CoronavirusMultifamilyReal Estate

Assurant survey: 38% of renters will need relief in the next 90 days

And a cheaper rent payment is the No. 1 priority as tenants look to move

Renters continue to feel the economic effects of the COIVD-19 pandemic and resulting job losses. Thirty-eight percent of renters in Assurant‘s MultiFamily Housing Renters Perspective Study said that they will need rent relief help during the next 90 days, and 42% said they are unsure about their rental stability going forward.

It looks like many rental owners and operators have taken proactive measures to help renters, as 71% of the renters surveyed said their property managers or landlords helped tenants navigate the safety and financial issues they may be facing during the pandemic. Not surprisingly, then, 62% of renters felt that their property management company or landlord is doing a good job of keeping them informed with the correct amount of communication.

“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 outdoor space and of course, lower costs.”

Despite some saying summertime is home-buying season for 2020, 66% of renters who were planning to buy a home have delayed or will delay their home purchase until after the pandemic subsides.

However, that doesn’t mean renters are happy with their current living spaces. A recent survey from SatisFacts found that 35.9% of surveyed renters with leases expiring in the next six months said they are not likely to renew their lease.

According to the Assurant survey, apartment dwellers say they won’t be renewing their leases because they want more outdoor space (70%) and want to live in lower-density rental communities (71%). Considering that working-from-home is a more popular office alternative these days, 68% of renters said they will seek out larger living spaces.

As open houses and real estate practices pick back up again, 60% of renters said they would still consider doing a virtual walkthrough, interview and contracting without seeing the property in person.

The issue of rental assistance is being taken up in Congress today, with the National Association of Realtors urging the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development and Insurance to take action on emergency rental assistance, both for renters and the owners of their housing.

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