[Survey] Rent Payment and Eviction Trends - October 2020

In mid-October, we sent a survey to over 22,000 active TurboTenant landlords and renters to gain insights into how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their rental process, specifically regarding rent payments, evictions, mortgage payments, and relief needed to support both parties during these economically trying times. This is our fourth survey in our series on COVID-related landlord and tenant topics. We will continue to publish insights and data through the end of 2020, and into 2021. This survey was conducted between October 12th – October 15th. Our key takeaways and insights from both landlords and tenants for our October survey are highlighted below.

Key Takeaways:

  • 67% of landlords received full rent payments in October, down six points from the previous month
  • 44% of New York landlords reported they received no rent payments in October
  • Landlords with 21+ units reported the highest number of missed payments at 31%
  • 34% of landlords had to dip into their savings to cover their mortgages and other expenses
  • 22% of landlords want mortgage relief and rent relief

Rent Payment Data

Full Payments

Our first question centered around rent payments for October. We also brought data in from our previous survey, to see how landlords fared month over month. Full rent payments for October were down by six percentage points from September to October, ending with the final reporting coming in at 67% for full payments.

No Payment

Twenty-one percent of landlords did not receive rent in October, and 14% of landlords did not receive rent in September.

Partial Payment

Nine percent of landlords received partial payments in October, and 10% of landlords received partial payments in September.

Payment Plans

Only 1% of landlords set up payment plans for their tenants in both October. This is the lowest percent reported since our initial surveys in June.

Rent Cancellation

Rent cancellations ticked up a point, with 2% of landlords reporting they canceled rent for October.

Rent Payments by Number of Units

We distilled the data further to see how landlords in various unit categories were affected. First, we will break down the respondents per unit size. Sixty-four percent of respondents own 1-4 units, 18% own 5-10 units, 9% own 11-20 units, and 10% of respondents own 21 or more units.


Here is a breakdown of who fared best or worst in each payment category for October.

  • Full Payment  – Landlords with 1-4 units received the most full payments at 73%.
  • Partial Payments – Landlords with 11-20 units received the most partial payments at 22%
  • Set-up Payment Plans – Landlords with 5-10 units set up the most payments plans at 3%.
  • No Rent Received – Landlords with 21+ units reported the highest number of missed payments at 31%.
  • Cancelled Rent – Landlords with 1-4 units reported canceling the most rent at 3%.

Rent Payments by State

The top six states our survey respondents own rental property in are: California, Colorado, Florida, Texas, New York, and Illinois. We’ve broken down the data by categories below.


  • Full Payment  – Colorado reported the most rent payments received in full at 76%
  • Partial Payments – California had the most partial payments received at 11%
  • Set-up Payment Plans – Illinois landlords set up the most payment plans at 4%
  • No Rent Received – New York landlords were hit the hardest in this category, with 44% reporting they received no rent payments
  • Cancelled Rent – New York landlords also reported canceling the most rent payments at 3%

Evictions Trends During COVID

The CDC has ordered a temporary eviction moratorium through the end of 2020. In order for a tenant to qualify for the protection, they must meet certain criteria and give their landlord a written declaration. It’s important to note the order states, “This Order does not apply in any state, local, territorial, or tribal area with a moratorium on residential evictions that provides the same or greater level of public-health protection than the requirements listed in this Order.” So if there is better tenant protection, the declaration is not required by law.

We wanted to understand how many landlords have received a declaration, and what percentage of landlords worked with their tenants to come up with an alternative to an eviction, such as a payment plan or reduced rent. One of our landlords reported offering their tenant two and a half months rent free to help get them through. He was able to do this because his mortgage went into forbearance, which we discuss in more detail below.

  • 90% of landlords reported they had not received a declaration 
  • 5% reported they had received a declaration
  • 4% have worked with their tenants to come up with an alternative to eviction
  • 1% have decided to leave their property vacant until the eviction bans are lifted

Landlords – Forbearance and Cash Flow

  • 94% of landlords reported they did not or were not eligible for forbearance on their mortgage
  • 4% reported they went into forbearance
  • 2% of landlords reported having no mortgage

We then asked landlords if they had to dip into savings or emergency funds to help pay their rental property mortgage or other expenses related to their property. Thirty-four percent of landlords reported they did have to dip into savings or emergency funds to cover their mortgage or other related expenses. 

What type of federal relief for landlords would help you the most?

We also asked what type of federal relief would help most as 34% have had to dip into savings to cover their rental property expenses. Many felt the eviction bans were a one-sided approach that was not beneficial to tenants or landlords in the long run. We have highlighted key takeaways below, as well as direct quotes from landlords.

  • 22% of landlords want mortgage relief as well as rent relief
  • 6% of landlords want the government to allow evictions
  • 11% of landlords suggest grants or forgivable loans

“The government should pay rental assistance directly to landlords and then charge those payments back to renters via small interest loans payable back to the government over 30 years, similar to how we pay mortgages.”

Landlord from Illinois

“We are small mom and pop property owners. Federal eviction laws hurt us. There should be relief for small rental apartment owners to receive help during COVID especially when your tenants don’t pay and you can’t evict them.”

Landlord from California

Laws that impact the rental market, landlords, and tenants are constantly being discussed across the U.S. This year, rent control and affordable housing measures are some of the more prominent topics on ballots in some states. Register to vote here and make sure you know what’s on your ballot to stay informed.

Renter Payment and Housing Trends

We also sent a survey to our active TurboTenant renter leads to gain insights into how the COVID-19 pandemic affected them, specifically regarding rent payments, payment confidence for the coming months, as well as debt and income related issues. This is a follow up survey from our July renter data.

Key Takeaways:

  • 32% of respondents have had to dip into their savings to pay for their rent
  • 22% of respondents have had to take on additional debt in order to pay for their rent
  • 79% of renters are confident they can pay their rent in November
  • 5% of renters are not sure how they will pay their rent in November

Percentage of Income Needed for Rent 

We also asked renters what percentage of their income is allocated to rent. Landlords and renters usually prefer and work towards a 30% rent to income ratio. We wanted to understand if that is still what renters are able to maintain, or if that has shifted during the pandemic:

  • 25% of respondents spend 21-30% of their income on rent
  • 21% of respondents spend 31-40% of their income on rent
  • 12% of respondents spend 41-50% of their income on rent

We will continue to update this data every month. If you have data requirements that are outside the scope of this article, please email [email protected]. We have ongoing data collection and are happy to supply another data set if it is available. Check out all of our COVID-19 landlord resources here.

If you are in the process of filling your properties, TurboTenant can help streamline your rental process with easy and free online rental applications as well as thorough tenant screening so you can find the best renter for your property.

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