A new survey shows that payment history is more important to apartment managers than credit score

2012-12-08T00:00:00Z A new survey shows that payment history is more important to apartment managers than credit scoreNicky Nicholson-Klingerman CTW Features nwitimes.com
December 08, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Ever wondered what apartment managers desired in a renter, besides having no loud parties and paying rent on time?

According to a recent survey by rental website Rent.com, the most important factor in choosing a renter is the gross income to rent ratio, which was rated “important” or “very important” by 74 percent of property managers. The survey was conducted among the site’s property customers, representing about 2 million rental units.

Forty-six percent of respondents say that a renter’s gross income must be at least three times the monthly rental rate, though 30 percent say that 2.5 times is enough.

More surprisingly, 60 percent reported that a high credit score is not important. Instead, managers pay attention to payment history rather than the score itself. “We look at their job history, their rental history and their criminal background,” Vanessa Norton says, a property manager at Belmont Place apartments in Marietta, Ga.

On the other side of the coin, managers are uniquely positioned to understand what renters care about most. In the survey, 45.1 percent of respondents say allowing pets is important, while 47.5 percent say that a washer and dryer are important to renters.

According to Theron Patrick, a data analyst for ALN Apartment Data, rental prices started increasing two years ago. As vacancy rates go down, managers feel secure enough to raise prices. “It’s a landlord market. The landlords are not so afraid that people will leave if they raise the rent,” Patrick says.

Two years ago, the driving force behind vacancies was job loss. Since then, there has been 30 percent decrease in property managers citing unemployment as the reason for vacancies. This is the first time in four years that less than 50 percent of managers felt that job loss affected increasing vacancies. In fact, relocation seems to be the emerging reason for vacancies, according to Rent.com.

Lastly, 62.6 percent of property managers predict that rent will go up in the next 12 months. In fact, 72.3 of managers plan to raise prices, though Patrick says that the rent increases will not be as much as in 2010.

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