Nearly 1 in 5 Raleigh-area tenants missed their April rent payment

RALEIGH -- A study by a housing nonprofit found nearly 1 in 4 Charlotte-area tenants have missed rent payments due the first week of April as the economy shut down in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The figures, from a national study by the National Multifamily Housing Council, represent an 8 percent rise in missed payments from the same time last year. The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group used rental market data from firms including RealPage, which analyzed local figures for The Charlotte Observer.

In the Raleigh-Cary area, close to 1 in 5 tenants missed their April rent payments. The national average was nearly 1 in 3, according to the study, which analyzed only market-rate apartments, not subsidized apartments or rental houses.

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Mecklenburg County Commissioner Susan Harden told the Observer that this situation should "keep every elected official awake at night."

North Carolina's job losses have soared, with unemployment claims projected to reach nearly 500,000 by the end of this week.

Rev. Willie Keaton Jr., an affordable housing activist, said the economic crisis fueled by the coronavirus pandemic will "crush" people who are already struggling to find affordable apartments in Charlotte.

Evictions have been temporarily halted in the state, but Charlotte City Council Member Braxton Winston said he worries some apartment buildings may soon be foreclosed.

"It's not just something that we can say, 'well, the market will figure it out,'" Winston said. "We have to figure it out."
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