May Rent Survey Report from Multifamily NW

Survey Says!

Multifamily NW and the Rental Housing Alliance collaborated to collect 519 surveys of housing providers to establish the impact on rent payment of the COVID -19 crisis that has resulted in mass layoffs.

Roughly 20 percent of fist-time unemployment claims came from accommodation and food services sectors, followed by the arts and entertainment sector, services, construction, and health care.  A disproportionate share of initial unemployment claims occurred for those aged 25-34 – the same population that is likely to rent their housing and have accumulated fewer financial reserves to withstand an interruption in household income.

The survey asked: How many households were unable to pay full rent by the 8th of May? The survey also adjusted for vacant units in order to arrive at the true percentage of renters impacted. The broader impact to the market can therefore be extrapolated from these numbers.


  • Overall in the State of Oregon, 11.8% of renter households were unable to pay rent in May.
  • Statewide, of renter households living in Affordable Tax Credit units, 11.8% were unable to pay rent which was consistent for the average of Oregon.
  • The impact is greater for households living in non-assisted, conventional “Class-C” workforce multifamily housing, which experienced a 17.8% inability to pay rent.
  • Renters in single-family homes or duplexes within the city of Portland reported the highest inability to pay, at 22.7%.
  • Few Housing Providers reported Rent-Strikes or similar protest activity.

The survey data strongly suggests that the households living in moderately priced, conventionally financed apartments, or renting duplex/single family detached homes are most in need of Short-Term Emergency Rental Assistance.

Thank you to every member that took the time to complete the May Rent Survey that created this important data set. Independent owners to large management firms to affordable housing providers like Home Forward and Homes for Good ensured participation across Oregon. Multifamily NW also extends an appreciative thank you to the Rental Housing Alliance who was a major collaborator in this survey.