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Low Turnover and Higher Rental Prices in 2017 Driving Profitable and Attractive Market for Landlords

New TransUnion SmartMove® survey finds landlords are utilizing rental screening solutions to make smarter decisions about prospective renters

As the first quarter of 2017 wound down, property managers indicated it was easier to find qualified renters and that resident turnover had declined compared to the same time last year. A new survey from TransUnion (NYSE:TRU) SmartMove also found that six in 10 landlords said it is more profitable and attractive to be a landlord now than it was five years ago.

TransUnion SmartMove provides tenant screening solutions, such as credit, criminal and eviction reports, leasing recommendations and resident scoring, to millions of independent landlords and small property managers in the U.S., primarily those with a few properties to rent. SmartMove provides consumers with a secure and fast online process that protects sensitive information such as Social Security numbers.

Compared to last year, landlords found it less difficult or about the same to find qualified renters. Only two in 10 (21%) landlords found it more difficult to find qualified renters, but SmartMove data show that more landlords utilized rental screening solutions to evaluate prospective tenants in the past year.

“Our survey shows it is a landlord’s market as the number of rental applications rises even as current renters remain in their units longer. As a result, landlords are using sophisticated tools and screening solutions to help evaluate potential long-term renters with greater certainty. In the last year alone, TransUnion SmartMove has seen a 29% increase in total number of applications.”
Jason Norton, vice president of TransUnion SmartMove

Six in 10 landlords reported that renters are remaining in their units for longer than they were a year ago. To help ensure these residents are good prospects, the majority of landlords (90%) conduct credit checks and criminal background checks on all of their potential renters. Approximately 85% of landlords review eviction reports for all applicants. A previous TransUnion analysis found that prior evictions and rental-related collection records are highly predictive of future evictions.

Landlords who did not conduct tenant screening on their residents said they saw no red flags about the applicant (39%), trusted their gut (36%) or did not know about tenant screening as an option (21%).

“Landlords ranked eviction history as one of the most concerning items on a rental applicant’s history, but not all landlords are using eviction reports,” said Norton. “To make smarter decisions about applicants, landlords should review eviction reports for every renter. In addition, rental fraud is an increasingly prevalent problem in the industry, and landlords should no longer only trust their instincts to select trustworthy and reliable residents.”

Landlords who use tenant screening solutions saw value in the solutions. Nearly all (96%) landlords said tenant screening enabled them to rent to higher quality tenants. “Tenant screening is valuable for both landlords and consumers. During the application process, tenants often hand over sensitive information such as a Social Security number to their new landlord. Using screening solutions such as SmartMove, tenants can feel more comfortable knowing their private information is safe and secure,” added Norton.

To learn more about TransUnion SmartMove and its solutions for landlords, visit

About the Survey

The survey was conducted in March 2017 and included responses from 689 landlords. Respondents included landlords with one property (21%), two to 10 properties (52%) and more than 10 properties (28%) and were dispersed across the U.S.

About TransUnion SmartMove

TransUnion SmartMove is the independent landlord’s tenant screening solution for great reports, great convenience, and great tenants. Landlords receive a TransUnion credit report formatted exclusively for rental screening purposes, a criminal report drawing from hundreds of millions of national and statewide criminal records, a national eviction report, a ResidentScore, and a reliable leasing recommendation. Renters get the peace of mind that only TransUnion has access to their personal identifying information.

About TransUnion

Information is a powerful thing. At TransUnion, we realize that. We are dedicated to finding innovative ways information can be used to help individuals make better and smarter decisions. We help uncover unique stories, trends and insights behind each data point, using historical information as well as alternative data sources. This allows a variety of markets and businesses to better manage risk and consumers to better manage their credit, personal information and identity. Today, TransUnion has a global presence in more than 30 countries and a leading presence in several international markets across North America, Africa, Latin America and Asia. Through the power of information, TransUnion is working to build stronger economies and families and safer communities worldwide.

We call this Information for GoodSM.