Report From Entrata Reveals How COVID-19 Has Affected the Renter Community Across the U.S.
October 22 2020
Renters report inability to pay full rent, losing jobs, moving in with family and more
LEHI, UTAH, October 22, 2020 - Entrata, a leading technology provider for the property management industry, today announced a new study, which reveals that 59 percent of renters used the full or partial amount of their stimulus check to help pay rent during the lockdown. The survey gives a unique view into the rental market, relations between renters and leasing offices and how the pandemic is shaping renters’ short-term plans.
“COVID-19 has affected people all over the world, and U.S. renters are no exception,” said Chase Harrington, president and chief operating officer. “Our study shows that renters struggled to pay their full rent during the lockdown period, but in many cases, residents and management were able to come together to find a compromise and help ensure people were able to keep a roof over their heads. This pandemic will have lasting effects on the rental market as renters look for flexibility and new ways to pay rent and interact with landlords and managers.”
Key findings from the survey include:
As with people all over the world, renters had to make spending and financial changes to their lifestyle due to the pandemic.
• Over 78 percent of renters made significant cuts to their regular spending during COVID-19.
• On average, 22 percent of renters requested a postponement or cancellation of rent due to COVID-19 in the last six months, with 17 percent unable to pay rent due to COVID-19.
Surprisingly, even before the pandemic, many renters didn’t have much in the way of savings, with:
• Nearly 20 percent of renters saying they did not have any savings.
• Over 39 percent of renters saying they had less than $1,000 in savings.
Due to COVID-19, one in four (25 percent) renters said that over half of their pre-pandemic savings has been spent.
More than a quarter of renters (29 percent) have paid their rent with a credit card during COVID-19, including 50 percent of Gen X renters and 28 percent of Millenials, highlighting the popularity and demand for varied payment options. Out of those who have paid their rent using a credit card during COVID-19, 52 percent say that they always pay their rent with a credit card. Thirty-two percent say they could pay with cash, but their community is absorbing the fees normally associated with credit card rent payments and 12 percent say they have no other way to pay their rent.
Residents and Apartment Management
As a result of the pandemic, additional stress has been placed on both renters and operators as they look for innovative ways to approach payment solutions.
• Nearly 58 percent of American renters wish management would forgive or defer rent due to COVID-19.
• Some apartment communities were willing to be flexible, with 37 percent of renters saying management waived late fees during COVID-19.
• Over 66 percent of renters whose management waived late fees took advantage of the opportunity to pay rent later in the month.
The Pandemic is Shaping Renters’ Plans
The survey found that COVID-19 had a significant impact on nearly half (42 percent) of renters’ short-term housing plans.
Many were forced to make changes they weren’t expecting because of the pandemic, including:
• Renew a current lease instead of buying a home (16 percent)
• Move to a cheaper apartment (13 percent)
• Move in with relatives/friends (7 percent)
Interestingly, 20 percent of those renters who are married or in a domestic partnership moved to a cheaper apartment because of COVID-19, compared to just 8 percent of single renters.
ABOUT THE RESEARCH
Entrata conducted this research using an online survey prepared by Method Research and distributed by Qualtrics among 1037 adult renters in the United States. Data was collected from August 11 to September 3, 2020.
Founded in 2003, Entrata® is the only comprehensive property management software provider with a single-login, open-access Platform as a Service (PaaS) system. Offering a wide variety of online tools including websites, mobile apps, payments, lease signing, accounting, and resident management, Entrata® PaaS currently serves more than 20,000 apartment communities nationwide. Entrata’s open API and superior selection of third-party integrations offer management companies the freedom to choose the technology and software that best fit their needs. For more information, go to www.entrata.com.