Gen Z tenants

Appealing to Gen Z tenants

Consumer preferences and must-have amenities for the new renting generation
Thursday, October 26, 2023
by John Tweedie

The rental market in Canada has undergone significant changes in recent years, with long-term renting now seen as a viable alternative to homeownership, particularly among Gen Z tenants. Successful, modern rental properties offer similar amenities to condos, without the costs and stresses associated with traditional homeownership. In fact, data shows that both millennial and Gen Z tenants are more likely to rent permanently rather than choose to invest in a home.

Considering the evolving perspective on rental properties, how can property managers today keep their rentals at the forefront in the coming decades? And what changes can be expected in consumer preferences as we move into 2024 and beyond? Ultimately, it all comes down to understanding market dynamics and keeping up with changing technology.

Smart tech must-haves

Just like almost every industry today, the apartment sector is heavily influenced by technology. According to a recent survey from Rent Research, 82 per cent of renters said they want at least one smart device or system in their homes—a number that’s expected to increase as more Gen Z tenants enter the market. To meet this growing expectation, here are a few technology trends to track and integrate in the near-term:

  1. Keyless entry systems: Keys and key fobs are quickly becoming a technology of the past. Expect mobile phone, passcode-based, and facial recognition entry systems to become more widespread in the coming years.
  2. Smart locks: Many homeowners are buying smart locks and retrofitting them to their homes, so it stands to reason that apartment buildings will soon want to offer this technology as a security staple, too.
  3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) integration: AI isn’t just a fad; it has many ramifications for the future of business. AI is making countless processes quicker and less draining on resources. Potential uses include tenant reliability studies, improved leasing and management processes, and predictive building maintenance and cleaning algorithms. As AI technology evolves, so will its uses for property managers.
  4. EV chargers: The government of Canada’s EV Mandate requires all new passenger vehicles sold in Canada after 2035 to be electric zero-emission vehicles. This means offering EV charging stations will soon be a must. Getting ahead of the curve and becoming known for EV charging early is an excellent way to stand out with Gen Z tenants before the mandate comes into effect.

Modern amenities

Renter preferences in terms of amenities differ from tenant to tenant, but one thing data supports is that rental properties with modern amenities stand out from the crowd. Here are some of the mainstay amenities known to draw prospective residents:

  1. Fitness centres: Physical fitness is a priority for most individuals today, but finding the time to get the the gym isn’t always easy. Rental properties with fitness centres on the premises are known to attract potential tenants. They are consistently rated one of the top 5 amenities renters are looking for, and that likely won’t change in the future.
  2. Package management: As Ecommerce and online shopping grow in popularity exponentially each year, renters are having more packages delivered to their homes. Having an effective package solution to limit theft and damage, and safely store packages, is an amenity some can’t do without. Solutions such as an Amazon package locker can significantly assist with this and stand out to renters as a security perk.
  3. Outdoor space: In 2023, many workers remain fully remote, while others prefer a hybrid approach. Either way, with more time spent at home it’s vital to offer plenty of space for residents to escape their desks. Outdoor amenities such as shared picnic spaces, barbecues, community gardens, walking paths, and bike trails have become more valuable than ever.
  4. Sustainability features: This is an extensive category, and it’s becoming increasingly important with each new year. A 2022 study of more than 2,000 renters found that two-thirds said they want green and energy-efficient homes. This can include features like smart thermostats, solar technology, EV connectivity, or even electric bike-sharing programs.

Community connections

By and large, renters today want to feel part of a community and connect with others in their rental property. A recent study found that renters who were offered a minimum of five community connections in their building were more likely to renew their leases. That doesn’t mean everyone wants to be social with their neighbours, but having the option for those that do is a definite selling point. Here are some ways to bring your residents together and build a sense of community within your building:

  1. Co-working spaces: For those working from home, communal co-working spaces provide a great way for remote workers to break the monotony of being alone and mingle with others without leaving the property.
  2. Neighbourhood connectivity: As much as your building is a community of its own, it is also part of a larger neighbourhood filled with shops, restaurants, hair salons and other services. By promoting and working with your retail neighbors, you’ll be building that sense of community for your residents.
  3. Social events: Though not every resident will partake in social events, many like the opportunity. Hosting regular on-site events such as barbeques, holiday parties, or group garage sales, can be an effective way to build community and ensure your residents feel well-connected.

Predicting the future of rental properties is a tall task, with technology and consumer preferences changing every day. But one thing that will never change is a renter’s desire for quality. Providing apartment residents with the best possible service in terms of technology, amenities, and community will help landlords and property managers stay ahead of the competition for years to come.

John Tweedie is a Regional Property Manager for CLV Group, a Canadian property management group dedicated to helping renters and homeowners find the perfect place to call home.

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