As Rental Demand Increases — What Do Renters Really Want?

You may have heard that there is a housing shortage in many areas all around the country. What we are seeing according to studies conducted about markets in need of housing, is that multifamily housing is outpacing new construction. According to the same studies, about 90% of new construction multi-family units are rentals.

While new rentals are being built to keep up with housing demands, it is predicted that rent prices have begun to steady and have renters looking for newer homes with more of the amenities and characteristics they desire. Today’s tenants are looking beyond nice landscaping and large rooms. They are looking for amenities and hope to find rentals with a large number of the key features that are important to them. What exactly are tenants looking for in rental homes right now?

Understanding Today’s Tenants

A good way to know what do renters really want is to understand the general demographic of renters in your area. For example, a large number of renters today are in the Millennial age range. Millennials grew up in the birth of the internet and are used to technology rapidly evolving and making our lives easier. They are attracted to the conveniences of advanced technology and look for opportunities to make busy lifestyles easier.

There is no doubt millennials are changing real estate markets across the country. The more walk-able a rental’s location the more attractive it is to this generation of renters. They are hoping to find rentals within steps of grocery stores, work, transportation services to get them to work, coffee shops, nightlife, etc.

Another large number of renters fall into the Boomer, 55+ active adult, and retiree category. This group of renters is looking to move to a more urban lifestyle where they can have entertainment, work, and home all located within the same neighborhood.

Other smaller groups of renters are looking for more amenities that appeal to them. High net worth income renters are looking for luxury accommodations that offer high-end luxury as the norm, not the extra. Students currently in college have seen an increase in housing offerings and competition among those offerings resulting in more amenities. Now tenants are expecting more in lifestyle amenities than just a few years ago.

Popular Multifamily Rental Trends Attracting Tenants

Some of these amenities are becoming standard in new multifamily rental properties and some of these are seen popping up more and more in developments where property owners are seeking to set themselves apart and attract ideal tenants. What renters really want is based on personal preferences but you can bet the items below will be considerations as they look to rent the right property.

Related: Tips for renegotiating rent during COVID-19.

Luxurious Community Common Areas and Unique Activities

Gyms and workout rooms are still in high demand, but tenants are looking for extras beyond the room full of exercise equipment. Some spaces that have gained popularity and created high demand include cafes, community gardens, wine tasting rooms, theater rooms, apartment bars, pool halls, office and tech-minded workspaces, etc.

Convenient and Secure On-Site Package Delivery Systems

The average person is receiving more packages through the mail both as a result of online shopping and conducting business at/from home. In fact, more than one-fourth of today’s workforce works from home and an even larger number telecommute (work from home) at least one day a week or more. Mailing important documents that require extra security measures and shipping packages typically require running an errand to a mailing center.

An appealing amenity, especially to anyone who does any amount of work at home, is to be able to receive and sign for packages by walking a few steps to an on-site mail center. Some facilities offer real-time delivery alerts through smartphones to tell residents right when their package has arrived. This makes it all the more convenient for people to continue to work from home.

A Variety of Transportation Services

An increasing number of renters do not own their own personal motor vehicle. Many people have let go of cars to save money and maybe be kinder to the environment and have opted to walk, bike, or use public transportation to get around. Some rental developments have begun to include bike storage areas and even bike repair shops on property.

Some have provided special space for ride-share drop-off and pick up sites. All of these help accommodate larger numbers of car-less tenants. The easier it is to get around, the more interested potential renters will be.

woman standing on pavement

On the other end of the transportation spectrum, having nearby moving truck rental services or storage facilities can be key factors in considering whether to rent in a certain area. Is there convenience in being able to store or unpack items quickly? You bet there is, especially when space is a premium or you only need something seasonally. It is also incredibly useful to have the ability to transport large items or bulk shipments to and from a rental property.

Advanced Tech-Based Security Systems

Burglaries have been on the rise in the last few years, especially mail and package theft. Living in a multi-family rental increases traffic of people coming and going and puts residents at heightened concern for their homes. Buildings with included security measures appeal to tenants, especially when the security system is an advanced technology one.

Some systems just blare loud alarms which will hopefully scare intruders away, but high tech systems can send alerts to your phone so that you are aware something is happening right when it does.

Customized Smart Technology

Smart systems are becoming the new standard in larger rental buildings. Some of these standard features include HVAC systems, and universal high-speed WiFi. Added smart technology perks that appeal to tech-savvy and energy-savvy renters include being able to control the smart technology to preferred levels within each unit. Tenants prefer to have control over light, heat, and sound in their homes.

Eco-Friendly Features

Significant savings in monthly bills can occur when energy and eco-friendly features are installed. These savings are being shared with tenants in new rental properties and it is drawing tenants to seek out buildings that offer these cost-saving and planet-saving features.

gray fabric loveseat near brown wooden table

For example, solar panels that source energy to charging stations on-site can recycle the energy and be sold back to the grid for a tax credit that can be shared with tenants that make use of these systems.

Amenities that Promote Healthy Living

Again facilities like weight and cardio rooms (gyms) are highly favored by tenants, but tenants looking for the latest and best amenities are seeking out buildings that offer even more health and fitness amenities. Newer rentals are offering health amenities like massage rooms, heated therapy pools, on-site classes, etc. Some luxury rentals are offering artificial lagoons where residents can feel like they are getting out into the great outdoors with the ability to fish, paddleboard, swim, and more.

Final Renter Advice

Answering the question “What do renters really want?” ultimately depends on the goals and aspirations of those looking for a rental property. You might be looking to increase traffic to your multifamily website in hopes of finding more renters, but knowing what they actually want is the key! Those triggers are different for each person too. As renters contemplate their next steps, it is important to keep in mind the key important things you must have (or want) when looking at rental properties.

If the price is your big rock item, stay within budget. If amenities, location, or some other factor rises to the top of your list, be diligent and patient as you look for those features. Lastly, be flexible enough to adapt if you can’t find exactly what you want or if you have to make trade-offs to get the right property. If you keep the rental tips above in mind, the rental process should be relatively smooth.