Discussion paper

DP15102 Agreements Must Be Kept? Residential Leases during Covid-19

This paper studies how a Covid-19 lockdown affected residential lease payments. Survey data on 1511 Israeli renter households show nearly one in eight households not paying full rent during the lockdown, with these households holding back, on average, a third of their contractually due rent. Financially fragile households with greater income cuts, and households with leases lacking provisions that effectively provide for damages upon non-payment pay a lower share of contract rent. So do households with more frequent encounters with their landlord, or longer tenure in the apartment. Bargaining and relational contracts theories help explain these results.


Genesove, D, E Hoffmann and Y Elster (2020), ‘DP15102 Agreements Must Be Kept? Residential Leases during Covid-19‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 15102. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp15102