February 2021 Rent Survey

Posted By: Michael Havlik Central Oregon, Industry News, MFNW Community Updates, Mid-Willamette Valley, Portland/SW Washington, SWV News,

February 2021 Rent Survey Results
Dear Members,
Multifamily NW collaborated with a broad group of housing professionals (management companies, private managers, housing authorities, nonprofits, state agencies) to collect surveys of conventional and affordable rental housing to establish the ongoing impact on rent payment of the COVID -19 crisis.
The survey asked: How many occupied households were unable to pay full rent by the 15th day of the month? The survey adjusted for vacancy to arrive at the true percentage of occupied households impacted.
The numbers presented also show the averages for last year, which encompassed seven months: May 2020 through November 2020.
Key findings:
  • On average, 13.0% of Oregon households did not pay their rent by the 15th of the month, which represents an overall decline from 11.7% in January.
  • Statewide, of renter households living in Affordable Tax Credit units, 15.4% were unable to pay rent, compared to the average of 9.2% in January.  (Note that the January results were favorably impacted by several rental assistance options that were targeted toward affordable housing in the 4th quarter of 2020) Overall, vacancy within the 14,880 affordable units reporting was only 2.7%, demonstrating the exceptional demand for this type of unit.
  • Conventional “Class-C” workforce multifamily housing, experienced a 16.1% inability to pay rent, and showed virtually no improvement from 16.2 last month, and the 16.8% average from 2020. There is cause for concern that rental assistance dollars are not reaching tenants in this asset class. 
  • Responses from owners with nine or fewer units provided data on 403 units across Oregon. They showed 25.5% inability to pay, along with 12.4% vacancy. Last month, 483 units responded with 18.1% inability to pay and 7.2% vacancy.  We do not have an explanation for the high variability in this asset class other than a change in sample size. This is also the asset class best positioned to receive funding through the Landlord Compensation Fund.
  • Class A market rate apartments now reflect a 10.5% vacancy rate on top of a 10.7% inability to pay. Inability to pay in this asset type averaged just 6.8% across Oregon in 2020.
Landlord Compensation Fund:
Respondents were asked if they planned to apply for the Landlord Compensation Fund. 216 respondents replied to this question. Here are the responses:
  • Yes:              36%
  • No:               48%
  • Not Sure:   16%
Here is a sample of comments received from respondents:
  • “Some owners have decided to pursue, others have not.”
  • “The tenants left with a balance owing, the unit is vacant. Selling.” (Note: we have continued to observe owners of single-family rentals selling as a result of law changes.)
  • “No.... I heard… on 2/17 that the fund had closed within hours of it opening” (Note: The fund did temporarily close, but it opened the same day.)
  • “Yes, but we are waiting until March.”
  • “Yes, some of our owners are willing to forgive 20% and try to get compensated.”
  • “Yes, if tenants return the financial hardship forms.”
  • “Yes, trying to complete. Portal does not function smoothly.  (Note: there is a helpful YouTube video on completing the spreadsheet.)
We strive to collect the broadest possible sampling of data across the state of Oregon, but the response level can vary widely month to month. The February 2021 Rent Survey represented 287 surveys collected, whereas January received 341 surveys.  
Thank you to every member and participant that took the time to complete the monthly Rent Surveys that created these important data sets.