Majority of Minnesotans Making Rent During Pandemic
UNDATED -- When it comes to getting the rent paid, Minnesotans are above average - even during a time of economic crisis.
Throughout the United States, the percentage of rents paid for April vary wildly; at the top end, state agencies have reported as many as 30 percent of renters were not able to pay for their housing this month.
Minnesota is a bit different. Cecil Smith, President of the Minnesota Multi Housing Association, reports that property owners collected 93 percent of the rent money expected for the month of April – albeit not all of it on the first of the month.
"The numbers that you’ve heard all snapshots in time," explained Smith. "Rent was a little slower coming in this month as compared to previous months.”
“It’s about cash flow," Smith continued. "Unemployment checks arrived. People who had worked half of March got their paychecks. Stimulus checks started arriving. As people received that financial support, they were able to meet their financial obligations. We’ll see what happens in May.”
In terms of pandemic-specific emergency rental assistance, no bills have been passed in the Minnesota State Legislature. Smith isn't certain anything will be put into place during this legislative session.
"The House and governor haven’t reached an agreement, and have been looking at this for over a month," he said. "And we’re in the middle of a pandemic and a crisis, and a lot of things are happening relatively quickly. When it hasn’t gotten done after a month, you start to become a little less optimistic.”
Short-term emergency assistance is available via usual channels such as counties and social service agencies. Smith says they recommend renters struggling to make rent first discuss options with their property management companies.
"One of the first things we tell people is, please, talk to your manager," Smith stressed. "Explain to your manager what's happening. More often than not, they'll start you on a payment plan. Work with those resources you have available, and understand your renting obligations."