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What Tenants Want

May 25, 2018

What a Tenant Wants (They Should Get)

A couple of recently published studies of the attitudes and preferences of tenants paints a picture of a a diverse group of real people with a laundry list of wants.  And those items may point to personal need for comfort, convenience and people connections.

The 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.  The rental property has a value proposition.  The survey also suggests that prospective renters are available online. They find rentals via Zillow, Google, and other search sites.

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.

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 to them.

The whole notion that a rental house or apartment is a commodity isn’t an empowering one for investors. You control your property earnings. Something 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 groundshaking, 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 backgounds. 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

2017 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 owners 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 manager 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 insuite laundry
  • 9% would pay more for central air conditioning
  • 44 % would pay more for high speed interenet
  • 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.

What Do These Tenant Surveys Tell Us?

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 insuite 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 and watch your revenue grow.

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