Survey Shows Property Managers Are Concerned About Locating Reliable Residents

sUnion survey of more than 870 property managers across the U.S. revealed that half of the respondents are experiencing more difficulty locating qualified renters as compared to last year. Another 81% of respondents are concerned that they will not find reliable residents for the remainder of the year. The survey, which was administered in early June, is being released in conjunction with the National Apartment Association's Education Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas. ‘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,’ says Mike Britti, group vice president of TransUnion's rental screening group. ‘In this dynamic economy, it is important for property managers to look for efficiencies throughout their business processes, while also locating the residents who will be both reliable and profitable.’ While 32% of respondents stated that vacancy rates are higher than the same period last year, 48% viewed them about the same, and 20% have experienced lower vacancy. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the national rental vacancy rate at the end of the first quarter of 2008 was 10.1%. When asked if they were seeing an increase in the number of applicants moving to rental units from foreclosed properties, the tally was almost evenly split, with 51% seeing a year-over-year increase. ‘While one would expect to see a more pronounced increase of applicants coming from foreclosures in this environment, a possible conclusion to draw is that many consumers coming from these circumstances are moving in with family members or friends to share expenses,’ says Britti. The importance of filling vacancies also was highlighted when the survey asked respondents to rank business objectives in the order of importance. Increasing occupancy was noted as the most important objective by 25% of respondents, followed closely by decreasing bad debt/losses, with 24%. Another 18% of respondents said 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," Britti adds. Having access to income and employment information was cited as the most important factor in screening prospective residents by 33% of the respondents, TransUnion says. SOURCE: Tra


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