with landlords, worries about eviction, and the resources and strategies renters have used to afford monthly rent payments.

Key findings:
  • Nearly one in 10 renters (8 percent) report currently owing back rent, with another 16 percent indicating that they had missed a rent payment at some point since the pandemic began but do not currently owe back rent.
  • Black and Hispanic or Latino Households are the most likely to either currently owe back rent or have previously missed a payment (32 and 36 percent, respectively).
  • Nearly one-quarter of renters (24 percent) report being worried about eviction, and 4 percent have already received a warning about eviction from their landlord.
  • To afford monthly rent payments, many renters have reported using stimulus payments, cutting back on essential and nonessential spending, and paying less toward other bills.

Read the full research brief.

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