What have apartment renters looked for during the pandemic? A new survey suggests that an affordable place to live tops the list of must-haves for renters struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Assurant, a New York City-based global provider of lifestyle and housing solutions, on April 14 released the findings from its Multifamily Housing Renter Perspective Study. The study showed that renters put a priority on affordability during COVID-19, with 40 percent of respondents who relocated during the pandemic saying that they moved to find a more affordable place to live.
And 34 percent of respondents said they moved into new units as a roommate to find a more affordable living situation.
Ryan Lumsden, president of Assurant, told Midwest Real Estate News that these survey results aren’t surprising. As he says, the pandemic has hit the finances of many renters especially hard.
Lumsden pointed to another survey result as proof of this: According to Assurant, 46 percent of survey participants needed rent relief in 2020. An additional 24 percent told Assurant that they anticipate needing more financial assistance to help meet their housing needs within the next 90 days.
“While this number has substantially decreased for 2021, this can be attributed to the high number who have already received rent relief due to the pandemic and the fact that many have already altered their living arrangements,” Lumsden said.
The Assurant study found that multifamily property managers have continued to focus on health, safety and communications in recent months. The challenge? The survey also found that there are decreased financial support options for renters.
This financial struggle is represented in the survey results. The survey found that 71 percent of respondents believe that it is important that landlords offer a surety bond option as an alternative to a security deposit during the rental process.
Assurant found, too, that 78 percent of respondents said that they would remain in their current rental if they had the opportunity to renew their lease for a shorter period of time without seeing their monthly rent payment increase.
Outside of financial concerns, survey respondents were also interested in gaining more living space. A total of 73 percent of respondents said that their most important apartment feature in 2021 is a larger living space. This is a jump of 5 percent from the 2020 survey.
“The one trend that we did not foresee beforehand was the need for a larger living space,” Lumsden said. “Since all indications are that many more people will continue to work virtually, at least part time, post-pandemic we think this will remain an important feature.”