Pennsylvania renters owe millions

Pennsylvania renters

Pennsylvania renters owe millions in back rent, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia estimates. Renters statewide owe $224 million to their landlords, according to this story provided by The Center Square. The federal moratorium on evictions expires Dec. 31.

The reserve said the unprecedented renter debt comes after 24 million residents nationwide lost their jobs between March and August. The report concludes that these households, which include more than 1 million children, need help beyond what’s been provided through federal relief. 

Nationally, renter households owe $7.2 billion. A report from the Mortgage Bankers Association determined property owners lost $9.2 billion last quarter alone from missed, delayed or reduced rental payments. Some 6 million renters missed their September payment entirely, according to the report.

“There is growing concern that absent a slowdown in the number of coronavirus cases and another round of much-needed federal aid, millions of households in the coming months face the prospect of falling further behind,” said Gary V. Engelhardt, professor of Economics in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. “With the current eviction moratorium expiring in January, the situation could be even more challenging for renters. Many renter households across the country could find themselves with no place to live; and no means to repay missed payments.”

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Evictions lead to more COVID-19 cases

A recent study linked states that lifted eviction moratoriums between March and September to a doubling of COVID-19 infections. That translated to an additional 433,000 cases and nearly 11,000 unnecessary deaths.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention implemented a nationwide ban on evictions on Sept. 4. In Pennsylvania, the moratorium expired Aug. 31. It’s unclear if Congress will extend the ban into next year as part of a deal on pandemic relief.

Christen Smith

Christen Smith follows Pennsylvania’s General Assembly for The Center Square. She is an award-winning reporter with more than a decade of experience covering state and national policy issues for niche publications and local newsrooms alike.