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More consumers forced to rent due to foreclosure: TransUnion

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The ranks of apartment dwellers have grown as homebuyers lose homes to foreclosure, according to property managers. TransUnion surveyed more than 1,100 property managers across the country in early June to identify trends in the rental space. The credit reporting agency polled about 1,000 small property managers with 200 units or less and 167 large property managers with more than 200 units. According to the survey, 47% of all property managers reported an increase in rental applicants moving into apartments from foreclosed properties. Sequentially, more than two-third of managers said it is not difficult to find residents in today's economy even with increases in rent. "Finding reliable tenants at an optimal price point is paramount for this industry," said Mike Mauseth, vice president in TransUnion's rental screening business unit. "Both segments saw success with rental increases last year." About 64% of large property managers said rental prices on their units increased from last year, as did 36% of small property managers. Still, 57% of large property managers have no difficulty finding applicants, alongside 69% of small property managers. Finding qualified renters, however, is another issue. When asked to compare conditions to a year ago, 27% of managers with more than 200 properties said it was more difficult to find qualified renters, while only 18% of small property managers held this same opinion. "A reliable tenant ensures property managers are both solvent and profitable," commented Mauseth. "Conversely an unreliable tenant can cost property managers thousands of dollars in lost rent and property damages." Some 87% of managers reportedly run credit checks on prospective tenants and 76% of managers run a criminal background check, according to TransUnion. More than 89% of all survey respondents had vacancy rates of 10% or less. Write to Christine Ricciardi.

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