In mid-March we sent a survey to over 60,000 active TurboTenant landlords, and over 16,000 renters. We have been surveying our landlord and renter base for over a year to gain insights into how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their rental process, and identify trends related to rent payments, mortgage payments, debt and income, communication trends, and tenant screening criteria. This was the ninth survey in our series on COVID-related landlord and tenant topics. We will continue to publish insights and data through 2021on a monthly basis, and will also publish quarterly overviews. We have narrowed down our analysis below to include rent payment trends, renter finances and payment confidence, incentives and discounts, and communication trends. The March survey was conducted between March 12th through the 17th. For an overview of our 2020 data, check out our State of the Rental Industry Report, published in early January.
(You should still read it, but here are some of the most compelling highlights.)
- Only 55-57% of landlords received full rent payments in the first quarter of 2021.
- City or urban communities reported the fewest number of full rent payments in all of quarter one of 2021.
- Landlords with 21+ properties reported the fewest number of full rent payments.
- 65% of renters reported spending 30% or more of their income on rent.
- 43% of renters had to dip into their savings to cover their rent in February.
- The number of renters who paid their rent with a credit card increased over the quarter, with the highest percentage in March at 18%.
Landlord and Renter Demographics
Below we have outlined high-level demographic information for landlord and renter respondents related to location, unit size, and annual household income spent on rent, and awareness of assistance programs.
Key Data Points:
- 59% of landlords own rental property in cities or urban communities, 39% in suburban communities, and 12% in rural communities.
- 44% of landlords have a mortgage on all their properties, 25% have a mortgage on some of their rental properties, and 31% have no mortgage.
- How many units survey respondents own: 1-4 Units – 57%, 5-10 Units – 22%, 11-20 Units – 11%, 21+ Units – 10%.
- 28% of landlords reported that more than 50% of their income is generated from their rental properties.
- 57% of landlords are aware of state or federal rental assistance programs, yet 80% of those landlords did not apply for any. Twelve percent were ineligible, 5% applied and received funds, and 3% and had not been funded yet.
Key Data Points:
- 59% of renters live in cities or urban areas, 25% in suburban, and 16% in rural communities.
- 54% of renters have an annual household income of less than $50,000 while only 17% reported an annual household income over $75,000.
- 80% of renters are employed.
- 65% of renters reported that more than 30% of their household income goes to their rent.
- 55% of renters were not aware of any state or federal rental assistance programs. Of the 45% who were away, only 5% had applied and received funds.
- February reported the most full rent payments, leading the quarter by one or two percentage points over January and March.
- January and March reported the same percentage of zero payments at 9%.
- February reported the most partial payments at 41%.
Rent Payments by Community Type
- In all three communities, city or urban, suburban, and rural, January posted the most full rent payments, with suburban communities leading the charge at 86%.
- In all communities, full payments decreased by double digits in February and March, with city and urban communities reporting the biggest drop at 52% for both February and March.
- City and urban communities reported the most missed payments in January at 11%, February was roughly 8% for all communities, and rural communities posted the most missed payments in March at 14%.
Rent Payments by Units Owned
- Landlords with 1-4 units received the most full payments in February at 66%, and the most missed payments at 14% in January as well.
- Landlords with 5-10 units received the most full payments in March at 55%, and the most missed payments at 3% in January.
- Landlords with 11-20 units received the most full payments in March at 45% and the most missed payments at 1% in January.
- Landlords with 21+ units received 31% of full payments from renters in both February and March. February and March posted the most missed payments at 3%.
- Over 65% of renters reported spending 30% or more of their income on rent in January, February and March.
- Renter payment confidence was at its lowest in January at 81% and its highest at 92% for May 2021.
- 43% of renters reported they had to dip into their savings to cover rent in February. 23% of renters reported that they had to take on debt to pay for rent in February.
- Credit card payments increased over the quarter with March reporting the highest percentage at 18%.
Incentives, Discounts, & Payment Plans
- Landlords offer the most incentives in March, with 35% of them lowering the rent.
- In January landlords set up the most payment plans at 37%, February saw the most permanently reduced rent negotiating at 47%, as well as the most eviction starts at 21%.
- Texting was used most by landlords and renters to communicate with February coming in at 60%.
We will continue to survey renters and landlords and update this data every month. If you have data requirements that are outside the scope of this article, please email [email protected]. We have ongoing data collection 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.