Poll: 29% of Massachusetts renters struggled to pay rent between April and June

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BOSTON (WPRI) — Massachusetts is now in Phase 2 of reopening the economy and while that means more people are headed back to work, it’s going to take some time for others to be financially stable again.

One of the biggest issues during the COVID-19 pandemic has been the cost of housing. In a poll released by nonprofit think tank MassINC Wednesday morning, the virus is further dividing the socioeconomic classes in the Bay State.

More than 1,500 Massachusetts residents responded to this survey in the middle of May.

According to the poll, 29% of renters missed paying at least some rent between the months of April and June. This compares to just 13% of homeowners who struggled to pay their mortgage in the same timeframe.

A majority of poll takers did not have any symptoms or a direct connection to the virus. A majority also said they had not discussed their rental terms with their landlords.

Currently, it is illegal for landlords to evict anyone for missing rent, but that is set to expire in August — which is not enough time for the renters surveyed. Only 21% of renters said they’d be very likely to catch up on payments by then.

Renters disproportionately fall into groups who have been statistically impacted the most by the coronavirus crisis: younger adults, people of color, part-time workers and hourly workers, and those who have lower incomes and/or less education.

Those who cannot afford to pay rent are also struggling to get enough food as well.

Struggling homeowners say they would like to see mortgage lenders modify terms to those who have lost jobs and renters would like more support, or at least an extension, on the eviction delay. Since their struggles with money won’t be ending any time soon, they’d like to see an improvement in affordable housing statewide.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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