The Pandemic’s Impact on Renters and Landlords


Information is power. At Safe Harbor Property Management, we try to read everything and pass on the best information to our partners. Below is a brief summary of a great article I just read that systematically and statistically looked at the past six months of COVID. Sure, some of the conclusions seem obvious, but knowing the cold-hard facts is the first step toward making informed decisions.

The Avail Group conducted a nationwide survey in August. This robust survey has produced some excellent content that I will summarize here. We heartily recommend reading the whole study and have placed the link here.

In reading the entire survey, you will be able to review the demographic information and see more of the raw data they culled. For now, We will go through some of the highlights.

31% of renters were NOT able to pay full rent in August.

When COVID hit hardest in March through May, the number of renters who could not pay rose a staggering 93%! This has created a great deal of pressure on landlords.

Both Renters and Landlords are struggling to make ends meet.

This reality was especially difficult for those paying over 30% of their income on rent alone.

Both Renters and Landlords are accessing saving to make payments.

The survey also noted that borrowing from friends and families has increased as well. The Government aid also tracked on the survey as well as finding additional sources of income. Of the landlords surveyed, 21% said they were offering rent payment plans or some deferment option.

Rent payment plans are popular with renters.

Almost 40% of landlords offered deferment plans, but over 61% did not provide a payment plan. Of those who did give the option, over 60% of renters took them up on the offer. Just over 30% of landlords offered discounts on one or more months of rent.

Landlords are unsure about their future.


A staggering 12% of landlords have gone into forbearance on at least one mortgaged property. This amount is double the standard number. For those who own more than one mortgage property, that number jumped to 15%. Non-government mortgages may not have a forbearance option.

Landlords prepare for three more tough months.


Over half of the landlords see this trend continuing for the next quarter.

Both renters and landlords are concerned with their future.

The fear of eviction for renters and foreclosure for owners is very real. Both groups see government intervention as both a hope and a fear. Landlords are feeling the pinch since government intervention has laid the bulk of the loss on the landlord.

The best quote from the article came from an unnamed landlord from Maryland who said, ‘It is unsustainable to allow the tenant to not pay but require a landlord to pay a mortgage due.’

We again would recommend you read the full article linked here.

The Great Recession: Similarities

These fears are similar to those experienced during the Great Recession of 2008, though at a much more startling pace. According to a testimony by Edward DeMarco, it took six years for forbearance rates to reach their peak during the recession, but it only took two months to reach a forbearance rate of 9% during the Covid-19 pandemic. The struggles that renters and landlords are facing are very real during these times and at a pace which is hard to manage.

Read Edward DeMarco’s full testimony here.

While most of this information may seem obvious, it is comforting to know that we share the same difficulties and see the statistics to validate.

These are difficult times, but there are resources to help you pay rent!


The availability of resources to renters in the South Sound is abundant. On Safe Harbor’s website, you can find a section completely dedicated to resources for tenants. There are over 23 links to local agencies and nonprofits with available funds.

Find these useful resources here.

A word from Marie Pettie

When asked about the response to tenants seeking assistance, Marie Pettie, Regional Manager for Safe Harbor, responded with, “There are so many options for residents to pay rent by taking advantage of the many assistance programs available in our area. See this new page on our site for more details – and call the office if you need help.”

Marie added, “We are here to help. We understand it is a difficult time and it’s our aim to work with you to get through it together.”