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How Has COVID‑19 Affected Renters and Homeowners?

The Legislative Analyst’s Office has just published the following report:

How Has COVID‑19 Affected Renters and Homeowners?

Our office has released a report assessing how coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has affected renters and homeowners. In October, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia estimated that California renters owed $1.7 billion in unpaid rent due to COVID-19. Over the past several months, we collaborated with the authors of that study to develop a revised, California-specific estimate of total unpaid rental debt due to COVID-19. Importantly, this estimate is specific to COVID-19 through December 2020. Therefore, the estimate does not include underlying rental debt due to the state’s longstanding housing affordability challenges or upcoming rental debt due to COVID-19 that might occur in the coming year.

The following is a summary of our report:

  • The economic effects of COVID-19 have been widespread, but renter households have been hit hardest because job losses have been concentrated among low-wage workers.
  • In response to COVID-19, the state and federal governments took unprecedented steps to stabilize family incomes and protect renters from eviction and homeowners from foreclosure.
  • As a result, many Californians who otherwise would have faced eviction or foreclosure have been able to avoid these destabilizing events.
  • Based on our collaboration with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia to revise key California-specific assumptions in their model, we now estimate that renters owe a total of $400 million in unpaid rent—significantly less than the $1.7 billion earlier estimate—due to COVID-19.

This report is available using the following link: https://lao.ca.gov/Publications/Report/4312?utm_source=laowww&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=4312

This article was released by the Legislative Analyst’s Office.