An online apartment ratings company today announced the results for a study of the most “renter-friendly” communities in the country.

Raleigh, N.C., topped the list, followed by Ann Arbor, Mich.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Kalamazoo, Mich., according to the ApartmentRatings.com study. The Web site provides an independent forum for renters to share their thoughts about their apartments. More than 8 million renters use the site, which has more than 280,000 unique reviews and covers about 50,000 properties across the nation, ApartmentRatings.com reported.

The study uses satisfaction information from thousands of renters, combined with information from the U.S. Census Bureau about apartment vacancy rates and affordability. ApartmentRatings.com used the information to create a renter’s livability and satisfaction index for 95 U.S. cities.

Jeremy Bencken, founder and president of ApartmentRatings.com, said that renting may be more logical than buying a home in some cases, particularly for people who do not plan to stay for a long time in a community or can’t afford to buy in a highly-desirable neighborhood. Additionally, renting an apartment often fits busy lifestyles, as most communities cover all maintenance, and many offer amenities designed to make a renter’s life less complicated, he noted.

“For many, having a home doesn’t necessarily mean owning a house. It’s great to know that there are extremely livable communities out there that are especially favorable for renters,” he said.

The study found that some larger cities such as New York, San Francisco and Boston ranked near the bottom of the list. Bencken said that one of the reasons that the large metros didn’t fare as well as their mid-size counterparts is that these housing markets are often stable and tight, resulting in more competition among renters for prime properties.

In mid-sized cities, where the supply of housing has grown faster than the population, landlords have to work overtime to attract and retain the best renters, he also said.

The top 25 cities: Raleigh, N.C. (ranked first); Ann Arbor, Mich.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Kalamazoo, Mich.; Athens, Ga.; Lansing, Mich.; Sarasota, Fla.; Charleston, S.C.; Salt Lake City; Killeen, Texas; College Station, Texas; Greensboro, N.C.; Indianapolis; Corpus Christi, Texas; Oklahoma City; Omaha, Neb.; Kansas City, Mo.; Davis, Calif.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Portland, Ore.; Atlanta, Ga.; Greenville, S.C.; Cleveland, Ohio; and Chicago (ranked 25th).

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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