The survey found delinquency rates in August hit a five-month low.

Yan Jiaying

Many Chinese were used to paying rent by cash. But a cash crunch brought on by the pandemic is changing the habit.

This story first appeared in World Journal.

Translated by Rong Xiaoqing from Chinese. 

A survey released by the New York Small Landlords (NYSL), an organization comprised of Chinese landlords, found delinquency rates in August hit a five-month low. But 42 percent of landlords said they’d rather keep their properties vacant, a proportion higher than the previous two months. The survey noted that the state’s eviction moratorium, which has been extended to October 1st, as the reason for landlords’ lack of motivation to find tenants.     

The survey interviewed 140 small landlords early this month, and found  the delinquency rate in New York City had declined to 31 percent in August.  Brooklyn’s delinquency rate was 43 percent, the highest among the five boroughs, followed by Staten Island’s 30 percent and Queens’ 27 percent, while across the river in New Jersey, the delinquency rate was 33 percent. 

The survey said the state’s eviction moratorium has put great pressure on the shoulders of landlords, who, even when their tenants stop or delay paying rents, still have to pay mortgages and utilities. Even worse, in a case where the tenants take advantage of the executive order and stop paying rent, the landlords may not be able to afford the legal fees if they’d like to seek legal protection. All of these have prompted many landlords to leave their properties vacant.     

Among the landlords surveyed, 76 percent said their tenants are legal immigrants. Delin He, founder of the NYSL, said that, based on August’s data only, it seems tenants’ immigration status and their rent delinquency rate are correlated. But the smaller number of people paying rents by cash also led to the drop of delinquency rates.  

Many Chinese were used to paying rent by cash. But a cash crunch brought on by the pandemic is changing the habit. He suggested landlords and tenants use transaction apps such as Venmo or online banking to transact rents in order to avoid conflicts and keep a record to protect their own interests. 

The NYSL also announced that former state senator Jesse Hamilton will help its members deal with property taxes and housing law related issues. And Kenneth Chiu, a candidate running for state Assembly in district 25 in Queens, has been named as its senior advisor. The organization called for decision makers to protect not only the rights of the tenants but also the landlords to maintain a balanced and fair rental market. It will host a webinar on the 26th about property taxes and rate delinquency.

2 thoughts on “Survey: Many Chinese Landlords Say They’ll Leave Property Vacant

  1. I am a landlord in queens I was trying to evict prior to covid but because moratorium ended with a tenant pay no rent from Dec to 8/1 when he finally moved out MTA worker not affected money or health wise moved out to new house he bought. In meantime small landlord they destroyed my place. I entered forbearance because unable to pay my mortgage

  2. A big group of New York city landlords mainly Chinese will have a demonstration rally outside City Hall on October 16th at 2PM to 4:30 PM.

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