Should Your Community Have a Guest Suite?

There are amenities, and then there are amenities.

Sure, gyms and car changing stations and swimming pools are all well and good. But what about a guest suite? An amenity that will prevent that weirdo friend from college (whom you haven’t talked to in 15 years but is going to be in town and wants to catch up, which you just know will involve lots of tequila on his part while you can maybe have one or two, but, seriously, there’s work tomorrow, and you have to get the kids to school and oh my god, when did you get that old?) from crashing on your couch? Now, that’s an amenity.

So, would a guest suite, where residents’ visitors could stay for a short period of time, work at your community? It’s certainly not for every community.

It might work: It’s an unusual amenity. How many apartments do you know of that offer guest suites? This unusual amenity might be a big draw for renters who know they’re going to have guests from time to time and might make your amenity stand out in a sea of conference rooms, bike storage and free cookies and coffee in the leasing office.

It might not work: We’re not a hotel! If you don’t live somewhere, but rather, are just visiting, you don’t have the same respect for the space. Residents don’t want strange people showing up and hogging their amenities and eating their cookies! Plus, these people might be loud or messy since they’re only going to be there for a short amount of time.

It might work: It would be convenient for our residents. If a resident has a baby, her mother could stay nearby to help with the baby, but not drive her nuts by sleeping in the apartment. Or if a resident’s kid is graduating and the aunt, uncle and cousins are coming to the ceremony and then sight-seeing for the rest of the week they could all be in the same area. Etc. Residents would certainly appreciate that.

It might not work: We’d have to constantly maintain the suites. Beyond changing light bulbs and unclogging toilets, you really only have to do deep cleans and repaint walls of apartments when residents move out, which could be as little as once a year or hopefully longer. Guests would have a much higher turnover rate. And, speaking with absolutely no hyperbole, vacuuming is the worst thing in the entire world.

It might work: It’s a great way to earn some ancillary income. Ka-ching!

It might not work: We couldn’t do due diligence. OK, so a person staying at a guest suite would only be there for a short agreed-upon amount of time, so a credit check wouldn’t be necessary. But then we wouldn’t know anything about these people. What if they were thieves? Or arsonists? Or country music fans? Is it really worth that risk?

What do you think? Would you want a guest suite at your community? Or, if you have one, is it a popular amenity?

-Jessica Fiur, Senior Editor