In recent years, rents decreased as landlords tried to keep existing renters while attracting new ones. But in 2010, rents jumped an average of 4.6% across the country and were projected to increase 5% in 2011. Demand for rentals has spiked largely because so many Americans have lost their homes or are putting off buying a home. With only so many rental units available, landlords steadily raised rents over the last year. But there is some relief in sight: Rents are projected to go down over the next several years as new apartment buildings become available and as more Americans (hopefully) start buying homes again. But for now, it pays to be a landlord.