The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) reports that there are currently 9.5 million tenants in the U.S. under the age of 30.
The ratio is going to be much higher if your property is located in a city where there is at least one major university. The younger generation has greater demands, so how can you keep up? We’ve compiled a brief guide on how you can keep your student residents signing up and coming back.
At the very least, your property should have a halfway decent website. Potential renters want to be able to easily identify floorplans and see enough of the apartment complex to know what they are getting into. Still, convincing someone to sign a 12 month lease isn’t even the end-game. If your millennial tenant gets fed up with the lack of conveniences which other properties provide, they will be less inclined to re-sign next year. Students have been paying for everything online: cosmetics, tuition – heck, even groceries! They will want to be able to pay their rent online too. Get your property up to speed by setting up a resident portal. Moreover, be sure to create a social media page to keep your community in the loop. This helps alert your residents to social events and, more importantly, lets them know when there are cookies in the clubroom.
Be Friendlier to Pets
The Foundation for Interdisciplinary Research and Education Promoting Animal Welfare (FIREPAW, Inc.) conducted a national study on pet-friendly apartments. According to this study, only half of rentals nationwide allow pets, the hypothesis being that property owners find your doggo too costly to justify. However, this study found that, in the majority of cases, it is in fact more profitable for landlords to allow their tenants to have pets than not. Here is why:
- Properties that don’t allow pets take an average of 10 days longer to rent out.
- Advertising for pet-friendly rentals is roughly $17/unit lower than pet-free rentals.
- Vacancy rates for pet-friendly housing tend to be lower.
- Pet-friendly rentals profit from rent premiums, and benefit from the safety of pet-deposits.
- Tenants of pet-friendly rentals stay an average of 28 months longer than those which prohibit pets.
Make Laundry Easier
Many student tenants are just getting used to this whole “adulting” thing, and finding time to do just about anything is really its own chore. Please don’t make them travel across town to do laundry. Renters want to be able to do laundry in their own unit. Besides the obvious convenience inherent in an in-home system, tenants will feel more comfortable about leaving their clothes to go do other things. Laundry theft is a lot more common than some landlords realize, and creepy Clifford from next door is down there far too much.
Service is Like, Everything
Tenants of all ages do NOT want to live in a dead zone, and even the chillest of renters expect access to high speed internet. It will honestly make or break the re-sign. I’m not kidding.
Renter’s insurance only covers stolen goods to an extent, and students own more expensive technology than ever before. Smart security, like Scout, is apartment-friendly because it doesn’t require putting holes in your walls and is roughly the size of your palm. If anything happens that is out of the ordinary while you are away, an alert is sent directly to your tenants smart phone.
More and more apartment complexes are smart-ifying their units with features like keyless entry, USB charging ports, and even bluetooth shower heads. If your community is entirely smart-less and needs a quick boost, consider updating the common areas first. This strategy is an affordable and more easily noticeable way to appeal to your younger applicants.
In an age of instant gratification, student tenants are more likely to go with a housing community that knows how to keep up. If you’ve noticed a decline in signatures lately, it may be time to adapt to the needs of your modern renter.