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Attract the Best of the Gen Z Renters

June 19, 2023

Your Next Market: Generation Z Renters

As a landlord you have 4 generations to target as your tenant market: Baby boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z.

While there are doubters of whether analyzing generational groups is actually valuable, or perhaps might be misleading, landlords can still benefit from a closer view of what each wants in their rental experience.

This knowledge helps you make both your offering and your marketing/listings more attractive and to avoid scaring prospects off.

All About Gen Z’s and What They Like

Our topic today is the newest, youngest renter group called Generation Z whom you may be quite aware of.  This group was born between 1996 and 2012 in the dawn of the Internet revolution. The oldest of them is now 26 years, which means they are buying homes and renting apartments.

While landlords may have concerns about their finances, it’s their youth and sociability which can breathe real life into your rental community to make it appear more successful and vital.  Having Gen Z’s as your tenants will help you stay progressive and actively relevant to the greater marketplace for decades ahead. It’s smart business to make a plan.

Investigate the Gen Z Mindset

Understanding their profile can help you draw the best of Gen Z renters too.

For association managers, this group is the ultimate source of active and contributing members with a zest for living well. That’s good if you’re developing an eco-friendly association and need help. And for property managers, this group loves how you make their living experience better and keep amenities running well.

Given property management staff are tough to find, this group may find a new career in your business, maybe within your company.

Your marketing and product development for this group, will also appeal to Millennials who have similar profiles. It’s an investment in the future of your business.

A Huge Generation and Your Next Renter Market

For landlords, this group will soon enough make up most of the renter pool. It’s a huge generation too and while they may not be any different from previous young generations overall, they may have some characteristics that are particularly relevant to your rental business.

For instance, one report from a property management tech provider found that half of Gen Z’s intend to move. By understanding their needs and expectations, you have a better chance of attracting as steady stream of quality Gen Z renters and keeping those you have in lease.

Technology’s Not Everything, But It’s Vital to Them

This will help you deliver a tenant experience from start to finish which they will find desirable. It’s almost a certainty they will look for tech-based services and will see old world accommodations, face to face monthly payments, and aging, unmaintained buildings with horror. Their world does involve electronic communications and given most of them come from small families, they look to friends and family for social connectivity and support in a cold, uncaring world, wherever they’re located.

Technology helps them deal with social isolation and they try to use it well for good purposes. Consider about how isolation might actually drive a lot of what they seek in a rental situation. How you market your offering to a tech savvy, social media using young person may be more important than any ideal services you could offer.

This is a renter group that will make use of landlord reviews (two thirds believe a property manager’s reputation on review sites and social media is important) your website, and your tenant portal. They want the ease and simplicity of digital services and self-service, and they like how it makes them feel connected, informed and in control of their rental experience. With this demographic, the self-service business models are achievable.

They’ve developed their own views about what a good apartment and lease should offer.

Misconceptions and Your Opportunity

The media portrays this generation as incredibly open minded but also as social isolated, spoiled by parents, and with mental problems and unrealistic expectations among other descriptions. Hardly a nice view of a generation with tremendous potential, but they’re just another generation looking to be treated well.

Your marketing and listing descriptions might respond to these matters to make you a kind of hero to them. Your intention of support to them on your website can really set you apart as a desirable landlord. Given many of them will never own a home, you’re looking at tenants who may be renting for a good portion of their lives.

The Great Recession Made an Impact on Them

Gen Z’s grew up seeing their parents fight for survival during the great recession, so it’s believed they are more practical about decisions and will evaluate things carefully to get the best bargain.

Generational Views.

Generational Views. Screenshot courtesy of TheAtlantic.

As this graphic from the Atantic using Yougov data shows, Gen Z’s are least likely to identify with descriptions of them in the media. Clearly, they don’t appreciate the labels and see themselves as individuals. That fact may pay off well for you in your marketing and vacancy listings for them.

They are the most ethnically diverse group in history as well.

The media believes this generation, or wants to believe, this generation born between 1996 and 2012 is unlike anything that has ever appeared. In reality, this group is not much different. The experts have reinterpreted youth as a new thing, and they add on liberal values pushed on them in schools.

This generation however is smart enough to know what is right and what is good value. Yet, they may be the most risky target market.

And now, the leading edge of the Gen Z’s is into their mid-twenties and they’re buying homes and renting apartments. Although unemployment is high among youth, the fact that 2 million baby boomers retired during the pandemic means there are job opportunities.

Experts suggest this generation has no drive and few social skills and it will make them a risk throughout their lives at anything they endeavor. That’s a sour impression of what are actually youthful people with more options in life than we ever had.

What does make this age group unique is their facility with digital technology, which almost seems natural to them. They call them Tech savvy. This is a group who will appreciate your use of online property management services.

And that point might be the most important for landlords, association management and property managers as they begin to try to recruit them to their rental properties. Due to conditioning in school and by the media, they may be more open to eco-friendly products and services and rental housing that extol these virtues.

The question of the best Gen Z renters comes down to those you can offer a good rental experience with services, location and affordability. And will come down to good tenant screening, to find those responsible and likely to rent long term.

What do Gen Z’s Want in their Tenant Experience?

Studies say affordability, stability, tech amenities and accessibility to work are key issues for them. Gen Z’s ideal experience would be different than a Generation X renter. Here’s more of what they like:

  • online rent payment with flexible payment sources
  • fast, high-speed internet and they know what 5G means
  • getting rewards for paying rent (e.g., using credit cards so they get the bonus points for travel, shopping, or future housing payments)
  • social media use
  • online gaming, Youtube videos, and Netflix use
  • outdoor amenities
  • high quality photos and videos of your property
  • smart home technology
  • package rooms for delivery in apartment building
  • coworking spaces
  • shorter lease terms
  • flexibility in rearranging their living spaces
  • fitness centers
  • access to public transportation, work places, and public venues

Gen Z’s have affordability as their main goal, and as rent prices recede (multifamily construction was hot, providing rental opportunities) they’re eager to move out of their parent’s homes.

Using them as a guide to grow your business, you’re likely to build the kind of company they want to rent from, as well as other generations.

See also:


Property Management Software | Las Vegas Convention | Las Vegas Property Market | Property Management Conferences | OPTECH Conference | Moving Checklist | Summer Tenant Parties | Apartment Transfers | Toronto Property Management | Lease Transfer

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