Property Managers are Concerned about Locating Reliable Residents for the Remainder of 2009, Survey Finds

Las Vegas—Property managers across the United States are experiencing difficulty locating qualified renters, according to a TransUnion survey of more than 870 property managers. The survey results were released today at the National Apartment Association’s Education Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas.Of those surveyed, 81 percent are concerned that they will not find reliable residents for the remainder of the year. This is of particular concern, since 32 percent of respondents stated that vacancy rates are higher than the same period last year, 48 percent viewed it about the same and 20 percent have experienced lower vacancies. “Our survey confirms that the recession has placed added pressure on property managers and that they will continue to face economic stress through at least the end of 2009,” said Mike Britti, group vice president of TransUnion’s rental screening group. When asked if they were seeing an increase in the number of applicants moving to rental units from foreclosed properties, 51 percent of respondents said they are seeing a year-over-year increase. The survey also asked respondents to rank business objectives in the order of importance. Increasing occupancy was the most important objective for 25 percent of respondents, followed by 24 percent of respondents saying decreasing bad debt/losses and 18 percent saying compliance with Fair Housing and Fair Credit laws was their primary objective.   “Though the survey reveals increased vacancy numbers in 2009, in a sign that the economy could potentially be changing for the better, 36 percent of respondents said they expected fewer vacancies at the same time next year with only 10 percent expecting more vacancies,” noted Britti. In terms of important factors in screening prospective residents, 33 percent of respondents said having access to income and employment information was the most important factor. Approximately 28 percent of said criminal/background checks were the most important consideration, and 22 percent said looking at credit history. Rental history, at 10 percent, and personal references, at 8 percent, were also noted. The survey results also showed that 87 percent of respondents said that identity theft prevention was important to their business.   “While 95 percent of respondents check credit reports, this statistic was followed by evictions at 72 percent and criminal statewide database searches with 61 percent,” said Britti. “Property managers want to find renters who are not only financially responsible, but who also do not have past evictions or even criminal backgrounds.”