Apartment Reviews: The Data Behind What Renters Say

When looking to rent an apartment, there’s a lot to consider. And while millennials are buying houses now, approximately 34 percent of Americans are still renting, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council.

Because the reviews people share online can tell a bigger story, Rent.com took a look at apartment reviews to see what trends the data shows and find out what people are saying about apartments around the country. That way, renters can know what to look for and be aware of hot topics in their area.

What’s the word on apartment rentals?

Most apartment reviews fall into one extreme or the other – either very positive or very negative. In the last six months, 72 percent of all online reviews gathered in this data were either a 1 or 5 (on a scale from 1 to 5). And some states skew more positive than others when it comes to reviews.

Nationwide, the average reviews sit right in the middle of the scale at 3.2.

Average score based on states with more than 50 reviews.

Where are apartment reviews more positive?

Based on states with at least 50 reviews, the most positive reviews are for apartments in Idaho, New York and Delaware. These reviewers rate their apartments above 4 stars on average.

In Idaho, the most positive reviews focus on staff. One reviewer notes, “I went to apply at Fairview Crossing and even though I was not approved, the office staff was so wonderful I felt the need to leave this review!!” This highlights the impact friendly, helpful staff can have not just on people living in the complex, but on potential tenants.

In New York, the staff is also mentioned in many positive reviews, but parking is also something noted when reviews are higher (parking is a bit more of an issue since it’s so limited in the city).

Delaware’s positive reviews include a mix of compliments on the staff, management, parking, security and cleanliness, which showcases various components often factor into ratings.

States with more negative reviews

The most negative reviews were found in Washington and Oregon, with average ratings of 2.1 and 2.3 respectively. The negative reviews in Oregon center around the topics of management and maintenance, with one reviewer noting, “The apartment is a wreck and maintenance hasn’t a clue (I call my son to fix whatever needs fixing).”

In Washington, most of the negative reviews involve management and staff. One reviewer voiced frustration because amenities were not open, but also because of the lack of information and communication from staff. “When we first started living here the amenities were being worked on, staff told us it would be available in a couple of months (still closed).”

Things to look for in reviews

Overall, there are certain topics that keep popping up in apartment reviews including staff, parking, management and the apartment itself.

The people working at the apartment complex are the biggest factor in determining whether an apartment reviewer has a positive or negative experience. Staff, manager, management and office are all terms that fall into this category and half of all reviews analyzed mention at least one of these topics.

Parking is another major factor, with 14 percent of reviews mentioning it. Many times, renters struggle with not enough parking in general, guest parking and parking close to their unit.

If a pool is a key feature you’re looking for in an apartment, you won’t find many reviews mentioning one as it’s only noted in 2 percent of reviews. The good news, though, is that a pool is something you can easily check out on your own, whereas something like the responsiveness of the maintenance staff is sometimes harder to gauge before signing a lease.

When searching for a place to rent, you should pay attention to what people say about the staff, management and other amenities. This is a good way to help make sure a specific apartment complex is a fit for you.

Which topics skew positive or negative?

It’s pretty common that reviews are more likely to be negative than positive. This is most likely because unsatisfied people are more likely to complain.

Several topics, including apartment, maintenance, manager, office, parking and rent, all skew negative. Management and parking are the two topics reviewers complain about most, with almost twice as many negative mentions than positive ones.

When apartment reviewers mention the complex, pool or staff, they’re more likely to speak positively of those factors. In fact, when reviews describe staff, there are nearly double the number of positive mentions over negative ones.

The details about the review data

The reviews examined in this report represent data from September 2018 to February 2019. These reviews were given on specific apartments and come from a variety of platforms including ApartmentGuide.com, ApartmentRatings.com, Apartments.com, Facebook, Google and Yelp.

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