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Illinois is second in nation for small business owners unable to pay August rent

By KEVIN BESSLER
The Center Square

A new survey shows a record high rent delinquency rate in August among small business owners, especially in Illinois.

Alignable, a small business referral network, asked 7,331 small businesses around the country and 40 percent indicated that they couldn’t pay their rent in August on time or in full, the highest rate in 18 months.

Head of research Chuck Casto says Illinois’ number is even higher at 53 percent.

“Looks like Illinois is second only to Colorado in terms of rent delinquency among small businesses, and sadly it went up 13 percent,” Casto said.

Many taking the survey blamed their rent issues on a combination of negative trends in the economy, including rent spikes, high gas prices and the increasing cost of supplies and labor.

Forty-five percent of poll takers said their rent is at least 50% higher today than it was prior to the pandemic, with a quarter saying it is at least twice as high. About 12 percent said their rent has tripled.

Rent issues are even worse for minority-owned businesses, as 53 percent of their owners said they couldn’t afford August rent, up 4 percent from July.

Casto said that in many cases, if a business can’t pay its rent, it may have to fold up shop.

“This has been happening for about two years now, maybe more than two years, so a lot of the landlords are less lenient,” he said.

Most industries saw an increase in rent delinquency rates, with agriculture (50 percent), nonprofits (46 percent) and restaurants (46 percent) leading the way.

Staff Reporter Kevin Bessler reports on statewide issues in Illinois for The Center Square. He has over 30 years of experience in radio news reporting throughout the Midwest.

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