That's according to data from the National Multifamily Housing Council , a trade association for the apartment industry.
During the same period in April 2019, 82% of households paid their rent on time, the report said.
It's additional evidence of how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the US job market, and as a result, Americans' financial health.
While the data is concerning, it should be put into context, said Priscilla Almodovar, CEO of Enterprise Community Partners, a national non-profit developing affordable housing.
Almodovar said there were likely logistical challenges to people paying the rent on time in April.
He also relaxed the requirements for tenants who want to terminate a lease -- dropping a 30-day notification and two-month rent requirement to 15 days and one month's rent.
Clarification: This story was updated to clarify that the data from the National Multifamily Housing Council shows that 31 percent of some US renters didn't pay rent by April 5. »