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Survey Data: Rent Payment Trends During COVID-19

In mid-July, we sent a survey to over 19,000 active TurboTenant renter leads to gain insights into how the COVID-19 pandemic affected them, specifically regarding rent payments, the rental process, and moving and home buying trends. We conducted the survey between July 22nd and July 27th. Below we have included key takeaways, as well as an analysis of respondent’s data. 

Key Takeaways:

  • More than 75% of renters surveyed made full rent payments in May, June, and July.
  • Over 15% of renters surveyed said they were not confident or will need help paying rent in August and September.
  • On average, 3% of landlords canceled rent for their tenants in the last four months.
  • Twenty-three percent of renters surveyed said they moved because of the pandemic, job loss, and the desire to be closer to family members were motivating factors.
  • Text messaging is the most common communication method between landlords and tenants, and over 14% reported an increase in communication over the last four months.

Rent Payment Feedback

Our first questions centered around rent payments for April, May, June, and July as well as the respondent’s confidence in their ability to pay rent in August and September. The data is relatively consistent month over month in each category – full payment, no payment, partial payment, payment plan, and rent cancellation. 

Full Payment

Seventy percent of renters reported paying full rent in April, 76% in May, 78% in June, and 80% of renters were able to pay July rent in full. 

No Payment

Twelve percent of renters were unable to pay their rent in April, 11% in May, and 10% in June and July. 

Partial Payment

Six percent of renters reported paying part of their rent in April, 5% in May, 6% in June, and back to 5% for July. 

Payment Plans

Three percent of renters were able to set up payment plans with their landlord for April and May, 4% for June, and back down to 3% for July. 

Rent Cancellation

Between 2-3% of renters reported having their rent canceled by their landlord in April, May, June, and July. 

August and September Payment Confidence

Eighty percent of renters reported they feel confident they will be able to pay August and September rent in full. Nine percent are not very confident they will be able to pay, 7% said they would need assistance to pay their rent, and 4% reported they were not sure how they were going to pay for rent in August and September.

Moving Trends During COVID-19

We asked renters if they recently moved because of the COVID-19 pandemic, here’s the data:

Seventy percent of respondents said they did not move because of the pandemic, 23% said they did move because of the pandemic, 5% know someone who did, and 2% said someone moved in with them. 

Motivations Behind Moving

The majority reported moving because of a lease ending – roughly 36%. The second biggest motivation behind a move was the loss of a job at 23%. Twenty-one percent of renters moved because they wanted to be closer to family, and 7% wanted to move out of a densely populated area. Six percent of respondents were losing housing due to campus or school closures, 5% moved to decrease their risk of infection, and 3% moved due to job relocation.

Type of Housing Desired

We also wanted to understand if the pandemic had influenced the type of housing that renters preferred. Sixty-one percent of renters said COVID-19 did not affect the type of housing they sought. Thirty-one percent reported it did influence their search, and they preferred a single-family home. Six percent reported preferring a 1-4 unit complex, and 2% said they wanted a large multi-unit building. 

Home Buying Trends

Sixty percent of respondents had no plans to purchase a home in the next year. Twenty-two percent reported they were considering purchasing a home before the pandemic, but have subsequently decided to keep renting. Eleven percent are actively trying to buy a home and said the pandemic did not affect those efforts, and 8% said they started to search for a home because of the pandemic. 

Landlord/Tenant Communication During COVID-19

We also asked renters if communication between them and their landlord has increased during the pandemic, and what channels are most often used. Forty-four percent reported communication had not increased, 42% said communication stayed the same, and 14% said communication has increased. 

We also asked what channels landlords use to communicate with their tenants. The most popular channel for communication was via text message, with email and phone trailing about 10 points behind at roughly 45% for each channel. Renters reported their landlords used mail as a communication method 9% of the time and messaging via a landlord software platform. 

We will continue to update this data every month. If you have data requirements that are outside the scope of this article, please email [email protected]. We have a plethora of data and are happy to supply another data set if it is available. Check out all of our COVID-19 landlord resources here

If you are in the process of filling your properties, TurboTenant can help streamline your rental process with easy and free online rental applications as well as thorough tenant screening so you can find the best renter for your property.

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