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What Tenants Want: Survey Results

January 12, 2021

What a Tenant Wants

What a tenant wants, they should get. Because they’re willing to pay for it.

A couple of recently published tenant surveys (attitudes and preferences) paints a picture of a diverse group of real people with a laundry list of wants.  The key point of tenant oriented property management strategies is that renters will pay for the amenities and other benefits they desire.

The real question about 2021 might be about whether you’re providing the tenant experience renters want. And as the recovery approaches, and demand increases, you can shape the rentership and profitability outlook of your business helped with some vital tips.

Value, Lifestyle, and Security

Wants are often personal needs for comfort, convenience and people connections.  Renters are pursuing a lifestyle they respect and which inspires them.  If you’re wise enough to understand these wants or needs, and incorporate them into your rental marketing strategy, you’ll find demand for your units will rise.

The tenant surveys counter the idea that tenants don’t appreciate the rental, or won’t pay more for amenities. In fact, renters say they will pay higher rent if they feel they’re getting what they want.

Your rental property has a value proposition and this is what they see.  The survey also suggests that prospective renters are available online. They find rentals via Zillow, Google, and other rental-related websites.  This means your rental listing ads and property management marketing can impact your tenant acquisition.

Communicating Value to Your Prospects

This means renters including the best tenants, can be “marketed to” and convinced of the value you have to offer as an owner or property manager.  See our post on pre-selling to prospective renters and more landlord tips.

From promoting amenities (in-suite laundry), and services (free wifi)  or location (walk to transit and shops) and writing rental ads professionally, you tell them what your rental is worth.  They pay the price they believe they should pay.

The whole notion that a rental house or apartment is a commodity isn’t an empowering one for investors. They want to see their property exalted to the highest level. You control property earnings via your tenant marketing.  Something else to ponder, is that if you don’t give tenants what they want, how long will your business be sustainable?

The survey data has some good insight.

Survey Said!

The Canadian Rental Market Tenant Survey from Avison Young and their partners, along with the 2017 American Renters Survey from SoftwareAdvice and their partners, revealed a few good insights about tenants in the new era.

The findings and conclusions aren’t ground shaking, but a good reminder, in some detail too. This focus on tenant attitudes can help you attract better tenants, capture high rent, improve tenant relations, and reduce tenant turnover.

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What Online Connectivity Means to Tenants

Tenants want practical benefits that make their lives easier. It’s about lifestyle. But are landlords and property management companies fulfilling their desires? It appears not because the survey shows they really want this stuff.

And given how attached people are to laptops and smartphones, it shouldn’t be surprising that apps, software, wifi and a tenant portal just for them is so attractive. It’s not just maintenance tickets and communicating with you. The tenant portal might be a social and emotional benefit they like.

That’s what software means to them. Please set aside your spreadsheets, phone, and paper files for just a moment, and find out more about what your tenants are wanting.

 

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The Canadian Rental Market Tenant Survey polled over 1800 tenants of varying backgrounds. They found tenants want:

  • online payment – Yes, 39% said they want to pay their rent online
  • high-speed internet service – those renting apartments craved that service
  • online community portals – tenants wanted to communicate, advise landlord or property manager of issues, extend leases, and more via the tenant portal
  • apartments advertised online – 40% of apartment renters found the vacancy online primarily because it let them see the unit and price before calling

The most recent American Renters Survey polled more than 1100 renters with widely differing demographics. The survey was keen on discovering what tenants would pay more for. 63% of those polled said that they were okay with rent increases of 1% to 10%. Given the economy, low housing availability, and cost of living, renters may be willing to accept property owner’s need for price growth.

Those polled had yearly household income ranging from $10,000 to $75,000.

Here’s what the researchers found:

  • 68% of tenants still pay rent by check or cash
  • 53% would use a mobile app to pay rent online if property managers offered one
  • in general, tenants will pay higher rent for in-suite laundry, central air, and permitted pets
  • only a quarter of renters are saving to buy their own home
  • 60% want to find apartments online

The surveyors also found that:

  • 35% were renting a house while 24% were in a multifamily building
  • 45% said they would pay more to have a pet
  • 45% would pay more to live in a great neighborhood
  • 38% would pay more to be able to walk to local amenities
  • 58% would pay more for ensuite laundry
  • 9% would pay more for central air conditioning
  • 44 % would pay more for high-speed internet
  • 20% would pay more for solar panels.
  • 29% of tenants are paying rent online while 59% said they want to have that technology available
  • and as expected, location is just as important to them as rental price

The above study found that tenants wanted to pay rent, file maintenance requests, get information and communicate with the landlord via tenant apps, or a tenant module within a property management app.

Covid 19 Changes

The pandemic has chased away apartment renters in cities and created more house renters outside of cities.  Students and young people have retreated to their parent’s homes, and they’re much more price consicous now.

Amidst the worst part of the pandemic, renters will no doubt want larger apartments and homes with space, even office space where they can work from home. They’ll want ensuite laundry more than in past, and they’ll be very attuned to how you keep your apartment disinfected. A promise to tenants and a published program of disinfection in your buildings and elevators and stairways will have a positive impact.

Landlords are reporting tenants are asking for balconies (92% according to the most recent Avison survey), rent delays and virtual showings too.

What Do These Tenant Surveys Tell Us?

The Quest for Convenience and Comfort

We could summarize it by highlighting tenant’s desire for increased convenience. Some of the respondents however, said that they didn’t want to pay for that convenience.  It would seem you’re expected to bring on all of these benefits without adding costs for tenants.

The other side of the coin however, is that if these benefits are in place, they are okay about paying higher rent. You can assess the ROI using your property management software.

While ensuite laundry and free wifi will cost you plenty, adopting property management automation won’t break your budget. You can check our pricing and reacquaint yourself with the features and benefits. I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s not only a genuine bargain, it’s easy to learn, and it’s what your tenants want.

 

What your tenants want — that’s the essence of your company’s value proposition and reason for being. Get modern with ManageCasa’s simplified property management software.

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