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Higher rents don't faze tenants

By Real Estate Economy Watch

A new TransUnion survey found that nearly half of respondents (48 percent) said rental prices on the majority of their units had increased since this same time last year. Approximately 44 percent said rental prices remained the same. In the 2011 TransUnion rental survey, only 39 percent reported an increase while 48 percent said prices remained the same.

“Data throughout the last year has pointed to a healthier rental market, and our survey helps validate the current strength of the rental industry,” said Steve Roe, vice president, TransUnion Rental Screening Solutions. “The rise in rental prices, coupled with a decrease in vacancy rates and the ability to attract new residents with less effort are all positive signs for the market and rental property managers.”

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Despite increasing rental prices, more property managers are finding it easier to locate prospective residents. Nearly 73 percent of respondents said it is not difficult to find residents compared to 67 percent last year.

Even with a healthier rental market, property managers continue to be concerned with attracting profitable and reliable residents for the remainder of the year. Nearly 60 percent of respondents said they are concerned or very concerned to find such tenants. “Though this number is down from 65 percent in last year’s survey, it does point to the continued unease about the economy and a lingering question about the ability of tenants to make timely rental payments,” added Roe.

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Property managers also may be cautious because more than half of survey respondents (53 percent) said they have had a renter “skip out” leaving the unit with unpaid rent or damages. Approximately 18 percent of those surveyed said a tenant has skipped out in the last year.

“Finding reliable tenants is critical as property managers can lose thousands of dollars in rent if a tenant skips out of a rental unit, or if the property manager must take action to evict someone from a unit,” said Roe.

“Nearly 50% of small property managers said they’ve had someone skip out of their rental unit. Many of these people only rent out a few units, thus it’s especially important for them to do all they can to identify reliable tenants.”

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