Background

Since this health and economic crisis began, Dwellsy has been at the center of conversations between renters, small landlords, and corporate property management companies. As a resource for information, processes, and best practices, Dwellsy has been called upon by all sides to support this unprecedented rental crisis. In addition to our regular conversations with renters and landlords, Dwellsy.com surveyed 140 renters across the US to check in on the emotional impact of shelter in place. We wanted to know (and to share with you) how residents were doing in various areas of their life during shelter in place, asking questions about individuals, their families, their roommates, and their pets. In addition to the data points below, we have two infographics that we would like to share with you.

renter SIP coping joy
renter SIP coping stress

Overview

Much focus in the past few months has been placed on the financial impact of COVID19 on the rental market. Questions include: how many renters are still able to pay rent as unemployment filings soar across the country, are landlords offering special accommodations to counteract increases in vacancies, are renters relocating to less dense living situations. In addition to monitoring these developments, Dwellsy wanted to dig into the emotional wellbeing and psychology of renters to better understand how they are coping with shelter in place orders and how this new existence may affect long term decisions around housing, work, and life choices.

Key Quantitative Findings

  • The household design of survey participants was as follows: 35% lived with a partner, 30% with family, 25% alone, 8% with roommates, and 2% in an alternate scenario, 62% percent have pets
  • The room that brings the most joy to most renters (37%) is the living room because it brings people together in the household and is also where renters find solace and escape through movies, T.V. shows, and video games.
  • The space that creates the most stress (33%) is the kitchen due to an increase in home food preparation and the dishes that come along with it.
  • Over 50% of renters miss outings the most, along with another 31% who can’t wait to reconnect with friends and family
  • When reflecting on the best thing about “shelter in place” 
    • 44% appreciate the extra time to read, walk pets, explore new interests, and hang out with those in their household
    • 14% percent love not commuting
    • 14% are enjoying the slower pace of life
    • Remaining 29% have been saving money, noting the environmental benefits and a sense of safety by social distancing

Key Qualitative Findings

We asked renters what had been learned about oneself and those with whom they live. The responses were varied, fascinating, and reveal the profound impact of this pandemic on the human psyche. What was once routine and expected is now being questioned. This spans the topics of work, spending, who we choose to live with.  

Many renters have noted that this disruption in the work setting has revealed that they are able to accomplish everything needed for their jobs in a remote location. Thus begs the question, when there is a return to some semblance of normal, will commuting to work be the best choice for all employees who previously reported to an office.

Renter spending habits have also shifted. As uncertainty remains the only constant at this time, home budgets are being scrutinized and pulled back. The inability to go out to favorite outings has kept dollars in renters’ wallets. This has led to questioning prior spending while evaluating what is necessary versus dispensable.

Another point of reflection on the part of renters has been who they are choosing to live with. Before COVID19, renters spend perhaps a few hours at a time cohabitating with their family or roommates. That time together has skyrocketed and revealed both synergy and dissonance. Some have noted that they will be making big changes to their lives once through the worst of this pandemic.

Notable Commentary From Renters

What is one thing you have learned about yourself during shelter in place?

  • Didn’t realize that I usually get a lot more human touch.
  • That when things get stressful, it’s even more important to practice good self-care.
  • I want a big change – maybe a career change or moving somewhere new.
  • I can save lots of money by not drinking at my local dive bar.
  • How valuable my career really is. I’m fortunate that it is an essential job.
  • I’m not worried about myself as much as I’m worried for those I love.
  • I need my own place when this is over. Hahaha.
  • I’m a lot more patient than I was before.
  • I can have abs if I work out hard enough.
  • I have put off a lot of things I should have done.
  • I am not as much of an introvert as I thought.
  • I’m more resourceful than I thought.
  • I am stronger than I thought. I also have learned I do procrastinate.
  • I take things for granted.

What is one thing you have learned about your partner during shelter in place?

  • He eats 2x more than I do every day, but is still skinny.
  • He gets dark and twisty sometimes. I have to remind him to video chat his closest friends so he doesn’t feel cut off.
  • He makes a lot of chewing noises.
  • He stresses out about a lot of things out of his control.
  • He’s helpful and resourceful and creative.
  • Love him, but can drive me “nuts” being around him all the time.
  • She is a very good cook.
  • She is truly a jewel.
  • We have a good relationship.

What is one thing you have learned about your family during shelter in place?

  • My kids are pretty amazing. They really stepped up and have been super helpful and haven’t complained too much and I think they also might be vampires.
  • They are more religious than they are educated.
  • We’re really good at surviving and keeping it together.
  • My family is very resilient during this debilitating time.

What is one thing you have learned about your roommates during shelter in place?

  • We have different values.
  • Order is needed to function.
  • They keep to themselves.

What is one thing you have learned about your pets during shelter in place?

  • They love to cuddle all day long.
  • Very demanding of my time.
  • She’s depressed.
  • He is happier and better behaved since we’re home all the time.
  • They sleep all day.
  • He is just as lazy as I thought he was.
  • They hate having us home all the time.
  • She is oblivious to the outside world.
  • She’s always here for me.
  • They are silly little monsters.
  • My cat yowls a lot in the morning.

Looking for more COVID19 related renter articles?

Check out this collection.