Survey: Number of New Yorkers Unable to Pay Rent Doubles for June

As unemployment continues to rise, more and more New Yorkers will not be able to pay their rent. Find out how many people can pay their rent on time and how many cannot.

Unemployment has been a major focal point to track the impact of the pandemic on our lives in the past few months as job loss continues to soar and many businesses permanently close.

The April jobless figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in early May indicate that the U.S. is looking at 14.7% for unemployment. However, according to an article in Forbes, the unemployment rate may have actually been as high as 20% that month.

PropertyNest conducted a survey last month to gauge how many New Yorkers would have hardship paying their rent in May 2020.

This month's follow-up survey shows a troubling trend--New Yorkers struggle even more to pay the rent for June 2020.

Survey Highlights:

PropertyNest asked:

"If you rent in New York City, what do you plan on doing for rent for June 1st?

  • About one-third of New York City renters will be paying rent without issues. 34% of respondents said they would pay their rent in full with their regular income. It is significantly down from last month when 55.7% said they would pay as usual.
  • 36.9% of all respondents do not have the money to pay June 1st's rent. This is a combination of three groups--respondents who cannot pay June 1st, those who haven't been able to pay since May, and those who haven't been able to pay rent since April. It is a sharp increase from last month's survey that showed 17.9% of respondents would not be able to make May's rent.
  • More New York renters worked out a deal with their landlords this month. 5.6% of respondents said that they worked out a payment plan with their landlord last month, compared with 9.5% this month.
  • The results showed that more women would not be able to pay June's rent than men. Women made up 57.4% of all respondents who could not pay June's rent. However, they also made 52.4% of respondents who could pay their rent as usual for June.
  • Respondents aged 18-34 were more likely to use their stimulus or unemployment checks to pay for June's rent at 41.9%.
  • Renters from age 55 and up were more likely to have worked out a payment plan with their landlord.
  • Overall 65.9% of respondents will struggle to pay the rent for June according to the results. This number includes everyone who is not able to make their rent, those using stimulus or unemployment checks to pay, those borrowing money, and those who worked out a payment plan with their landlords. This is an increase of 48% from last month's survey.

The number of people who cannot pay the rent, at large roughly translates to about 24% of New Yorkers since this data is collected purely from the rental market. This is an increase of 106% (36.9% of renters compared to last month's 17.9% of renters who said that could not make rent).

According to the survey results, New Yorkers are feeling the pinch more than before. This is exemplified not only by the growth of residents who are not able to make their rent payment for June, but the increase of renters borrowing money and making deals with their landlords.

Governor Andrew Cuomo commented on the scope of economic devastation on May 22nd, citing that more than 100,000 businesses in New York State had permanently shuttered their doors due to the lockdown caused by COVID-19 pandemic.

Even with a phased reopening in New York City possibly happening at some time in June or July, not enough jobs may return for residents to get back on their feet.

Furthermore, with the advent of reopening, we may see eviction and legal proceedings begin for those tenants whose rent payments are in arrears.

Survey Methodology

PropertyNest conducted an online survey among New York residents on how they would respond to the rent due on June 1st of 2020 in New York City. 1,001 respondents ages 18 and older participated with a margin of error of +/- 2.1%.

Ruth Shin
About the author

Ruth Shin is the Founder and CEO of PropertyNest. She shares in-depth insights on real estate, personal finance, and home improvement drawing from her experience as a licensed real estate agent, editing personal finance publications, and managing many home renovation projects. Ruth graduated with a BA from Hunter College in Writing, History, and Special Honors.