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Rent cliff in July looms as eviction moratoriums expire

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The U.S. economy has lost more than 14.7 million jobs since nationwide lockdowns began in March. For more than half of these Americans, their largest expense is their monthly rent — a bill that was already growing before the pandemic.

A new study from the Urban Institute shows more than 8.9 million households are now “rent-burdened,” meaning they’re spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent. That’s nearly double pre-pandemic estimates, which put the number of burdened households at about 5 million. Once eviction moratoriums end in July, these renters are at risk for losing their homes.

For now, federal assistance has kept things stable: The Urban Institute analysis showed that state unemployment insurance and the CARES Act’s weekly $600 supplement have succeeded in keeping renters in homes.

But weekly supplemental payments are scheduled to end in July, and evictions will be legal again soon after, leaving low-income households vulnerable to a housing crisis.

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