Tack­ling renters’ unique con­cerns

Los Angeles Times - - Business - Mary Um­berger Um­berger writes for the Chicago Tribune.

Among the ranks of the nation’s renters? Here are a few con­sid­er­a­tions:

You’re a ten­ant. You have a dog or a cat. Those used to be mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive sit­u­a­tions — that is, land­lords were known for ban­ish­ing pets from apart­ments. That be­gan to change a few years ago when land­lords caught on to the re­al­ity that pet own­er­ship is huge in this coun­try: Thirty-nine per­cent of U.S. house­holds own at least one dog, and 33% own at least one cat, ac­cord­ing to the Hu­mane So­ci­ety of the United States.

But find­ing a pet-friendly apart­ment still can take some do­ing. A few web­sites have popped up to help renters lo­cate them. The lat­est is Pet Friendly Rental Prop­er­ties. in­tro­duced by Rhona Sut­ter, a Florid­ian who seemed to hit a pet-own­ing nerve a few years ago when she founded PetReal­tyNet­work.com, which matches an­i­mal lovers with like­minded real es­tate agents.

“We’ve got­ten so many re­quests for [pet-friendly] rentals for peo­ple who have lost their homes through fore­clo­sure,” she said. “It’s heart­break­ing that peo­ple just can’t find homes for their pets and they’re hav­ing to sur­ren­der them to shel­ters.”

The rental site is so new that it has very few list­ings. To jump-start the site, Sut­ter is con­tact­ing real es­tate com­pa­nies to let them know that pet-friendly rental prop­er­ties they rep­re­sent can be listed free, ini­tially any­way, on the site.

Squab­bling with your room­mates over whether each of them has forked over his or her share of the rent on time? Maybe you can ac­quire the ser­vices of a neu­tral book­keeper.

WilliamPaid.com, an on­line rent-pay­ment com­pany, re­cently rolled out a “Group Pay” fea­ture, which al­lows each room­mate to sched­ule pay­ments (by credit card, bank debit or other means), with alerts sent to the other room­mates to let them know who has paid. It sends the col­lec­tive pay­ment on to the land­lord.

8Most peo­ple think of bed­bugs as a ho­tel phe­nom­e­non, but the crit­ters like apart­ments too.

Bed­bu­gReg­istry.com is a data­base of 20,000 lo­ca­tions around the coun­try where peo­ple claim to have sighted bed­bugs. The lists in­clude rental build­ings that you might want to avoid if you’re seek­ing an apart­ment. Note, how­ever, that the site points out it can’t ver­ify whether the re­ports are ac­cu­rate or up to date. It also has a process for dis­put­ing or re­mov­ing ad­dresses from the data­base.

8Maybe you’ll al­ways be a ten­ant. In ad­di­tion to a re­cently re­leased re­port from Tru­lia that one-fourth of renters think they’ll never be home­own­ers, there comes a bit of eco­nomic re­as­sur­ance: Rent­ing is cheaper, at least by one ac­count.

The U.S. Cen­sus Bureau re­cently re­ported that in 2009 home­own­ers paid a me­dian $1,000 a month in hous­ing-re­lated costs, com­pared with $808 for renters. How­ever, the re­port also said that renters usu­ally paid a higher per­cent­age of their house­hold in­comes for hous­ing than own­ers, 31% ver­sus 20%.

This is, of course, part of a dis­pute that never ends.

For in­stance, a re­cent study from the Na­tional Assn. of Real­tors as­serted that home­own­ers are tied to their neigh­bor­hoods and com­mu­ni­ties longer than renters.

But in 1999 the Na­tional Multi Hous­ing Coun­cil, a trade group for land­lords, pub­lished data that con­tended that “com­pared to house own­ers, apart­ment res­i­dents are more so­cially en­gaged, equally in­volved in com­mu­nity groups and sim­i­larly at­tached to their com­mu­ni­ties and re­li­gious in­sti­tu­tions.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.