Coronavirus: the rent is due on the 1st of April, but Americans can’t pay

New York | Brittany Brook, 31 years old, artist and music teacher in a nursery school in New York, has lost his job on march 16, because of the containment measures related to the pandemic that are idling on the american economy.

Two days earlier, this is Matthew Whitfield, 33 years old, her husband, server and actor, who was fired without compensation.

In this 1st of April, like millions of Americans, of all social classes, who have seen their lives disrupted suddenly by the health crisis, Brittany and Matthew have to pay many bills.

Of their decisions in day crucial will emerge a picture less fuzzy economic damage caused by the epidemic of Covid-19 in the United States, a country that does not have a real social safety net and where the savings is low.

“For the first time since our marriage, we will not pay the balance of our credit cards bank but the minimum required and have called on (the banks) to ask if the interest for unpaid could be removed,” says the AFP Brittany, adding that the couple has begged also a deferred payment of their student loans.

“We have a plan to pay the electricity bill ( … ), but we will not pay the rent, because it could deplete our savings and the money set aside in case of an emergency,” says Brittany, who lives with Matthew in a one bedroom apartment rented 1.690 dollars per month in the north of Manhattan.


According to the firm Amherst, 26% of households living in rented accommodation in the United States may be in need of temporary help to pay their rent, which would amount to approximately $ 12 billion per month.

The federal government has indeed announced a plan to help historic 2,200 billion dollars to cure the economy, but the cheque of 1.200 dollars promised to every American 500 for each child does not arrive before the second half of April.

In the meantime, a record number of 3.28 million Americans are registered as unemployed during the week ended march 21. Thousands of small businesses, large providers of jobs, are closing down.

Tammy Devitoe was dismissed on march 12, his restaurant in Albany, in the State of New York. 250 to $ 300 from unemployment benefits per week to which it is entitled will not be enough to pay the bills of telephone, electricity, cable, rent and her car loan.

It has swallowed its pride and is given to the charity folk, via the platform where she was able to raise $ 2,240 at 31 march in the morning.

“I’m short 350 dollars”, she said to AFP. “Until I receive the cheque from the government, I will continue to beg,” adds the mother-divorced 39-year-old, who feared to be caught in a gear of the debt.


In the Face of the parade of layoffs and announcements of technical unemployment, the companies of real estate loans are prepared for a wave of unpaid massive 1st April.

Evictions have been suspended temporarily in some municipalities, while calls to a “rent white” in April is growing on the social networks.

“The manager of my building wants the entire rent regardless of the current situation, and he reminds us that he also has of the creditors,” says Cynthia Ryan, who lives in Dallas.

Real estate developer with properties in the southeast (Georgia, Tennessee, Carolinas, south and north), Bruce McNeilage is willing to make a gesture to its tenants affected, as only to require that 70% of the rent for two months, or even three.

Beyond, “if they can’t pay, they can’t stay because I have loans on these houses,” narrates Mr. McNeilage, whose tenants are mostly executives and earn an average of 100 000 to 200 000 dollars per year.

“We have already received three or four calls in the last 24 hours of people who were keen to inform us that they were late in their rent,” said Mr McNeilage, head of Kinloch Partners.

In addition to individuals, a multitude of businesses, large and small, such as Nike and Cheesecake Factory, are going to either have to pay only half their rent or default.

“On April 1st, we will not be able to pay the bills” for the first time in 30 years of existence, tells the AFP, Joe Toto, owner of Groove Events, a company in the event industry, based in Boston.

He claims that his company is “in danger” because “everything stopped” with the pandemic, and many uncertainties regarding a possible return to normal.

“No one has yet booked in July, August or September”, he says annoyed.

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