Low Turnover, Higher Rental Prices Lead to Attractive Apartment Market for Landlords

by Kristin Harlow

CHICAGO — Six in 10 apartment landlords say it is more profitable and attractive to be a landlord than it was five years ago, according to a new survey from TransUnion SmartMove, a tenant screening service for owners. The survey was conducted in March 2017 and included responses from 689 landlords across the country.

At the close of the first quarter of 2017, property owners indicated it was easier to find qualified renters and that resident turnover had declined compared with the same time last year.

Only 21 percent of respondents found it more difficult to find qualified renters. Data also shows that landlords utilized rent screening solutions to evaluate prospective tenants during the past year.

“Our survey clearly shows it is a landlord’s market as the number of renters rises and these renters are remaining in units longer,” says Jason Norton, vice president of TransUnion SmartMove. “As a result, landlords are using sophisticated tools and screening solutions to evaluate potential long-term renters with greater certainty.”

Six in 10 landlords reported that renters are remaining in their units for longer than they were a year ago. To ensure these residents are good prospects, the majority of owners (90 percent) conduct credit checks and criminal background checks on all of their potential renters. Approximately 85 percent review eviction reports for all applicants.

Norton says that all landlords should review eviction reports for every renter, and that rental fraud is an increasingly prevalent problem in the industry.

Nearly all owners (96 percent) who use tenant screening indicated the process enabled them to rent to higher-quality tenants.

Participants in the survey included landlords with one property (21 percent), two to 10 properties (52 percent) and more than 10 properties (28 percent).

Click here for an infographic with findings from the survey.

— Kristin Hiller

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