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Research, Rent

COVID-19's Impact on Rent and Lease Traffic: Research Analysis

May 21, 2020

bigstock-Contemporary-Residential-Build-315789790 (1)One thing we’ve learned — COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate. 


This is especially true in our industry.  


The coronavirus pandemic has taken an equal toll on both property management companies and residents, specifically with rent payments, new leases and website traffic


Curious to see rent payment predictions for May and the months to come? Want to know the current trends for new leases? Ready for helpful resources on retaining renters and winning new leases during the pandemic?


Let’s dive in...


Rent Payments During COVID-19


Regular monthly rent payments are what provides property management companies with the necessary income to stay in operation and what keeps renters happily in their homes. When residents struggle to pay rent, everyone hurts. 


With the pandemic raging on, concerns about May rent payment — along with future months — among property management companies is evident. To help ease your concerns and know what to expect from your residents, we’ve compiled some helpful research: 


Rent Payment Tracker




These stats highlight how residents are stepping up and placing a high priority on making rent — despite the fact that over 20 million people lost their jobs in April. 


Another fact this data reveals is that residents need extra time to pay rent. According to the majority of property policies, rent is usually due by the first of each month. In this climate, that is not feasible for many residents who may have lost a source of income, experienced a change in income, or are waiting on unemployment checks from the government. 


Based on this data, we suggest that you practice leniency with the due date of rent. It is clear that residents can make rent during this pandemic, they just need more time than usual. 


J Turner Research Rent Estimate


In addition to NMHC’s rent payment tracker, J Turner Research conducted a survey of 2,000 residents to gain insight into the status of future payments straight from the people who will be making the payments. 


Here are the most important takeaways from the survey for property management companies: 


  • Rental payments were placed at a higher priority over car payments, utilities, and even groceries
  • 47% of residents that indicated they were laid off said they would be able to make May rent
  • Regarding house rentals, 70% of renters stated they would be able to pay their rent on time for May


This data continues to support the clear truth that rent is still being paid even during this time of crisis and residents are committed to the leases they sign. 


For a great summary of the J Turner Research findings as well as additional COVID-19 resources for the multifamily industry, visit this resources page.  


Leasing Traffic During COVID-19


Along with making sure your residents are able to continue paying rent, we know your next concern as the pandemic continues is keeping up lease traffic to your property. 


Current Lease Trends


While every city is different, with New York having one of the highest volume of renters, it’s a great spot to look at for trends  — both positive and negative. 



This highlights a fact you probably already assumed — a good portion of residents aren’t moving right now. 


While that means you can expect a decrease in your lease traffic, it also means that your own current residents are more likely to continue renting with your property over the coming months. 


For a helpful resource on increasing the value of renting with your property even while community amenities are closed during COVID-19, visit here


COVID-19’s impact on the economy, especially healthcare, will create a high renewal demand over the coming months. In times of uncertainty, such as now, renters display a root behavior and stay at their current property. 


This makes sense — as humans, we can only handle so much change and residents are trying to minimize the “unknown” as much as possible. 


This is backed by renewal demand research completed by RealPage that showed a significant spike in rescinded non-renewal notices.

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You can maximize that knowledge of current resident behavior by continuing to invest in your current residents.


Increasing Lease Traffic During COVID-19. 


All of that being said, the people who are renters today will still be renters tomorrow and eventually leases will end and a portion of renters will move. 


To prepare your property for searching renters, we encourage you to turn your efforts to your website and the virtual tour options that your property offers. 


Related: Easy Adjustments to Make to Your Website to Increase Lead Traffic and Enhance Online Engagement


While there might be fewer prospective residents visiting your website than normal — around 20% less — you can still attract those who do. 


Nowadays, leasing sight unseen has become the new normal for multifamily properties. This means comprehensive virtual unit tours, personal property walk-throughs via video chat, and a clear online rental process.


The quicker you can nail these things down as a concrete part of your property, the quicker you can maximize your lease traffic. 


For a walkthrough of all the steps you need to take to lease a sight unseen, visit our blog here


Staying Positive During COVID-19


While there’s absolutely nothing you can do about COVID-19, there is a lot your property can do to help residents pay rent, keep current leases, and engage any lease traffic you receive. 


We encourage you to stay positive!


For a little help in that department, feel free to visit our blog for weekly spotlights covering acts of kindness in our industry or sign up for our weekly emails


It’s all about doing whatever we can to continue standing strong. 


Increase Your Leases In 2020