New Study Shows Renters Seek Cost Reduction Options

Assurant is providing a snapshot of how renters’ priorities are changing due to the COVID-19 pandemic in a new study released in mid-June.

Over one-third, 38%, of renters said they will need rent relief help over the next 90 days, and 42% said they are unsure about their rental stability moving forward, according to the “COVID-19 MultiFamily Housing Renters Perspective Study” from the global provider of lifestyle and housing solutions that support and protect major consumer purchases. Two-thirds of respondents who had been planning to buy a home also have delayed or will delay their home purchases until after the pandemic subsides. Assurant conducted the study of 862 individuals between April 28 and May 4.

Work-from-home conditions is top of mind for the respondents, with renters having an increased desire for outdoor space and lower-density rental communities at 70% and 71%, respectively. In addition, 68% of respondents said larger living spaces also is a priority.

When looking for a new apartment, respondents also reported that a more affordable rental ranked No. 1 in importance during their search, followed by lower move-in costs. Almost two-thirds of respondents, 60%, also said they would consider virtual walk-throughs, interviews, and contracting without seeing a property in person.

“This study demonstrates not only the far-reaching and financial impacts of the pandemic but how and what renters will look for in their next home,” said Ryan Lumsden, president of multifamily housing at Assurant. “Interestingly, for many renters, the experience of working from home has broadened their desire for more room, access to the outdoors, and, of course, lower costs.”

On their current rental communities, the majority of renters reported positive feedback on the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic by their property management companies and landlords, saying 71% had implemented action plans to actively help renters navigate safety and financial issues. Also, 62% of renters said they feel their property management firm or landlord has done a good job providing the correct amount of communication.

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