Connecticut's Rental Housing At Risk During COVID-19
November 13, 2020
The continuing pandemic recession is causing a massive rental housing crisis to brew in Connecticut – held back for the time being by the governor’s eviction moratorium and the patchwork federal CDC moratorium. The state has committed $40 million to emergency rental assistance through its TRHAP program and recently reopened the program to new applicants. Now that the election season is behind us, can we reasonably expect to see adequate federal rental assistance funds flow into the state anytime soon?
This isn’t just a problem for renters. Tenants inability to keep up with rent is being felt by property owners large and small throughout the state. In Connecticut, about 20 percent of tenants are behind on their rent. Eventually tens of thousands of households owing tens of millions of dollars in rent to property owners will impact the broader state economy.
One class of rental housing is most at risk during the COVID-19 recession. Much of Connecticut’s supply of rental housing is concentrated in small, older multifamily (SMF) buildings. SMF buildings of 2 to 19 units make up 56 percent of Connecticut’s total rental stock. Often due to the age and lack of amenities in these buildings, rents are typically lower than market rate rents in single family homes or large apartment buildings in the same area. These buildings are more likely to be owned by individual investors some of them living in one of the units themselves.
Check out our latest fact sheet on small multifamily housing to learn about the role of this critical housing resource in providing lower cost housing and homeownership opportunities in Connecticut. And, read our recent op-ed in CT Post on what additional steps can be taken her in Connecticut to protect this valuable housing.