Buildings with one to four units are a crucial source of rental housing, accounting for about half of all US rental units. Rental units in these buildings are more likely to be owned by individual landlords than by institutional investors, and, especially in two-to-four-unit buildings, they are more affordable than units in larger multifamily buildings.
The pandemic’s economic effects have threatened this essential piece of the market. Renters who lost their jobs because of the pandemic have struggled to keep up with monthly payments. As a result, many individual landlords have lost a major source of income, and some are feeling pressure to sell their properties—which could remove lower-cost units from a market that already lacks affordable housing.
We’re tracking monthly rent payments in units owned by independent mom-and-pop landlords since January 2020 to see how the pandemic and ongoing recovery efforts have affected renters and owners of these properties. Using data provided by Avail, an online rental property management platform for independent mom-and-pop landlords, we can explore whether renters nationally and in certain states and metropolitan areas are able to keep up with their monthly payments.