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With state economies starting to slowly reopen, apartment industry experts are fixated on how the end of the supplemental $600 a week in unemployment benefits will affect the future of rent payments. According to Forbes contributor Dima Williams, the extra income—established through the CARES Act in March—has allowed renters to stay afloat during the pandemic, but the additional money is set to expire at the end of July, posing a threat to rent payments for August and beyond.

“The enhanced unemployment benefits are very important to people, especially those that are in lower paying jobs,” says Bob Pinnegar, president and CEO of the National Apartment Association. “They're really helping them to make ends meet and to be able to put food on the table, to pay their utilities and to pay their rent. The challenge is going to be going forward.”

Willy Walker, chairman and CEO of commercial real estate finance company Walker & Dunlop, echoes Pinnegar’s assertion, saying that the extra $600 in unemployment payments is “an incredibly important policy measure.”

Walker says, “If the economy is not back up and adding jobs at a pretty significant pace by July, then the $600-a-week supplemental payment from the federal government must stay in place beyond July.”

Thus far, the House of Representatives has approved a $3 trillion stimulus package – the so called HEROES Act – that extends the $600-a-week supplement until next year. Senate Republicans, however, have vowed not to pass the HEROES Act, at least not in its current form, which some have dubbed a Democratic wish list.

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