Millions of people lost their jobs and fell behind on rent due to the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Federal Reserve estimates that, as of late 2021, renters owed $9.3 to $10.9 billion in total back rent.
This report discusses common problems faced by consumers experiencing debt collection for alleged rental debts as reported to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) via consumer complaints. It concludes with suggested actions that the CFPB, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), state attorneys general, and state legislatures can take to assist consumers with alleged rental debts.
NCLC has also issued recommendations on rental debt, tenant screening, and rental housing junk fees in other reports and letters to federal agencies.
- Policy Brief: Assisting Consumers with Rental Debt During COVID-19: Legal Aid and Non-Profit Attorneys Share Their Experiences, Dec. 14, 2021
- Letter Urging CFPB to Protect Consumers with Rental Debt and Accompanying NCLC Rental Debt Survey, Dec. 14, 2021
- Issue Brief: Salt in the Wound: How Eviction Records and Back Rent Haunt Tenant Screening Reports and Credit Scores, August 2020
- Letter from 143 Organizations Urging CFPB to Prohibit Debt Collectors from Reporting Rent Arrears to Credit Bureaus for Debt Accrued During COVID-19 Pandemic, May 6, 2021
- NCLC & NHLP Comments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau re: Fees Imposed by Providers of Consumer Financial Products or Services, Apr. 11, 2022
- Group Letter to HUD re: Removing Credit Reports and Credit Scores as a Barrier to Public and Subsidized Housing, Nov. 3, 2021